I found a bikini that fits me better than any other I've worn
It feels like a dream.
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I’ve always felt as though I would be a lot happier if my bikinis looked more like my underwear. I know, I know: Bikinis are often cut in a way that, to a non-discerning eye, could pass as a standard bra and panty set. But to me, it’s all about the feel, and bikinis almost always feel all wrong—too tight, not breathable enough, and leaving me feeling fleshier and more exposed than I think I'd feel if I just wore my favorite pair of underwear to the beach.
But sadly that's not socially acceptable. So when one of my favorite lingerie brands, Cuup, released a line of swimwear, I leaped at the chance to try it. The brand sent me a suit, which I promptly took to the beach for a week. Here’s how the Cuup bikini performed—and, yes, it's as good as the brand's underwear.
What is Cuup?
Cuup is a lingerie brand that makes unlined mesh underwire bras and modal and elastane underwear. Its new swimsuit line has three top and bottom styles, which you buy separately to mix and match. Tops cost $98 and bottoms cost $68—or about what you'd pay at Nordstrom for a good quality suit. The tops are similar to the classic bra styles, with underwire and no padding—you can get a balconette (a vintage style with darting), a plunge (a minimal V-neck cut), or a scoop (a classic t-shirt style with thick straps). The bottoms also align with Cuup’s underwear aesthetic and come in a bikini (a regular bikini cut with a low rise), a high-waist (a high cut with minimal side and back coverage), and a tap (a high cut with full side and back coverage). They come in the basic solid colors of red, green, black, white, and brown (with cuter names).
Cuup uses a system called "Adaptive Swim Sizing," which it claims allows one top size to work for two or three different bra sizes. The top sizes are numbered from 1 to 23, or the equivalent of a bra-size range from 30A to 42F (two cups fewer than its bra line, which extends to H cups), and bottoms range from XS to XXXL. The suits are made of elastane and recycled nylon that Cuup claims is resistant to chlorine, salt, sunscreen, oil, and sunlight.
When I tested Cuup's bras, I fell in love with the balconette style, so there was no question which bikini top I wanted to try. I paired it with the high-waisted bottoms and got both in the color “seaweed,” a rich olive green.
What I like about the Cuup bathing suit
My favorite thing about my Cuup suit was, well, the cups. Usually, I'm an Aerie or Target swimwear person. These suits have served me well, but almost always come in sizes like XS to 3XL for the top and bottom, which is less specific than most people with boobs need. and Cuup's top sizing system feels a lot more specific. I'm a 32D, which translates to a Cuup swim size 5. If that sounds confusing, you don't have to do the conversion yourself—you select your standard bra size, and Cuup gives you the equivalent swimsuit top size. I loved this system, mainly because it saved me the trouble of scouring the size chart to figure out if I should go for a small or medium. (If you’re not sure what your bra size is, you can take Cuup’s online fit quiz or schedule a virtual fitting.)
The balconette fit impeccably and felt more supportive and secure than other bathing suit tops I’ve worn. It clasps with a hook, not a tie, so I didn’t worry about it coming undone in the ocean or while I was walking around on the beach. The bottoms have fewer size options, but I found my usual size small fit me just right and rarely rode up or down. The suit isn’t explicitly designed for athletic activities like some suits from sportswear brands, but little things like the hook top made me feel like I could run around or play beach volleyball without experiencing a wardrobe malfunction.
Both the top and bottom feel substantial and high quality. The nylon and elastane material is sturdy and thick and made me feel like the suit would last for more than one summer. Despite the thickness, it didn’t take much longer to dry than other thinner suits I own. I didn’t subject it to rigorous staining tests to see if the fabric lived up to its anti-bleaching claims, but I wore it in the sun, in salt water, and accidentally smeared some sunscreen on it. All I did when I was done swimming was rinse it off and let it dry in the sun, and it seemed as fresh as when it first came out of the packaging.
Finally, I appreciate the simplicity of Cuup’s designs. There are no strappy cutouts or strings to cut into the skin, which means they aren’t as trendy as some of the bathing suits I see all over TikTok and Instagram. But each suit seems to support a wide range of body types in movement, unlike other suits, which seem designed for sitting still and taking photos. And, no, neither the top nor bottom was quite as comfortable as as Cuup's bra and underwear—nylon will always be more restrictive than mesh—but they were more comfortable than other bikinis I've worn.
What I don't like about the Cuup bathing suit
Like its bras, Cuup’s suit tops are unlined. In some ways, I appreciated this—I’ve worn bathing suits with padding so voluminous it made my chest look and feel like a Nerf ball that had been soaking in a pool for too long when I emerged from the water. But something about the balconette cut with no padding whatsoever felt indecent the first time I wore it with nothing over it. The nylon and elastane swimsuit fabric is thicker than the bra’s mesh, so it remained opaque throughout the day and didn’t make me feel like I was totally exposed. Still, I noticed that I got a little nippy a few times when I was getting out of the ocean, which some light padding could have prevented.
Other than that, I have just one minimal complaint—or, rather, more of a request. I’d love if Cuup added some patterns to the rotation. The rich, classic solids are superb but I’d kill for a polka dot or floral suit, too.
Are Cuup bathing suits worth buying?
If you get both a Cuup top and bottom, it comes to a grand total of $166. This is more than I’d usually spend on a bikini. But after trying it, I can say that it is worth it, at least for me. It fits as well as my favorite bra and underwear set, feels more comfortable and supportive than most suits, and has the staying power to last through more than one season. I'm confident I’ll be able to wear it for many summers to come—and I already have my eye on some other cuts and colors for next year.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.