From creating Rihanna's, Kim Kardashian West's and Lorde's most iconic outfits to cementing London's best dressed It-girl scene, super-stylist and creative director Avigail Collins is known for creating celebrities exciting new looks. But Avigail's wardrobing skills extend even further: See her own streetwear-inspired line, Silver Spoon Attire, which was founded in 2013 alongside her husband (and fellow sought-after stylist) Damian Collins. The stylist's high-profile music clients and global street style following make up a pretty impressive fan club. If anyone can spot the next big thing, it's Avigail, which is why we're thrilled to have her at Who What Wear UK to bring you a monthly column about what's hot now.
Callie Thorpe in a monochrome swimsuit in California.
You may recall that I've spoken before about the fashion hurdles you have to jump when you've got bigger boobs. A while ago, I recommended to you the top styles that celebrate larger busts rather than fight against them. It's not a case of telling you what to never ever consider trying or to avoid completely (and I'd always encourage you to wear whatever you feel comfortable in), but I know from experience that certain silhouettes haven't worked out well for me.
One of the hardest summertime items to shop for outside of anything like dresses and tops that are off-the-shoulder or strapless is swimwear. A lot of swimwear brands don't accommodate for larger cup sizes—let alone offer a fuller sizing range overall—and many styles can be cut to not support. Triangles are notoriously flimsy, and probably unsuitable for an active day on the beach or by the pool.
The fact is that the average bra size in the UK is on the rise, with the latest reports landing on a 36DD as the nation's go-to. The lingerie market has been catching up to cater for this demand, but the swimwear one is still a little behind. Many of the cute must-have designer swim pieces you'll see on Instagram may state they go up to an L (or larger), but you'll often discover that these sizes don't translate well into real life.
There are a few brands—both new and old, mass market and independent—that I would recommend to anyone else full of bosom. But there are also certain fabrics and cuts that are worth keeping an eye out for…
1. Anything adjustable is always a good idea. The more you can tailor your fit, the better.
2. Anything with thicker straps will support your boobs more—this is good timing because sportier styles are in.
3. Stretch fabrics like crinkly ones are really good for adapting to curves, even if you buy a smaller size.
4. Try to mix and match your bottoms and the top half in order to find the right size for both. It may be that you're bigger up top but wouldn't want the matching size bikini briefs.
5. Look for a little extra coverage. But not because you "need" to cover up. Quite the opposite—it's about making the most of your fab assets, and that teeny tiny triangle bikini is unlikely to support well (unless it has lots of hidden wiring, sidebands etc).
I absolutely love Hunza G and have been a massive fan right from the beginning. I first bought a swimsuit when I was breastfeeding, as they come in one size and stretch with you. I found them to be super comfortable and easy to feed in, as, during this stage, you shouldn't wear underwire because it can put pressure on your milk.
Anyway, I still wear the same swimsuit now, as it's shrunk with me, still holding everything in place perfectly. The fabric is thicker than you might think, so it works almost like shapewear.
Although you'll need to sidestep some styles, colours and prints that feel suited to a more mature audience, I can promise you that there are some absolute gems to be found on Figleaves's website. The brand is experts in the field of DD+ sizing and, as such, it's working hard to create swim pieces that fit like a glove. I'd suggest looking at more classic underwired cup shapes in neutral colours and prints for something that's long-lasting and worth investing in.
Anyone shopping for plus-sized options charts ASOS Curve as one of the best online destinations in the world, so it only makes sense that its swimwear offering would follow suit. I would say the plainer pieces are more sophisticated than the printed ones.
Malia Mills is great, as the styles are really timeless but still current and all made in America. The brand also goes up to a 38 EE and you can mix and match different bottom sizes to your bra size, which, as I mentioned before, is what many of us are looking for.
The Chrysan-style top I have chosen is underwired with adjustable straps. I love this style, as it offers lots of support but still has a great shape to it. It would work best with high-waisted bottoms to give a pin-up look. The Mrs Mehta top is also great and a very similar style if you're looking for something more girly.
Remember that when you're shipping in from America, so you may incur import taxes.
Arket has taken a leaf out of the book of my friend's brand Auria (who, sadly, don’t offer plus size) by going down a sustainable route for its latest swimwear offer.
The new range is made from Econyl, which is yarn derived from nylon waste and recovered fishing nets. The brand goes up to sizes 18 or 20, but I suggest ordering online, as when I've been in-store, they tend to have fewer sizes in stock.
New Look is offering a great selection of plus-sized swimsuits, and although I question the sustainability factor of buying swimwear from fast-fashion sources when so many brands out there have developed more sustainable approaches, the problem is these other brands are not offering plus sizes.
Hopefully, we will see a drastic change in this over the next couple of years, but for the time being, if you need to buy from affordable labels, I'd suggest choosing a swimsuit that is classic and will look chic summer after summer.
This particular New Look one stood out to me, as it has an attached waist belt that is really slimming and comes in a variation of colours and animal prints.