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Mix & Match Swimwear: Full Bust Tops & High Waist Bottoms

The suit that started it all -- Modcloth Cutie Pie Picnic Two Piece by Lucy B.
I was sitting around the other day on my computer, pitifully dwelling in a well of retail envy. As many of you already know, I'm crazy for retro details like puff sleeves, kitschy prints, and anything high waisted. I was scrolling through Modcloth's pin-up inspired bikinis and silently whining that none of the two piece sets came in full bust sizes. Granted, there are a few DD+ high waist bottoms floating around out there right now. If you like bright prints, Panache has their Tallulah and Freya has a black option in the Showboat range.  I love the texture of the Showboat, but I wanted something a little more over-the-top (see above) and striking. I decided to play around and see how many different combinations I could make with full bust bikini tops and high waist bottom options. The results:

Muted Colors

This is by no means a trend for the season, but I wanted to play with this unusual color palette after finding the Arsenic and Old Lace print on Etsy. The toffee colorway of Freya's Cha Cha stands out too, there's not much like it on the market right now.

Freya Cha Cha Sweetheart Padded Top (30-36 D-GG, 38 D-G), $64
Bonsoir Bella Arsenic & Old Lace Retro High Waist Bottom on Etsy (S-XL), $42

Sheer Panels

I've consciously avoided black in my bikini years. This is so dorky and it'll age me...does anyone remember that beach scene in She's All That where the popular girls are in these little bikinis and dorky/artsy/outcast Laney takes off her overalls and has a black one piece on? Yeah, I completely over-identified with Rachel Leigh Cook's character and vowed I'd never be seen in black swimwear. It was an impressionable time, but I think these sheer paneled pieces would give the in-crowd a run for their money.

Sophina by Figleaves Icon Mesh Balcony Top (30 DD-G, 32 D-G, 34 & 36 C-G, 38 D-F), $45
American Apparel Micro-Mesh Nylon Tricot High Waist Brief (XS-L), $26

Noir Floral  

I can't take too much credit for this combination since these pieces felt like they belonged together all along. 

Midnight Grace Carmen Broderie Underwired Balcony Top (30-38 D-G), $42
Urban Outfitters High Waisted Bikini Bottom (S-L), $42


Judging from the number of black or black-based high waist bottoms, I'd suggest investing in a black bikini top. There are so many different ways you can take it; the mesh panels are hot, the floral touches are sweet, monochrome elements are always chic, and leopard gives you that saucy pin up attitude that can't be beat. 

Panache Holly Bandeau (28-38 D-G), $59
My Sugar Doll MEOW Black and Leopard Retro High Waist Bottom (S-XL), $54


If you wanted to invest in pieces that would stay classy throughout fleeting trends, monochrome is the way to go. It's sleek, matches any beach accessories, and chic in that Audrey Hepburn genre, which guarantees that it will never go out of style.

Midnight Grace Heidi Underwired Halter Top, (30-38 D-G), $42

Fables by Barrie Frannie Super High Waisted Bottom on Etsy (XS-XL), $58

Candy Striper

I know it's a lot to look at online, but I think these eye catching red and white stripes are adorable. I also have a hunch that the red band, chunky bow, and low leg on the bottoms would be insanely flattering.

Curvy Kate Horizon Balcony Top (28-40 D-K), $74

My Sugar Doll Kandy Red & White Stripes Bottom on Etsy (S-XL), $56

To my delight, there are a bunch of full bust gingham options out now and it's a crazy popular print in 50's swim bottoms. Beyond the Bravissimo top below, Miss Mandalay and Midnight Grace have cute DD+ tops and there are also some S/S 2012 pieces from Freya's Kansas collection kicking around.

Bravissimo Gingham Girl Bikini Top (30 & 32 E-J, 34-38 DD-J), $51.83
Black Cat Bikini Miss. Daisy High Waist Sash Bottom (XXS - 5XL), $50

Yellow Polka Dots

Ahhhhhh, the cuteness hurts my brain! Yellow. Polka dots!! I've heard other people say that this color is hard to pull off and I'd agree. For a long time, I avoided it. I've discovered lately that dandelion and mustard colors offsets those undertones in my skin. Put in the strangest way possible, it's as if those bright hues make me look more alive in comparison.  

Freya Sunset Boulevard Banded Halter (28-36 D-H, 38 D-G), $52

J. Crew Graphic Dot High-Waisted Brief (XXS - XL), $50

Going Bananas

When I saw these Fables by Barrie bottoms, I knew they'd have to go in this post. I also knew I might be the only one to like them. But life is short and really, how many chances am I going to get to wear wallpaper-y giant banana printed high waist bikini bottoms? Yup, I'm thinking once.  

