Let’s face it: Shopping for a new bathing suit can be a headache. Not all swimwear styles are created equal, and if you’re top-heavy and need extra support or wish to give your smaller chest a little extra oomph, the average flimsy triangle bikini top just isn’t going to cut it. Enter the underwire swimsuit, which boasts all the benefits of an underwire bra and solves your boob-related beach woes by helping lift, support, shape, and enhance, no matter your cup size.
Underwire swimsuits come in all silhouettes and sizes, from balconette bikinis and strapless bandeaus to retro-inspired one-pieces, and may be unlined, lined, or, for extra shaping benefits, include built-in or removable padding. Needless to say, the options are pretty endless, which makes the task of finding the right one for your needs all the more daunting. To narrow down the list, we scoured our favorite online shops to read through reviews and tapped a handful of experts to share their shopping tips and insights. Ahead, the best underwire swimsuits for every style preference, bra size, and budget.
CUUP The Balconette Swim
When cult-favorite intimates brand CUUP—beloved for its sheer underwire bras—made its foray into swimwear in 2021, we knew it wouldn’t disappoint. The brand offers a few minimalist-chic underwire tops and one-pieces styles, but we’re giving top honors to this ultra-flattering balconette, which enhances natural cleavage sans padding. Like its bras, CUUP swim caters to an inclusive range of sizes (cups A through H and bands 30 through 44), and it’s offered in a gorgeous array of colors. Pick your favorite shade, then pick your favorite bottoms to match.
Price at time of publish: $98
Size Range: 30–44 band; A–H cup | Material: 78% recycled ECONYL® polyamide, 22% elastane | Colors: Black, Earth, Iris, Bamboo +more
Aerie Wide Rib Unlined Underwire Plunge Bikini
You don’t have to spend much on a quality suit with flattering lift and support. Aerie offers a few different styles of underwire swim tops and one-pieces that range in style and level of support, but we’re fans of this ribbed plunge silhouette. As one customer writes, while unlined, it offers comfortable support for larger cup sizes. Couple it with one of a few matching bottom styles, and you have a comfy and flattering new bikini for under $50.
Price at time of publish: $20
Size Range: 32–38 band; A–DD cup | Material: 74% recycled nylon, 26% elastane | Colors: Elite Blue, True Black, White +more
PatBO Crochet-Knit Bikini Top
Given the inevitable wear-and-tear swimwear faces due to sun, saltwater, or chlorine, it’s not often we feel compelled to splurge on a new suit. Leave it to Patricia Bonaldi, the reigning queen of resort wear and the brains behind label PatBo, to have us reaching for our wallets. This underwire pleated cup bikini top, which, yes, includes billowy crocheted bishop sleeves and shoulder pads, is perfectly apt for both an afternoon swim or a summer night soirée. Pair it with the matching bottoms or a slinky slip skirt—the versatility ensures you get a little more bang for your buck.
Price at time of publish: $395
Size Range: XS–XL | Material: 96% modal, 4% elastane; 82% polyamide, 18% elastane trim; 87% polyamide, 13% elastane lining | Colors: Black
Best for Large Busts
Form and Fold The Crop Top
If you’re a cup size D through G, Aussie label Form and Fold has your back (err, and front). Designed specifically for larger busts, the brand offers a variety of extra-supportive one- and two-pieces that are far from frumpy. We’re fans of this ‘90s-inspired minimalist crop top that boasts a hidden underwire, an inner power mesh sling, and wide straps for an incredibly comfortable fit.
Price at time of publish: $175
Size Range: 30–38 band; D–G cup | Material: 80% nylon, 20% elastane | Colors: Syrup, Espresso, Mango Terry +more
JADE Swim Mia Bikini Top
When it comes to bikinis, this top from JADE Swim is a favorite of Shopbop fashion director Caroline Maguire. We love that it’s understated and not overly complicated, but the subtle ruching around the underwire makes it feel special. “Plus, it offers full coverage with adjustable straps,” notes Maguire. Pair with the brand’s high-cut, high-waist bottom for a sophisticated look.
