Reader Edit: Supportive Swim Bra + Rashguard Combo





After Scotti and her friends posted about their favorite swimsuits, I received this email from Heidi:

I thought I’d share some photos of me in the swimsuit that works for me as another example of a different body type in a swimsuit. Feel free to use it or not. I do not claim to be anything close to a fashionista. I’m a 35 year old mother of three, ages 6, 4, and 2. I have an apple shaped figure, so basically I look always look postpartum as my extra weight lands around my middle. Further complicating matters, I am very busty (bigger than a DDD), have a long torso and I am not comfortable in bikini. Long torso one pieces/tankinis don’t fit my boobs and bra sized one pieces/tankinis don’t fit my torso. I think I’ve finally found a swimsuit combination that works for me this year though. It’s a bra sized bikini with a tunic style rash guard over it. The bikini top I am wearing as a swim bra. My boobs require support and the bra sized bikini top is great for that. The tunic style rash guard provides the coverage and the length that I want plus the ruching and pattern helps camouflage my middle. Underneath are tankini bottoms that I’ve had for years. I wish I had figured this out while I was still nursing as it would’ve been easier to nurse in this than a one piece as I could have simply switched to a lightweight nursing bra under the rash guard instead of the bikini top.


Heidi, first of all, I LOVE that you can see your 6 year old taking these photos!  Best. Photobomer. Ever.  What a good sport.

But secondly, fashionista or no, you’ve come up with a seriously good solution for a very tricky problem.  The swim bra lifts and separates (while offering more support) and the rashguard covers up any problem areas and protects from the sun.  Even better, you can completely change this look by swapping out rashguards.

Heidi, you mentioned that you like your rashguards to be tunic length.  Lands’ End (like the one you are wearing) does this pretty well, but if you are ever in the market for another, you should also check out the ones from Cabana Life.  The prints look a tad more modern, and the cut of the rashguard is a little sexier – the front is cut a bit lower, which would also be flattering for a large bust.

Additionally, I’ve rounded up a few other tunic-style rashguard options to better highlight the wide range of looks that this genius combo supports.

Well done, Heidi!!  A huge thank you to you (and your 6 year old, haha) for taking the time to send in pics!!!  Mamas around the world applaud you.  🙂


swim bra | rashguard

Shop Rashguards

First of all, Heidi’s Lands End rashguard is currently on sale for $19.  She’s wearing a size medium for reference.  Here are a few more of my favs….





  1. I’ve been trying to find some affordable options for this kind of combo, too! I still like my retro one-piece but the flexibility and mixing of something like this is also appealing. I wouldn’t mind wearing a bikini but I hate to have to sunscreen more parts of my body, lol.

  2. Would love to know what bikini tops/swim bra she has found. This is a great idea! I’ve been putting rash guards over a one piece but what a hassle when you are trying to go to the ladies room quickly with a kiddo in the stall with you!

  3. Such a great idea for mommas who just need SUN coverage too. I’m a redhead and I have to cover up after a few hours. Even the tops of my thighs can get really burnt if they don’t get covered. So…I got a sun tunic/dress (depends on your height!) from Cabana Life a few years ago. It flares ever so slightly and has no ruching. Very modern print and has held up well. Seems to run very true to size or a little on the small side (as swim guards tend to be tight!). Also awesome for mommas who have to “swim” in 1 feet deep chilly indoor pools all year long with their little ones. Here is this year’s version:

  4. The highlighter yellow from Lands End looks fab! I’m wondering if I order in the Long size if it’ll be more tunic length? I’m 5’2 so we shall see. Can’t beat LE’s warranty!

  5. I’ve been doing this for years too. I have to wear a real bra under my swimsuit cause I’m a 32G. I either pick a tankini that hides the bra straps, or more recently do the rash guard (love that these are in style right now). It is almost impossible to find a swimsuit that offers proper support here in Canada, it seems the websites that feature the bra sizes in f cup+ are mostly overseas and the shipping is outrageous and you often can’t do returns or they are so cost prohibitive it’s not worth it once you pay shipping. There a few good websites in the U.S. That also carry them but once again the shipping and returns are so cost prohibitive and you need to be able to try things on.

    I wish swimsuit manufacturers would wake up and realize there a ton of us with big boobs but small ribcages, and we can’t do a shelf bra in s, m, l. Most my body needs a small/medium but my chest needs a XL and they don’t make these combos.
    I did find a swimsuit brand at winners (like TJ maxx) thay i like a lot its from Australia. Its called bond eye swimwear and they have some tankinis and bathing suits for dd cup which I can make work but sadly when shopping at a place like that the sizes are hit or miss and they only get a few here or there.

