How to find swimwear that actually fits you properly

Thought looking good on the beach was all about reducing the circumference of your thighs or strapping yourself into a complicated Love Island bikini? When it comes to sashaying along the sand, the only thing you need to look your best is confidence - and that all comes down to finding swimwear that fits you properly.

If you’re worried that your swimming costume is digging in or that you’re about to fall out of your bikini top, the last thing you’ll feel like doing is strutting around the pool as if you own the place.

Finding great-fitting swimwear that flatters can take you from ‘too scared to drop your towel’ to total seaside gorgeousness in the time it takes to eat a popsicle. But actually tracking it down? Well, that can feel a bit like searching for the lycra holy grail.

Relax, beach babes. Pour Moi has all the swimwear sizing tips you need to bag yourself a winner. Should you go for a size up in swimwear, or down? Go for separates or risk an off-the-peg? And could Instagram be useful for something other than seeing what your favourite influencers ate for breakfast? Our swimwear size guide has all the answers.

(For more sizing tips, read our swimwear guide and check out our blog posts on how to rule the pool and how to find the best bikini for your body shape.)

Go for bra sized swimwear

If you’re shopping on the high street, it’s tempting to be lured in by the high-fashion styles on offer. But if you’re anything above a C, buying swimwear that’s measured in cup (as opposed to dress) sizes is a must.

Choosing a cup sized swimsuit or bikini top means you’ll get the same level of comfort you’d get from your normal lingerie. Both cup-size bikini tops and bra size swimming costumes are more likely to boast features like underwire and light padding, something that can help support a larger bust and even give you some extra oomph if you’re smaller.

However, if you’re used to buying your swimwear in dress sizes, it could leave you a little confused. Use this swimsuit size chart for a quick reference.

· A 28 back size would be about a dress size 8
· A 30 back size would be about a dress size 10
· A 32 back size would be about a dress size 12
· A 34 back size would be about a dress size 14
· A 36 back size would be about a dress size 16
· A 38 back size would be about a dress size 18
· A 40 back size would be about a dress size 20

Remember though, that when it comes to swimming costumes in particular, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. We’re all different in terms of shapes and height (you may be particularly long or short in the body for example) so while you’ll still need to choose your swimsuit by bra size you may need to size up or down to find the perfect fit..

Bigger in the bust? Read our blog post on how to find the best swimwear for you.

Buy separates

Unless you know for certain that you’re the same size on the top and the bottom, step away from that off-the-peg bikini set because you’re setting yourself up for sizing disappointment. But cheer up, because rather than narrowing your options, going mix and match gives you a much better chance of finding your perfect bikini bottoms to suit your shape.

For example, you may love our Mini Maxi Underwired bikini top in red. And, if you do, you’ll have the choice of not one but three matching bikini briefs. Then it’s simply a case of picking the one that will suit you the best from the the Mini Maxi Brief, the Mini Maxi Foldover or even the high fashion, Super High Waist Control Brief.

Should you size up or down to find your perfect fit?

This is a hard one, and it really comes down to personal preference.

As a general rule, we’d advise you to go for your usual bra size when you’re buying a bikini or swimming costume, at least as a starting point. But we’re also well aware that people don’t want their usual lingerie fit when it comes to their swimwear in case it leaves them feeling too exposed when they’re lying on the sand. Some people like to size up to ensure they get good rear coverage in their bikini briefs, or to make sure their swimming costumes aren’t too tight across the tummy.

If this sounds like you, try this swimwear sizing strategy. Go up one back size bigger than your normal bra, while selecting one cup size smaller, to ensure you keep the same volume in the cup. For example, if you usually wear a 36E bra size but want more room in the body of your swimming costume, try a 38DD. Just remember though, this might affect the level of support you get.

You also need to remember that all swimwear stretches slightly over time, and baggy bikini bottoms and swimming costumes will only make you look bigger. Excess material will always add bulk to your silhouette, so going too big to start off with may draw attention to those bits you’d rather hide. Buying your exact size (or even, shock horror, a size smaller) can be slimming, so give it a try.

Look for features that will help your swimwear fit perfectly

Some types of swimwear are more forgiving than others. Look out for these clever fit features and there’ll be less chance you’ll have to check out the swimwear returns policy...


Ruching doesn’t just add interest and femininity to your one pieces, it’s magic when it comes to making them fit, too. With more material on offer, there’s lots more give. That’s why ruched styles, such as our Heatwave control suit, are perfect if you’re apple-shaped or long in the torso.
Adjustable straps

The more adjustable the straps on your swimwear, the more chance you’ll find your perfect fit. Some of Pour Moi’s swimsuits and bikinis go the extra mile by offering two straps that you can tweak, instead of just one. Take the Space double strap halter neck. The shoulder straps adjust normally, but you can also tie the halter neck as tight or as loose as you like.
Adjustable cups

Thought it was just shoulder straps that could be adjusted to fit? Some bikini tops and swimming costumes have adjustable cups, too. Our Sea Breeze adjustable halter neck swimsuit has channelled ties that let you make the cups bigger and smaller, letting you find just the right amount of coverage.
Adjustable briefs

You don’t even have to worry that briefs will dig in at the thigh if you choose bikini bottoms with adjustable options, such as the Starboard Fold briefs. Or go for briefs with tie sides which you can adjust to rest right on top of (and not cut into) your hips.

Check Instagram

Instagram is an endless source of swimwear style inspiration, but did you know it can help you find your perfect fit, too? Visit Pour Moi’s Instagram page and you’ll see lots of real women wearing our swimsuits. It’s a great way of checking how your chosen bikini looks on a variety of different body shapes, and find out how other women are styling them, too.

  • Finding your perfect fit in swimwear is easy when you shop with Pour Moi. Choose from hundreds of different shapes, sizes and styles. Remember, if you don’t love it, you can send it back and we’ll exchange it or give you a refund, provided its in its original condition and packaging, unworn, unwashed and with all labels attached.
Pour Moi Inspirations