Price at time of publish: $120
Size Range: XS–XL | Material: 78% nylon, 22% spandex | Colors: Black, pink, light green
Best for Small Busts
Carolina K Carmel Demi Underwire Bikini Top
If you have a smaller bust and want to give the girls some extra oomph sans padding, look for something with a demi cup, which will help accentuate your natural cleavage. This Carolina K top boasts structured cups to help give you some shape while the underwire provides lift. The retro cut and multi-colored floral print make it a stylish addition to your swim drawer, too.
Price at time of publish: $125
Size Range: XS–XL | Material: Recycled polyester, elastane | Colors: Multicolor floral
Solid & Striped The Veronica One Piece
This one-piece from Solid & Striped provides the best of both worlds: It has the full-coverage back and bottom you want from a one-piece, yet it still feels sexy thanks to the exposed-seam corset details and uniquely spaced underwire cups. Bonus points for the adjustable straps that ensure a comfortable fit and won’t ever dig.
Price at time of publish: $228
Size Range: XS–XL | Material: 80% polyamide, 20% elastane | Colors: Black, Cream, Navy, Ruby +more
Best with Cutouts
Swimsuits for All Cutout Underwire One Piece Swimsuit
Don’t be fooled by this suit’s skin-baring cutouts, it boasts tons of supportive features like underwire molded bra cups with a power mesh frame, tummy-smoothing front lining, adjustable straps, and a G-hook back closer with three adjustments—all while offering plenty of coverage on the bottom half, which is what makes it a favorite of Swimsuits for All design director and fit expert Kristina Guilman. “Talk about sexy with coverage!” she says.
Price at time of publish: $55
Size Range: 4–26 | Material: 82% nylon, 18% spandex | Colors: Blue Fiesta, Hawaiian Tropical, Aztec +more
Vitamin A Rossi Halter Underwire Top
Ribbed fabric has become a favorite for loungewear and athleisure, so it’s no wonder it’s trickled into our swimwear. We love this Vitamin A underwire, in particular, for its exclusive SuperRib fabric that is not only made from recycled nylon fibers but has a smoothing effect thanks to its thicker construction. As founder and CCO Amahlia Stevens points out, it’s one of the brand’s best-selling styles: “The fit is flattering and supportive for all bust sizes and is supportive, but it is still modern and sexy,” she adds.
Price at time of publish: $135
Size Range: XS–L with additional D and DD sizes | Material: 83% recycled nylon, 17% spandex | Colors: Tangerine, Black, Aloe
Isa Boulder Woven Metallic Stretch-Satin Underwired Bikini Top
From crochet and weaving to ruching, textured swim is hot for summer 2023. Our top pick? This metallic woven satin number from Bali-based swimwear label Isa Boulder. It may be splurgy, but it certainly makes a statement—plus, it boasts an ultra-comfy fit. The brand’s go-to satin fabric provides ample stretch, while wider straps ensure it won’t dig into your shoulders.
Price at time of publish: $216.91
Size Range: XS–XL | Material: 75% nylon, 25% elastane shell; 90% polyester, 10% elastane lining | Colors: Pink
Andrea Iyamah Nisi One Piece Swimsuit
Honestly, have you seen a more stunning one-piece? The high-cut, mono-strapped one-piece features the brand’s signature pleated ruffle detail for a touch of sophistication, explains founder Andrea Iyamah. “It’s a best-seller for a reason,” she adds. Not only is it chic beyond words, but it features a two-piece underwire and cups for flattering support.
Price at time of publish: $170
Size Range: XS–2XL | Material: 80% nylon, 20% elastane | Colors: Ruby, Chocolate
Bondi Born Whitney Underwire Bikini Top
If you prefer a minimalist approach to swimwear, look no further than this two-piece from Aussie label Bondi Born. The curved underwire is hidden within the square-neck bandeau top for a clean look, while the sculpting fabric provides extra smoothing support. Pair with the ultra-high rise matching bottom for a sleek, sculpted look.
