If you’re looking for bra-sized swimwear, a great brand to try is Curvy Kate. Their swimwear collections get better every year and the 2015 collection is just fabulous. I was sent a couple of bikini sets for my recent Caribbean holiday to the Dominican Republic and today I will be sharing with you my thoughts on the Luau Love Padded Bikini (£35, 30-40 D-K) and High Waist Brief (£25, UK 8-22).
Images courtesy of Curvy Kate
These stock photos capture the gorgeous ‘flamingo’ pink of this set – it’s a vibrant bubblegum/Barbie pink that looks absolutely stunning against suntanned skin. I tried the Padded Bikini Top in 34K and the High Waist Brief in 22.
The balconette bikini top has lightly padded foam cups, which are overlaid with matte pink stretchy fabric. The fabric is cleverly cut and positioned so that the underwires are completely covered, which gives the top an appearance of being wireless. This makes a pleasant change from all my other bikini tops where the wires are very apparent – I don’t mind this at all but this bikini just looks different, and I like that. There is a small strip of pink fabric sitting over the central gore, onto which two pearly pink patterned buttons are attached. The design is simple and chic, and perfect for balmy summers by the pool or at the beach.
If you’re wondering how this bikini measures up to Curvy Kate’s other swimwear in terms of cup and wire fit, check out the measurements I’ve entered on Bratabase. I can tell you that with every CK bra and bikini top I try I get more and more impressed every time. The cups are getting deeper, the wires are getting narrower, and generally the support, uplift, and shape is improving. Great news!
Overall this bikini top is a good fit on me. I would have liked the cups to be deeper, as is evidenced in some of my photos where the quadboob is really on show. However, it’s really not that bad at all and I think the slightly upward angle of these photos makes it look more noticeable than it actually is in real life.
I’m pleased to say that the extreme east-west shape I had experienced in the past with Curvy Kate bras and bikini tops is now but a distant memory. The Luau Love holds my boobs at the front of my body and does not push them out to the sides. Hurrah! If the cup depth could be increased then this would be even better.
The central gore sits flat against my sternum and stays put all day. The wires are narrower than ever before and while I still find them a teeny bit too wide they are definitely a vast improvement on previous CK bikini tops I’ve tried. They are the perfect height under my arms and do not dig or poke. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the boning in the wings of the top – the ends don’t seem to be covered in any kind of coating and so they are sharp and cause quite a lot of discomfort. I’m tempted to remove them but as they support the ruching of the fabric over the cups I haven’t done it so far for fear of ruining the fit. Perhaps I can just sew some felt or another soft fabric over the inner boning channel to provide a bit of extra cushioning.
I really like how the cups offer enough coverage to make my breasts feel secure and so that they are not falling out every five minutes, but also they are plungingly low cut at the central gore, giving a sexy and feminine look. Full cups are great for a secure fit but if you don’t wear full cupped bras you will end up with some very awkward tan lines!
The 34 band is fairly firm and the fit is comfortable on me. I suspect the 32 band would also be good, but as K is the largest cup size, and a 32K would be the same cup volume as a 34JJ, I definitely would have found the cups too small. The band fastens with a single chunky pink clasp.
The straps are pretty thin and I have found that they’ve stretched out after being worn just a handful of times on holiday. Thin straps are great for minimal strap marks, but not so good for supporting large boobs and being kind to shoulders. I would have definitely preferred them to be wider. The straps adjust fully and the sliders stay in place pretty well during wear.
The High Waist Briefs were not quite as successful as the bikini top. They are a fab design, with a true high waist that sits on my natural waist, but the fabric is only single layer at the back, making them semi see-through as you can see from my photos. Eek! I can only imagine they’d be even more transparent when wet so I didn’t feel confident enough to wear these on holiday. Instead, I paired the plain pink top with a range of fab bikini bottoms I bought from M&Co, and I will be sharing these on my blog in due course.
Modesty issues aside, the briefs are great. As I said, they really are high waisted, and the cut on the leg is perfect. They sit exactly where they ought to be and are very comfortable. I think I would have been better off with a size 20, though, as the size 22’s waist was too big for me, which again is apparent in some of my photos. The foldover effect along the top of the briefs is a fun design feature, but when I tried the pants on I found I kept fiddling with it in order to keep it lying flat. I am sure this isn’t helped by the fact the waist was so big for me, but if I was going to wear these briefs at the beach or pool I would have to stitch the foldover down beforehand as I know it would drive me bonkers!
All in all, the Luau Love is a great bikini and it’s one that will work well for lots of women. The range also comes in black and there are other options: a strapless bandeau bikini top (comes with removable straps), a tankini top, foldover mini briefs, and a swim skirt.
I think it’s great that Curvy Kate make bras and swimwear up to a K cup, and I hope that they will expand this range even further as I know many ladies – including me – who need larger cups than this. It would also be fantastic to see them extending their bands, both at the lower and higher ends of the scale. But for the time being I am very happy that CK make stylish and fun lingerie and swimwear options for curvy ladies.