Bethany Jung, 39, is a registered dietician/lactation consultant in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at a hospital (“my passion and my purpose”) and a mom to three kids under five, so it’s safe to say that one thing she doesn’t have a lot of time for is swimsuit shopping.
That’s why she jumped at our call for women to try out bra-sized swimwear: “Swimsuit season is like that annoying uncle—nothing to look forward to. I could never find anything to fit my boobs and the rest of me. The band would ride up, or the suit would give me uniboob. Even the DD-cups the stores sell now don’t cut it. There was nowhere for me to go. I had nothing to lose.”
Bethany couldn’t find a tape measure to do her over-the-phone fitting with Bra Fit Expert Brandi, but no matter—she used a string and measured it later with a ruler. “We work with what we’ve got, right?” said Brandi. “That’s what moms do.”
And Bethany was currently working with a 34H Anita nursing bra. Her current measurements, though, put her at more of a 32.
“I would think that 34 is a touch big,” said Brandi. “Since all of your support comes from that band being snug and anchored to your body, we want to lift your breasts up from underneath. That way, the straps aren’t doing any of the work. If they are, you’re going to get digging into your shoulders, neck and back pain and sagging in the front because the band rides up. If you’re experiencing any of that, your band is too big.”
They talked shape next: Bethany had been nursing her youngest for 10 months, so that initial fullness had subsided. When Brandi had her look in the mirror, Bethany noticed looseness at the top of her cups. “As you wean, it’s normal to go back down a band and cup size,” said Brandi, who has been there herself.
How about that underwire? “It’s flat and goes really far back,” said Bethany, which was a red flag to Brandi: “It sounds like it’s going farther back than it should. If you’re feeling ribs within the underwire, it’s probably a cup size too big.”
“Your size measurement is a jumping-off point,” Brandi explained. “It’s not necessarily where the fit is going to be the best. From what you’ve told me, I think you could go down to the 32 band and possibly the G cup because that would be a cup and a band size smaller than what you’re wearing, which could alleviate some of your issues, like filling the cups.”
There were over 100 swimsuit styles on barenecessities.com in Bethany’s new size. Bikinis were immediately nixed. Colorful, fun prints could stay. (Know thyself!)
“Let’s look at tankinis first because they’re so versatile,” Brandi suggested. “I love that you can mix and match to fit a bigger or smaller top and bottom. Most of ours have hidden bra closures so you can get the support you’re looking for.”
Bethany decided to try:
- Pour Moi Hot Spots in 32G (“I love the ruffle and polka dots!” she said)
- Pour Moi Starboard tankini in 32G (“That’s adorable!” Bethany declared)
- Pour Moi Java in 32G and 34FF (“These cups tend to run a little shallow, so you may need to go up,” Brandi advised)
- Fantasie Seychelles in a UK-sized 32F and 32FF (“What I love about Fantasie is that it tends to be very true to size,” Brandi said)
“Who knew I could possibly be excited about bathing suit shopping? This is pretty great,” Bethany said at the end of the call. “I’m cautiously optimistic.”
“I’m as anxious as you are to see how they fit!” said Brandi.
When her package arrived, the Pour Moi Hot Spots tankini was the clear winner on support, size and style.
“So this is what it’s like to have something that actually fits!” Bethany reported. “I didn’t think I could possibly be a size 32, which was my band size three kids ago.”
“Brandi said British bras and swimsuits fit differently—I had no idea,” said Bethany. (Bra Fit Experts are happy to handle size chart conversions, no matter how vexing.) “You can’t just order one thing and expect it to work; you have to talk to someone who knows their way around these nuances in brand and fit and size. And even if you’re searching for your new bra size, you might not be that size in that suit, which is completely invaluable information. And to top it off, what I thought I’d like, I didn’t and vice-versa.” Bethany found the deep V, for instance, “surprisingly flattering” and looked forward to rocking her new tankini at Sesame Place.
What swimsuit shopping used to look like for Bethany: “Go to the sale rack, try to find the least unattractive swimsuit and leave as fast as I can.”
What swimsuit shopping looks like now: “My Bra Fit Expert guided me to something better for me specifically. What I didn’t understand was my size wasn’t what I thought it was, which changed everything. She was totally right—the smaller the band, the better the support. I didn’t think the 32 band would work, but it actually fit.”
“I never thought I could find a suit in my size and really like it,” Bethany added. “It’s a fun, youthful print in a cut I didn’t think I could get away with. The bra-based styles worked better than anything I’ve tried before.”
Brandi made the difference by dispensing with all the what-ifs, said Bethany. “OMG, you have to talk to these Bra Fit Experts! They have so much insight into what will work best for you and how the fit will be different, if not the size. Even if you think you’re right, they’re probably right. They make it less harrowing. I’ll be doing this again.”
For a bra-sized swimwear revelation of your very own, call or chat with a Bra Fit Expert at 877-728-9272 (select option 4) or barenecessities.com.
Don’t forget to check out all of this season’s incredible bra-sized swimwear makeovers:
Brooke is the editor of this here blog. In a previous life, she was an editor at Good Housekeeping and O, The Oprah Magazine. Brooke has written for Glamour, Travel+Leisure, New York Magazine and more. She’s into concerts, travel and her exceptionally adorable daughter and husband.