Price at time of publish: $175
Size Range: XS–2XL | Material: 59% microfibre PA 41% Lycra Beauty® shell; 69% PA 31% Lycra Beauty® lining | Colors: Black, Solar
Tory Burch Drip Bouquet Underwire One Piece
This vibrant Tory Burch is just the dopamine boost we need for beach season, and somehow the colorful florals manage to not feel overly busy, something that often plagues printed swimwear. A classic cut with a supportive underwire and balconette cup, you can trust this suit is ultra-flattering. “I’m obsessed with this beautiful tropical print, and the cut-out back lets you show a little skin, which I love as well,” muses Maguire.
Price at time of publish: $258
Size Range: XS–XL | Material: 71% nylon, 29% Lycra® Xtra Life™ elastane | Colors: Blue Drip Bouquet
Good American Good Compression Cutout Underwired Swimsuit
We’ve long stanned Good American for its ultra-inclusive size range that caters to sizes XS through 5XL, as well as its figure-flattering range of fabrics. This one-piece is crafted from its stretchy, shape-enhancing Good Compression fabric and features the cutest peek-a-boo back cutout. We love the simplicity of the style in white, but this summer will see it launch in a handful of neon shades.
Price at time of publish: $120
Size Range: XS–5XL | Material: 78% nylon, 22% elastane | Colors: Fiery Coral, Fuschia Pink, Black, Ivory +more
Monday Swimwear Maui One Piece
Beachwear label Monday Swimwear was founded with sustainability and inclusivity in mind, the majority of its pieces utilizing recycled materials and catering to cup sizes A through G. We also appreciate that all of its styles are offered in petite sizing, considering that, especially in the case of one-pieces, petite body types can be difficult to shop for. Underwire cups and adjustable shoulder straps ensure the perfect custom fit, while the retro high-leg cut instantly flatters shorter torsos.
Price at time of publish: $175
Size Range: S–L with additional petite and voluptuous sizes | Material: 82% nylon, 18% spandex | Colors: Black
Riot Swim Reese Underwire Top
If you’re seeking more coverage than your average bikini top, this underwire top from Riot Swim has you covered (quite literally). Unlike most underwire tops, the wire is fully hidden underneath the flattering ruched, bandeau cut, which boasts extra support and coverage under the armpits (no side boob here!). Pair with one of many bottom styles the brand offers, which range from high-rise to full-on thong.
Price at time of publish: $99
Size Range: XS–XL | Material: Nylon, spandex | Colors: Canary, Bubblegum, Coconut
Athleta Maldives High Neck Tankini
The coverage of a one-piece with the convenience of a two-piece, this tankini top features a supportive underwire and an adjustable neck and back hook for a custom, comfortable fit. Best for cup sizes B through DD, it’s designed with a flattering high neck that prevents spilling. The brand also offers a wide range of bottoms in terms of coverage, from mid-rise briefs to full swim shorts.
Price at time of publish: $89
Size Range: 32–40 band; B–DD cup | Material: Recycled nylon, Lycra® spandex | Colors: Dress Blue, Skylark Blue, Salvia Pink, Black
Best Swim Dress
STAUD Maeve Swim Dress
Cult-favorite label STAUD recently launched an exclusive line of swimwear with Shopbop, and trust us, it’s not one to miss. A swimsuit and coverup in one, this two-tone swim dress is so much fun, offering support and coverage in the chicest way possible. “This style feels both retro and super elegant—it’s one of my favorites from the collection,” says Maguire.
Price at time of publish: $295
Size Range: XS–XL | Material: 85% nylon, 15% spandex | Colors: Black/White
We love the simple, flattering design of CUUP’s The Balconette Swim, a fan-favorite bra style that enhances your natural cleavage sans padding, reimagined for underwater. We also appreciate that it’s available in a wide range of sizes and hues. Those with larger busts will appreciate Form and Fold’s The Crop Top, a ‘90s-inspired minimalist top designed specifically to support cup sizes D through G, while those with smaller busts will love the cleavage-enhancing prowess of the Carolina K Carmel Demi Underwire Bikini Top.
