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How Do Women’s Swimsuit Sizes Work?


Shopping for a new swimsuit is a tough experience for most women. Many of us are already self-conscious about our bodies, and squeezing them into skin-tight, figure-hugging spandex or nylon just highlights those insecurities. But it’s even worse when you’re struggling with a swimsuit in the dressing room, or wiggling around at home trying to fit into a swimsuit that you bought online, and you realize that the sizing is off. There are few things more depressing than realizing the size we think we wear is too small! So to stave off swimsuit sizing woes, today we’re going to take a look at how women’s swimsuit sizes work.

There is No Universal Women’s Swimsuit Sizing Convention
Unfortunately for us, there is no single women’s swimsuit sizing convention. While we do provide sizing guidelines here at Big Girls Bras, women’s swimsuit sizing is largely a matter of trial and error. Different brands fit in different ways, so a size small in one brand might fit properly, but in a different brand, you might need a medium or an 8 or something else entirely. These are a few of the most common sizing conventions:

Number Sizing for Swimsuits
Some swimsuits are sized by numbers, just like when you shop for clothes in a department store. Number sizing tends to provide a more precise fit along the body, but it doesn’t necessarily account for different breast sizing. Women who are most concerned about how a swimsuit fits the body, and who want to really customize body fit – particularly in tankinis and one piece swimsuits – may find that number sizing is the best way to shop for a swimsuit.

Our swimsuit brands that offer number sizing include:

Letter Sizing for Swimsuits (S, M, L)
Another common women’s swimsuit sizing convention is the good old fashioned S, M, L, Xl, etc. sizing. This sizing is less precise than number sizing because it tends to have fewer sizes, so it may be designed to fit more than one number size. A Large, for example, may be a 12-14 in some brands, while in number sizing, 12 and 14 would be different swimsuit sizes. If you want a little more flexibility in your swimsuit fit, and if you’re fine with a ballpark, S, M and L swimsuit sizing might work for you. S, M, L sizing tends to work best for swimsuit bottoms where there’s a little more flexibility, and bikini tops with tie adjustments so women can customize fit.

Our swimsuit brands that offer S, M, L sizing include:

Bra-Sized Swimsuits
Bra-sized swimsuits are swimsuits that are sized based on the distance around your ribcage, and your breast size – just like a bra. You’ll see the same number and letter combo that represents the distance around and the cup size that you’d see if you were bra shopping. Bra-sized swimsuits are best for women who have larger breasts, or women who want to customize fit based on breast size.

Our swimsuit brands that offer bra-sized swimsuits include:

What’s your preferred method of swimsuit sizing – number sizing, S,M,L sizing, or bra sizing?

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