[Disclosure: Lilly and Lime generously provided this set for review. I was not compensated for this post, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.]
While I love those brands and the phenomenal fit they offer, I always like to see how smaller brands tackle styles for a larger bust, and what new designs and perspectives they bring to the table.When I think of full-bust swimwear, I usually think exclusively of the big lingerie brands like the Wacoal group (Freya, Fantasie, and Elomi), Panache, or Curvy Kate. I was therefore so pleased to discover Lilly and Lime, a new swimwear label out of Australia focusing exclusively on full-bust sizes. They’ve launched with a nicely curated collection offering three shapes of bikini tops and three shapes of bottoms in five unique colorways, covering a size range of 28-38 F-HH. When it came time to pick a set for myself there was really no contest: the vibrant blue-and-white stripe pieces had me at hello.
I am obsessive about applying sunscreen because I burn almost instantly in the sun, but even with all my diligence I almost always wind up with pink-and-white stripes around my swimsuit straps.I had a hard time deciding on which bikini top style I wanted to try– full cup, halter, or balconette– but I eventually settled on balconette because halters occasionally hurt after a while (bigger boobs are heavy, yo) and the convertible straps on the balconette really appealed to me. With detachable straps I stand a prayer of a chance of successfully reapplying sunscreen and leaving no skin exposed.
I really like how the stripes on each section of the cups are placed symmetrically– this takes a lot more work than just cutting fabric so that the pattern is placed willy-nilly, and it’s a nice little attention to detail. The balconette top features three-part lightly padded cups, a plastic swimwear clasp back fastening, and fully adjustable detachable straps. The coordinating full brief features a fold-over waistband than can be folded down for more of a hipster brief or worn rolled up (as in the fourth image of this post) for a look that’s closer to a retro, full-coverage brief. There are no frills or embellishments, apart from a small bronze-colored circle on the back of the briefs and the band of the bra: otherwise the classic nautical stripe pattern takes center stage.
I usually sister-size in swimwear because I prefer to wear a band a little looser than I’d typically choose for my bras. I don’t wear swimwear as often as I do lingerie, so there usually isn’t as much of a break-in period, and when I do wear swimsuits or bikinis I’m usually not walking or running as much as I do on a normal day, so I don’t need the same aggressive lift or shaping I’d expect from my bras. I also have a squishy torso and prefer the look of a slightly looser band on the beach. I was wearing between a 32GG and a 32H when I shot these photos, and knowing that padded cups sometimes feel smaller than non-padded, I requested a 34GG in the bikini top. I also requested a size 16/XL in the briefs rather than my usual 14/L that I typically wear in underwear, because I’ve found that swim briefs can come up a bit small.
I was very glad I went with a larger band size, as the bands come up quite firm. I might even have sized up again in the cups, as I get a little bit of overflow at the top if I’m fully scooped into the cup. In addition, I should have remembered that this particular style of three-part cup, similar to that of the Tango style from Panache, isn’t always the best style for my boobs– I find I don’t get as much lift or as rounded a shape. This is particularly noticeable when the straps are removed. Again, fuller breasts are heavier, and unfortunately this particular bikini style just doesn’t offer much in the way of lift or support when worn without the straps. That said, for simply lounging on the beach and avoiding tan lines, having the option to slip the straps off is fantastic. I also love how they look when worn crossed in the back!
I’m also glad I sized up in the briefs, as the XL fits comfortably and securely without digging in. In the past I’ve had bikini briefs with fold over waistbands that wouldn’t stay folded over, but this piece’s waistband stays in place really nicely. I also appreciate that there’s some flexibility with this style in terms of coverage, so you can decide how much you want on any given day.
This is a pretty comfortable bikini set. I particularly feel great in the briefs– sometimes super-high-waist briefs dig in uncomfortably at my squishiest part, and super-low-rise bottoms leave my belly hanging out. These hit a real sweet spot for me– I feel both cute and comfortable. I do feel like I have to keep readjusting the top while I’m wearing it. Sizing up in the cups might help this issue, but I also think it’s a simple matter of shape incompatibility– next time I may try a non-padded style like the halter bikini top or the full cup bikini top, which may be a better match for my body.
Lilly and Lime have made an impressive debut. I really like that they’ve launched with multiple styles that fit G+ sizes. We’ve come to expect that “full-bust” will serve an enormous range of sizes, from 28-40 backs and D-K cups, and that’s simply not feasible for many (most?) lingerie brands in operation today. Most brands decide to serve a smaller segment of the full-bust size range, usually D-G cups. The fact that Lilly and Lime make a point of serving F-H or F-HH customers as their targeted niche is a refreshing change that sets them apart and (I think) deserves major praise. I’m excited to see how the brand grows in seasons to come. You can see the full collection, including different prints and colors, here. Is there a particular style that catches your eye?
Bikini: Lilly and Lime Stripe Balconette Bikini (30-36 F-H) and Stripe Full Brief (8-18 (AU)) (c/o). Set retails for $110 AUD, or about $85 USD at today’s exchange rates. Lilly and Lime uses UK cup sizing conventions, so the size progression is F, FF, G, GG, H.
Photos: Studio Rezin