A Guide To Bikini Top Styles

   Which bikini for which bust ? With underwires and padding or without ? A guide to choosing bikinis from the point of view of your breasts.
    If you are concerned with finding a bikini top that fits well, here are some great tips. Also, bikini tips for full-busted girls!

Here are the most common types of bikini tops:

Triangles and String

   This style is popular because you get to adjust the tightness. The downside is that they don´t give support, and they don´t stay in place. Recommended for the very young and for anti-gravity breasts. The rest of us will just look like this:

Update: check out this comparison between triangle cups and an underwired balconette. The visual difference is at least 2 cup sizes.

Fixed Triangle

    This is a step up from the triangle and string. There is a proper band which actually gives some support and the straps (usually halterneck style) also. Even though these bras don´t usually gather the breasts from the sides like the balconettes and plunges do, the halterneck straps give a nice cleavage. However small busts might get overwhelmed by the triangles that give more coverage.
   The basic version is non padded and non-wired, and comes in clothing sizes (s, m, etc). Those offering better shape and support are padded or wired and come in bra sizes, usually up to G cup. Padded : Freya Eclipse, Freya Venetian, Freya Circus Circus, Freya Vodkatini, Lepel Malibu, Lepe Casablanca, Panache Riviera. Wired Triangles are very similar to plunges: Fantasie Athens, Fantasie Barcelona, Pureda Milly, most Miss Mandalay bikinis. Does anyone know whether padded and wired triangles exist ?

Pour Moi? Tanzania has no underwires and isn´t padded.
This gives minimal support, and the fit isn´t exact.

Freya Magic: wireless but padded. Till F cup.

Freya Mystere Halterneck: underwired  and unpadded (soft). Till FF cup
Underwired with structured mesh lining. Fantasie
Marrakesh Underwired Halter Bikini Top. Till cup G

Half-cups, balconettes and plunges:
   These bikini tops are in the classic bra shapes, and the cups are constructed of three pieces of fabric. They usually offer the best shape and support and go up to K cup (Panache). They come in soft as well as moulded cups, the moulded (padded) being cut lower and thus showing more skin than the soft ones. I recomend the ones with underwires over those without. Balconettes and half-cups are cut higher and offer a lot of support, while plunges reveal more cleavage.
   As usual, many manufacturers confuse balconettes with half-cups, and half-cups with plunges. (In my opinion balconettes have a horizontal top edge, half cups and plunges have diagonal. (Plunges have an extremely low center gore as compared to half-cups.)
   Smaller busts will look good in plunges as well as anything that doesn´t give too much coverage. The curvy shapes of these models will optically add curves. Bigger busts will get good shape and support. This is also a great option for not so firm busts. Shallow breasts do good in low-cut balconette and half-cup shapes (see bottom photos in this post for examples)

Fantasie Tunis: This balconette goes up to HH cup

Panache Anna -- Plunge up to K cup

Loren from Figleaves Sophina, half-cup till G cup.

   Not all bandeaus are strapless, some have straps in the center or on the sides. Basically they look like a bandage, meaning that they don´t accentuate the cleavage. This makes the bust optically smaller and the figure more boyish.
   Bandeaus work only if they have underwires and broad bands at the back. Example: Freya Jelly Bean, Freya Sugar Bay, Panache Brighton, Panache Anna. In my opinion every bandeau without underwires brings out the worst in every bust. Proof here, here and here.

only go up to F cup, so the support isn´t much.

Wireless bandeaus give a sad, droopy shape 
even in these carefully styled catalogue photos.
Reality looks more like this

Or like this. 
Unless you have very firm anti-gravity boobs, in which case enjoy your bandeaus!

    Again, underwires and a broad back are the key. Strapless bras that are not bandeaus seperate the breasts and show off the decollete, so they look more curvy and feminine than bandeaus. Like the latter, they need to be wired and moulded to work. Panache and Fantasie have several good strapless bikini tops.

up to GG cup, and pretty supportive

A note on underwires:
    If you don´t like anything with underwires, chances are you have never worn anything in your correct bra size.

A note on padded / moulded:
    These take longer to dry, and need to be hand-washed.

A note on product descriptions:
    Irritatingly, online stores often don´t give as many details about bikini tops as they do about bras. They often neglect to provide a back view, to describe the type of back closure, or to state whether the bra is padded or moulded. When in doubt, write them a mail or do some research on other websites.

A note of brands:
  I only write about breast-friendly brands that have a wide size range. (Here is info about where to find them). I will not blog about Victorias Secret until they realise that the alphabet doesn´t end at D.
   And I hope you have broken out of the Bra Matrix, otherwise this might happen to you too.

And now some videos

    Because sometimes we need to see swimwear in movement.

Here is the Fantasie and Freya swimwear collection for 2011

And here is a fragment of a Panache Swimwear 2011 show:

     I´ve set my sights on the Freya Carousel. Love the colours as well as the adjustable bottom. Are you in the market for a new swimsuit this year ?


Check these out: