Six Girls, Six Suits: My Friends’ Favorite Swim


Photo Credit: Danielle Pemble

We’re all about celebrating real bodies around here.  And while we’ll admit to seeking out soft lighting (hint: on the beach 6-7PM is pure magic), there’s no behind-the-scenes photoshopping.  And why would we?  Our bodies tell our life story.  And for many of us, that life story involves some pretty serious joy, in the form of body-wrecking children, sure, but also of a life lived.  Life is short.  We choose fun.  

So when Scotti and I were brainstorming about how to represent a wider range of body types (this becomes especially important with swimwear, I think), and she volunteered her amazing friends, I was THRILLED. They are fearless, fun, active, and totally opinionated, haha – perfect for getting the real scoop on swimwear.  Hope this helps!  (And if anyone else has figured out the perfect swim solution for themselves, feel free to send pics to  I have a few from readers coming out later this week…)



I have some awesome friends.  They’ve always been game to be included in beauty and makeup-related posts . . . but this time, they let me take pictures of them in swimsuits and put them on the internet.  Now granted, they all look amazing, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it takes balls courage to do this.  We were sitting around one day and I said, “we all have such different body types, it might be fun to do a post on the best swimsuits for each of us.”  (It was probably more like, “hey you guys are going to be in a swimsuit post so get ready,” but you get the idea).

Anyway, they were game, so I booked a photographer (Danielle Pemble – she shot my wedding, too), did a ton of online shopping and try-ing on, booked a spray tan, and brought drinks.  Here’s the result of all of our online searching, trying-on, and testing.







J. Crew Twist Bandeau Bikini Top & Ruched Bikini Bottom, both in Tidewater

“I have a love/hate relationship with buying swimsuits (don’t we all?).  They all look so cute on the rack or online, and I have this picture in my head of what it would look like on me, then I get to the dressing room, try on a few, make a few excuses, and walk out with nothing.  That’s when I realize it is worth it to spend the extra cash to get something that works, fits well, and is COMFORTABLE.  I have a big chest (34DD on a small day) and hate tan lines which often leads me to find any strapless top I can to avoid the dreaded lines on my shoulders.  However, these days, I spend less time lying out in the sun, and more time running after my nephew, my best friends’s children, or our dogs on the beach.  I needed something that kept “my girls” in place while building sand castles and splashing in the water.  This J. Crew top succeeded in all of the above, and I am obsessed with the royal blue color (red was next in line!).  The best part—you can actually order a DD!  It has underwire so I felt that it gave me a little lift but comes up high enough on my chest that I don’t feel like I have the “boob spilleth over” look.  Also, the bottoms fit perfectly!  They have the perfect amount of coverage on my booty and are SO comfortable!” 




Rip Curl High Neck Bikini Top (also available in black) & Cheeky Bottoms

“Being of smaller bust, I look for tops with character!  Tops that say “WHOA! That’s a nice top!” Not tops that say, “wait, where are your boobs?”

I also enjoy when there is lots of booty presence. These bottoms are great for letting the bum sun, and with an elastic liner around the entire bottom, they’re  cheeky without full bum exposure. I feel like I won’t lose a cheek or sneak any peeks.”





Kenneth Cole High-Neck Monokini (also available here and currently on sale at Macy’s)

(Cover up from Express, similar in blue floral or paisley print)

“So my biggest issue with finding a flattering suit is that I’m larger “up top” with DDD’s.  Most bikinis just don’t give me enough coverage, and I end up spilling out up top, on the side, and sometimes down below lol.  It’s been hard to find a swimsuit top that has enough coverage and security, but yet looks flattering and doesn’t have TOO much fabric…’s a fine line, trust me.

So I decided to switch it up and try a one-piece.  I liked the coverage and high neckline, but the mesh pattern still gave it a “sexy feel.”  My biggest fear of going with a one-piece was that it would feel too old lady-ish, so I was pleasantly surprised to see there were so many choices that had cut-outs and still showed off some skin.  I liked this one the most because it was super comfortable, showed off the assets in a good way, and I wasn’t spilling out up top.  Classy, edgy and still sexy.”





Billabong Women’s Floral Reversible High Neck Crop Bikini Top (also available in paisley) and matching reversible bottoms (and in paisley)

“When choosing a swimsuit post-baby I wanted something different from my standard Victoria’s Secret “bandeau.”  I wanted something with coverage, so there were no “oopsies” when chasing around my soon-to-be toddler.  I also wanted something that I could nurse in and would accommodate my ever changing bra size (pre-prego, prego, and post-prego nursing breasts)!  This, what I call “sporty,” Billabong top is perfect for that!  It has a higher neckline and I could tell right away it would fit whatever bra size I currently am.  I absolutely love the print and the material.  It is super silky and feels thick and well-made.  Plus, for someone like me, (let’s just say “tight” with money) it’s reversible so 2-suits-in-1!  I love both prints and that I can change how to wear them together.”


On Baby Aria:

Similar 2-piece rashguard in stripes and stars or a perfect set for the 4th of July!  The rashguards are the best way to go when your baby is so young . . . much easier than making sure sunscreen is in every spot and crevice.




Black Strappy Triangle Bikini Top & Striped Side Tie Hipster Bottom

“I have always been and will forever be a very active individual.  I own a gymnastics academy, so I am constantly around kids who love to run and tumble, including my boyfriend’s 3-year-old daughter.  I need a suit that will hold up during handstands and flips with the kids on the beach! Having a muscular frame from being a competitive weightlifter this is often difficult to find, especially in a stylish suit.  This suit from Express was a perfect find! The top reminds me of my favorite sports bras, so I knew it would hold up to the flip test.  And the bottoms have the side ties to synch as tight as you need so they don’t creep down-not to mention the fun stripes in my signature colors!  If you are an active mom, aunt, or babysitter this suit is for you!”




J. Crew Jersey Lomellina String Bikini Top & Surf Hipster Bottoms in dark navy

“The “surf hipster” title of the bottoms had me thinking that my c-section scar would definitely be showing in these, but I was happy to find that it didn’t!  The bottoms are low enough to look cute (I just can’t do the high rise), high enough to hide my scar and has the perfect amount of coverage . . . not too cheeky, but not too mom-ish.  The top is ridiculously comfortable and super easy to nurse in.  The straps are thicker and don’t cut into your skin like some string bikini tops and are totally adjustable to your comfort level.  J. Crew will pretty much always be my go-to because they are SO well-made and last forever.  They’re always having sales (especially after summer starts!) so I snatch them up when I can.”



On Baby G:

Rosette Swimsuit (LOVE how it accentuates her belly!) and similar hooded cover-up.



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