    • So timely! I’ve been looking for this combo this Summer as I have the small rib cage really big bust combo. Size 30H UK sizes; that’s 30J in US sizes!!! I also have a lot of sun damage on my chest, so have decided that it’s time to wear a rash guard (thank you So. Cal. childhood, where being tan was everything and we used baby oil!). If anyone has more suggestions for supportive bikini tops that fit my combo that would be great. Also, how does a regular bra feel under a rash guard when it’s wet?

    • I’m the same size and in Canada too. I wear suit for SWIMMING so fit and comfort is hugely important. I have started getting swimsuits from or You can just get the top in your regular bra size and then order the bottoms like underwear. Shipping hasn’t been outrageous. I end up spending about $70 per swimsuit. I have bought about 10 swimsuits from these guys and have returned only 2. Get fitted with a Curvy Kate bra (they’re British with British sizing) so you’re guaranteed to get a good fit because they sizing is more standard. It’s a lot of up front effort but totally worth it in the end.

  6. Love this-go Heidi! I usually do a sports bra under a rash guard. I also have a full zip rash guard (athleta) that I pair with a bikini top if I want to take “the girls” out for a spin while still staying covered from underboob to thighs.

  7. I have one pressing question about rash guards with sleeves. How hot are they? The thought of wearing tight long sleeves in the sun just seems miserable. It’s one thing if you are surfing in cold water but what if I am mostly staying dry and watching my kids. Will I be miserable in sleeves?

    • Yes, you’ll be miserable. I have a sleeveless rash guard from Lands’ End and it’s perfect (basically a high neck tank).

    • I find the long sleeves too hot also. I just bought the sleeveless orange rash guard (Athleta) shown above. It covers the tops of my shoulders from burning and the 3/4 zip is good for protecting my chest from sun exposure, or alternatively for extra ventilation unzipped. I wear it over my bikini top. Also they just went on sale today along with their long sleeved versions!

    • For me, a long sleeve rash guard isn’t hot at all, but clearly others have had a different experience. It also doesn’t feel any warmer (when the water is cold) than a regular bathing suit.

    • I live in Florida and wear a long sleeved rash guard from J. Crew at the beach and pool all summer. I don’t get too hot, and especially if I do get in the water, the rash guard stays wet and keeps me cool a good while after getting out.

  8. I do this as a maternity swim suit and it works great. Love the sun coverage and makes playking with my kids easirr (I’ve also been wearing short swim shorts with it).

  9. Spot on thanks for more suggestions in the area. I live in CA so year round access to sun and swimming alone with my kids means that there is often no one to put sunscreen on mom! I wear rash guards all the time but have been looking for a way to make the look more modern and sexier. Even after losing the baby weight, my chest has stayed nursing size (G) and it is hard to find a regular suit with enough support. I going to check out these options, thanks!

  10. I wear a long sleeve rash guard with a sports bra to the beach, but I live in Maine. I think it would be too hot elsewhere. Sometimes I can’t make it work for the walk there (about 15 minutes) so I swap with a t shirt, but I just can’t stand to have my fair skin Jim the sun. Also a nice sarong can cover a multitude of “sins.” Wish I had the guts to send some pics!

  11. Oh my gosh, I could just wear a regular bra under a rash guard! That literally did not occur to me until this minute. Duh!! I have a similar body type…big boobs, apple shape and no interest in wearing a bikini. My kids always wear rash guards. I really never thought it it for myself. Maybe something sleeveless that covers my whole tummy and unzips a little from the top to show off cleavage if I want? Lots of good recommendations in the comments!

  12. This is awesome – thank you for sharing Heidi and Shana for the extra research! I’ve bee wary of rash guards because they usually look funny in my big-boobed shirt body. I had no idea tunic lengths were an option! Now I know what I need for my next sun-filled vacation.

  13. This is a GREAT idea – I just got back from Jamaica and bought a rash guard specifically for diving and snorkeling, I just wore it over a swimsuit – but found myself wearing it everywhere that required sunscreen. I’m also apple shaped with big breasts and managed to find some swimsuits with full support (I’ll never go back). SwimSuitsForAll was good for supportive swimwear.
    I wasn’t hot wearing it.
    Another good thing about SPF rash guards was I rarely applied sunscreen (which always feels icky) and after getting a look at the very sad state of affairs in Jamaica’s coral reefs, I had read that sunscreen may be a contributing factor to the coral reef decline. My rash guard made sense on all fronts.

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