Meet the Expert
- Caroline Maguire is the fashion director at Shopbop.
- Andrea Iyamah is a designer and founder of her namesake clothing and accessories label.
- Amahlia Stevens is the founder and chief creative officer of swimwear label Vitamin A.
- Kristina Guilmain is the design director and fit expert at Swimsuits For All, an inclusive swimwear brand that caters to sizes 4 through 44.
What to Look for in Underwire Swimsuits
Fit and Comfort
Underwire swimsuits are designed to lift and support, but a proper fit is crucial to ensure it flatters you (and protects against any wardrobe malfunctions like nip slips) and will be comfortable to wear for extended periods, like a day at the beach. “Comfort and fit are key,” says Stevens. “Make sure your top is not digging in. The underwire should sit flush against your ribs, comfortably underneath your full cup, with breasts smoothly inside the cups with no gaping or cutting into the breasts at the armpit or neckline. If the wire cuts into your breasts at any point towards your underarm, it’s too small of a wire—size up.”
Wire firmness is another thing to consider when it comes to a comfortable fit, adds Iyamah. “You don’t want a wire that’s too hard or stiff because it won’t hug your body as nicely; however, you don’t want one that’s too soft, either, as it won’t deliver as much support,” she says.
Especially if you have a larger bust that needs ample support, Guilmain recommends suits that feature both adjustable straps and an adjustable back closure. “This allows for a customizable fit and an unbeatable level of support,” she says.
Lining, Padding, and Framing
Underwire swimsuits can come unlined, lined, or complete with built-in or removable padding. While this is totally up to personal preference, if you’re looking to enhance your natural shape, Iyamah recommends suits with lightly padded cups. “They’ll also keep you covered in nippy situations, but make sure the cup properly fits to avoid spilling.” Additionally, Stevens adds that high-quality fabrics with higher elastic content will also help shape—something to keep in mind should you opt for an unlined style.
Additionally, Guilmain says that great underwire swimsuits will feature a supportive bra frame to hold the wires, making them all the more supportive. “This is especially important for plus-size customers who are looking for an underwire style that is not only comfortable but will support and lift their shape.
What is the benefit of buying an underwire swimsuit?
Underwire swimsuits offer multiple benefits, regardless of your bra size. According to Stevens, underwire styles provide added support and lift for larger bust sizes while adding shape and lift for smaller busts. “Many women feel most secure in an underwire top, especially with over-the-shoulder styles, which can help distribute weight across the shoulders versus halter underwire styles, which can irritate collarbones with extended wear,” she says. “If you have a smaller chest, they can be a super flattering way to enhance your natural curves.”
Are underwire swimsuits comfortable?
They should be, so long as you purchase the correct size and the style fits you properly—they’re meant to fit like bras, after all. To avoid anything too snug or a wire that digs, both Maguire and Iyamah stress the importance of trying on your swimsuit before bringing it to the beach or pool to avoid anything too snug or a wire that digs. “Every brand and every underwire is made differently, and different materials equal a different fit, so trying on underwire styles first ensures you find the best fit for you,” says Maguire. Of course, this proves impossible to do before you purchase if you’re shopping online, so make sure you shop somewhere that has a good return policy, and make sure you give the suit a proper try-on before snipping any tags or removing the sanitary liner, referencing the fit guide, above. “Dry wear test it for at least 30 minutes before deciding it’s a keeper,” adds Iyamah.
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie contributor Jenna Igneri has been working in fashion and beauty media for over a decade and has written for publications such as Refinery29, WhoWhatWear, The Zoe Report, Vice, Coveteur, and more. To source the best underwire swimsuits out there, she read through countless reviews and tapped a handful of designers and buyers to share their expert insights.