Saturday, 26 May 2012

Curvy Kate Caribbean Curves Bikini

A little while ago I won three Curvy Kate sets because I was the winner of their 'Name The Bra' competition for their 'Smoothie' bra. Initially, I tried the three Showgirl sets (Tempt Me, Thrill Me and Tease Me), all of which were gorgeous undies but sadly all the bras were far too small for me in the cup.

Curvy Kate very kindly let me try some swimwear this time around and I was able to test drive the items on my recent holiday to Spain.

Now, if you regularly read my blog, you will be familiar with my struggle to find a CK bra that fits me in the cup. It appears that a 32KK or even L would be the best size but even if they made these sizes – they go up to a K cup, amazing! – I think the wires would be way too wide as the cups are unfortunately not deep enough for my boobs in smaller sizes. Despite this, I was keeping everything crossed that the bikinis would work for me.

A while back I talked about bikinis and how I find I can often size down because the material is far more stretchy than that of regular bras. I even just about managed to cram myself into a 32H Freya bikini recently!

The first set I wore on holiday was the Caribbean Curves bikini top and matching shorts.

Image courtesy of Curvy Kate

I absolutely adore the way animal print has been incorporated into this bikini and the rich pink, blue and navy colours are just beautiful. It's such a clever combination that would surely be flattering on any skintone.

Having never tried CK swimwear before I was unsure as to what size to go for but after a conversation with the lovely staff at head office it was agreed that I would road test the 32J bikini top and size 18 shorts.

As you can see, it worked out pretty well for me! First impressions were that the bikini top fitted fairly nicely but the shorts were a little on the skimpy side so when I packed for my holiday I threw in a pair of plain navy bikini briefs which I'd had in my drawer for a while. The bikini comprises a purple, blue and navy pattern so I thought I might be able to get away with plain briefs in one of these colours if necessary.

As it turned out, I wore the matching shorts on my holiday after all. I did feel rather exposed at times as I was not used to wearing anything that low cut but after a couple of wears I soon got used to exposing more flesh. My main problem with them is that the rise was so low. It was as if the manufacturers had used to same rise height for the size 8 as they did for the size 18 I was wearing, which meant that the shorts came up way too low at the front and barely covered by bottom at the back. Cue lots of adjusting whenever I was wearing them! It's clearly not a dealbreaker as I wore the shorts a lot but my plea to Curvy Kate is that they address this issue for next year's swimwear range. I would also prefer an option of regular bikini briefs (not tie side ones) with a higher rise.

Although the shorts fitted well when I first tried them on, I think I would have done better with a size 16 overall.  By the end of my holiday they had become quite loose, and that's even with me gaining a bit of weight due to eating far too much (that's what holidays are for, right?!).

So, on to the bikini top. It really is far more like a bra top than a bikini but it is nicely low cut for great tan lines and the amount of material on the back section is kept to a minimum, I guess for the same reason.

What's interesting is that the top is padded and currently the only padded CK bra available up to a K cup is (as far as I am aware) the newly released Daily Boost so I do hope they plan to bring out more padded offerings in due course. This bikini gave me a much better shape than any of the unpadded CKs I've previously tried and I didn't get the dreaded quadraboob to the same extent at all. Admittedly, I had to readjust myself on occasion but in the main my boobs stayed put and looked good in this top.

The wires in the cups were a bit too short so the central gore fabric curled over slightly. As a quick fix I pushed the wire ends into this section but this meant the underarm area sometimes curled out. I find this issue with a lot of Bravissimo own brand bras but the 2012 swimwear is the first time I have known of it in CK items. I also found that the wires were too wide and the cups too shallow, but this is a very common bra/bikini top problem for me and I know there are certain brands that fit me better in this respect than others. This bikini top would therefore work particularly well for those who have wider set boobs which are not as up front as mine.

The back band fastens with a typical bikini clasp, although it is chunkier than those I've had on other bikinis in the past. Also I think it fastens the opposite way to those I have previously worn but that might just be my memory playing tricks on me! Either way, it fastens easily after one has worked out which way round the clasp should go. The clasp had an annoying habit of turning on its side because it had not been stitched firmly enough in place – this could be easily rectified at home with a needle and thread. The 32 band was good on me but I do wonder if the 30 in this one might have actually been better.

The straps are fully adjustable but are WAY too long and there is a feature plastic clip on the straps at the front which impedes adjustment of perhaps another centimetre. The straps kept readjusting themselves and even though I wore them at their shortest I still found them to be too long. Had I had more time ahead of my holiday I would have unstitched them and made them shorter but I didn't and had to make do.

The top came up a little high under my arms but not enough to be a bother and the boning did not trouble me at all. This is a very comfortable bikini top!

Overall, I liked this set very much but if the minor issues could be ironed out I believe I would have a bikini that I really loved. Several people on holiday commented on how nice it was and I felt very proud to be wearing a bikini that fitted me as well as a bra and gave me great shape and support.

I have reviewed the Bondi Breeze bikini top and shorts here and the Rio Ruffle bikini top and skirted briefs here.

And check out Denocte's superb review on Kurvendisussionen here (if you'd like to read it in English, click the Union Flag at the top of the post).


  1. This bikini suits you so well, such a pretty look!xxx A very good review. How do you find the construction is compared to CK unpadded bras? It does look a bit lower even on the central gore.

    1. Thank you :-) I found it to be similar construction to the unpadded bras but the central gore is definitely lower. The cups still give me too much of an east/west look but as it's a bikini and I'm not then layering with clothes I feel it's less noticeable. I just wish they would make their bras deeper - but clearly they work for thousands of women so why would they change it for me hehe x

  2. I have the same issue with the bottoms/shorts/briefs. I don't know why they don't make them just a few inches taller, because I know I have more skin to cover than someone who is a size 8!

    1. Oh that's so interesting to hear! I often wonder if these things are down to me having an awkward body and I know I have a meaty behind but even at the front they seemed very low cut. Let's hope next summer we get an option for something a little more modest ;-)

    2. I chalk mine up to having a healthy behind and a little bit of a pooch, even though I've never had a baby. :)

      I would kill to have your torso though! Need to work on my abs...

    3. Hehe thanks! Trust me - my torso needs a heck of a lot of work too x

  3. Great review! I wouldn't have bought this set anyway due to my preference for high-waisted togs (or a one piece, actually), but if I had been interested then your review would've warned me that the bottoms wouldn't fit over my butt, so thanks for that! I have a high rise and a wide butt, so I have to be super choosy about underwear, pants and swimsuit bottoms.

    It does look very nice on you, but I think I'd be too annoyed by those problems you mentioned to keep it. Comfort is important, and trying to adjust swimsuit bottoms discreetly can be difficult xD

    1. Thanks for your comment. It's an interesting situation as this bikini was free as it was a prize, plus I received it a few days before going on holiday and had no other swimwear whatsoever (last year's does not fit me at all now) so I was perhaps more inclined to overlook the issues than I might have normally been.

      I am very accustomed to having to find a plain pair of briefs to go with bikini tops and as I already had a navy pair in my drawer the fact the matching ones weren't perfect was not a deal-breaker as I had these to fall back on if necessary.

      However I do think the rise of the swimwear bottoms is something that Curvy Kate ought to revisit as a matter of urgency for next summer - several comments on here are from women who don't want low cut briefs so it's clear I'm not the only one.

  4. You look amazing in this!!! Wow!

    The top really really looks great and I'd love a padded bikini so this is definitely still on my list. I don't think the fit issues would bug me so much in the top being that once you hit the pool the most important thing for me is really that it's the right size. ;)

    That being said, NOOOOOOO about the bikini bottoms! I'm guessing I'm about a 10 in CK bottoms and I really need height due to my big butt! These bottoms looked the highest of them all so I was really hoping that they'd work for me. It seems like they're definitely out of the picture now. :( That's pretty much a deal breaker for me being that a big part of the appeal of this was that it looked like I could get a nice matching set in my size and it seemed like with the design on this one it would be harder to find something that goes well with the top...

    I'm really looking forward to your Bondi Breeeze review. Were the bottoms the same height there too? Black would certainly be easier to match but I'm really trying to avoid black (I think black is my nude that so many other lingerie bloggers try to avoid).

    1. Thanks June :-)

      I totally agree about my shape issues with the bikini top not being such a big deal in a bikini as they would be in a bra - I think it only becomes an issue when you put clothing on top and obviously that won't particularly be the case here!

      The Bondi Breeze shorts were exactly the same as these so no good for me either :-( I had them in a size larger which ended up being massive on me, although they did give slightly more coverage because they were bigger. However like you say it's much simpler to find more suitable black briefs to match but it's just a pity the CK options aren't more varied. Fingers crossed for next summer's range!

    2. Have you seen next seasons range!?!??! They had some photos on facebook/twitter and WOW, just WOW. As in amazingly stunning. No clue how the fit will be but there are a few that I HAVE TO have. ;)

    3. Oooh not seen them yet but can't wait to look! A year to wait though...I am so impatient!! x

  5. (From CurvyWordy: I accidentally deleted this comment, oops! Therefore I am reposting it.)

    Sarah has left a new comment on your post "Curvy Kate Caribbean Curves Bikini":

    You look fantastic! The colorway is marvelous, especially with your skin tone.

    Is the bra “padded” as in “foam-lined” or with actual padding/bump pads? I’m a 30H and I’d love to find a bikini that celebrates my curves (who says larger-breasted women don’t like padding?) but still holds me in.


    1. Hi Sarah, thanks so much for your kind words.

      This really is a lovely bikini and like you I adore the colourway.

      The bikini top is foam lined; sorry, I should have made this clear in my post. I too like a bit of padding - no reason why us bustier ladies shouldn't have that little bit extra too ;-)

    2. No worries. Thanks so much for the info!

  6. Hey:)
    your reviews are very helpful.
    I've got one question: To what size do you advise, if the person normally wears 32hh/34h in panache and cleo.
    I haven't really found my curvy kate size yet. I have a curvy kate angel in 34h, which fits me quite good, but other curvy kate bras, like the emily, tease me and thrill me, don't really fit me in the cup. Now I wanted to buy the caribbean curves bikini and its on sale, but only in 32h available. Do you think, this would fit? because I heard that the bikini is quite big in the cup. And you could size down in the cup. I hope you can help me :)
    PS: the bikini looks great on you

    1. Hi Natascha, thanks for your comment! I'm afraid I can't advise on size because Curvy Kate bras are too small in the cup for me and the wrong shape and Cleo only go up to a J cup, sadly. However, I would recommend that you look on Bratabase to see if anyone has your size or similar listed so you can compare. And don't forget to enter your own measurements and bra info while you're there so you can help others in return :-)


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