Freya Showboat Lipstick Halter Top (28-36 D-H, 38 D-G), $68 official U.S. retail

Fables By Barrie Frannie Bottom in Banana (XS - L), $62
Blue Floral

Mimi Hammer's swimsuits, like the high waisted brief below, employ elements we've seen before: nautical themes, floral prints, flirty ruffles, long ties and so on. While those details might seem familiar, Camille Forcherio's designs are spare, subtle, and the teeniest bit surreal. Like land locked mermaids, mystic ballerinas, and doomed princesses decided to have a bonfire on the beach. It may look normal from far away, but the longer you look, the more bewitching it gets.

The Mimi Hammer Etsy store will be closed until April 9th and the bottom below is from her new Spring/Summer 2013 collection. You can look at the entire line here and if you're interested, there are some older interviews with her online. (They're worth it for the menacing stuffed bunny printed suit or the peach/belly button bearing/bow accented/sheer detailed/black geometric concoction.)

Gossard EgoBoost Bandeau Plunge in Riviera Blue (30 D-G, 32-36 A-G, & 38 B-G), $57
Mimi Hammer Pink Rum Lemonade Floral High Waisted Bottom (S-XL), $49 *Store owner on vacation until April 9th 

If you like turquoise, you should be a very, very happy this season. Almost every full bust retailer has a turquoise swim option in their catalogs: Curvy Kate and Comexim have solid versions, Cleo put out the twee Betsy below, and Freya picked the hue as the fashion colorway for their Fever line. Panache and Fantasie use shades of it too, in their Tallulah and Cancun collections. Finally, Midnight Grace has their old standard, the Pin Up, which has white dots slightly bigger than the Betty, on a turquoise base, with an above-the-bust ruffle. 

But enough about tops, the real excitement begins with these bottoms! Peace of Paradise makes the Hana Tie Up High Waisted Bottoms from size U.S. 0 to 22, you choose the fabric of the seat and strings from over 50 varieties, and they only cost $45. Side note: Isn't their model GORGEOUS?!

Cleo Betty Frilled Bandeau Top (28-38 D-G), $59
Peace of Paradise Hana Tie Up High Waisted Bottom (U.S. 0 - 22), $45

I don't know about y'all, but I'm psyched when Bravissimo debuts exclusive styles. And what looks great with orange? Turquoise! ;)
Bravissimo Exclusive: Free Haiti Top (30-38 D-H), $54.88

ASOS Mix & Match High Waisted Pant in Paperino Orange (U.S. 4 -12), $23.28
Cherry Bomb

Like my banana print gamble, cherries are controversial since it's a nostalgic print entrenched in rockabilly couture. My pin up soul sisters already know they're guaranteed dresses, aprons, jewelry, etc. with this fruit all over. Unfortunately, cherries are nearly impossible to find in the full bust world so I was happy to stumble upon this top from one of my new favorite companies, Comexim.

Comexim Wisienki Biustonosz (size 60 C-L, 65 B-K, 70 A-J, 75 & 80 A-HH, 95 C-E), $37.84
Urban Outfitters High Waisted Bikini Bottom (S-L), $42

When I see collection previews, I don't "understand" the giant tropical leaf prints or Caribbean-inspired color combinations. I've never vacationed south of the Mason-Dixon line so my Cape Cod loyalties pull me in the direction of preppier bikinis. Cue the boat shoes, clam chowder, and nautical themed swimwear.   

Pour Moi? Azure Underwired Top (32 D-H, 34 B-H, 36 D-H, 38 D-H), $38

Ava Bell Designs Rita Prints Adjustable Length Skirt with Attached Tummy Control (XS-M), $89
Panache Nancy Bandeau Top (30-38 D-H), $59
Black Cat Bikinis Skipper High Waist Bottom (XXS-5XL), $50

If you're still on the hunt for modest bottoms, there are dozens of cool ones to choose from.

So, are you looking for...

...high waist bottoms that are straight sized, solid, and cost less than $50?  I'd recommend ASOS, American Apparel, and Urban Outfitters.

...independent, high quality, and bold pin-up swimwear seperates? Fables by Barrie, Black Cat Bikinis, and My Sugar Doll are all good bets. ***My straight bra sized friends should check out Lucy B. too!

...made to measure or customizable retro pieces? Peace of Paradise has a more traditional high waist brief, as well as the tie up string from the Turquoise set. Ava Bell Designs has a reversible, wirefree, and halter neck bikini top up to an H cup. Some of Black Cat bikini tops are sized by cup exclusively (AA-G) and the website says they're willing to customize for hard to fit customers. size bottoms? Peace of Paradise offers their custom briefs to a U.S. 22 and Black Cat Bikinis make 5 and 6XL.  


  1. I cannot even handle how much I'd like any one of these sets. What a great post! I honestly never think about mixing and matching, I suspect out of timidity or laziness. No more! I love your roundup and all of the different options you present!

    1. Thanks, Sweets! I hadn't thought of mixing and matching either, I assumed all those retro bikinis would be sold as sets. I'm so glad you like the ones I picked. :D

    2. I totally agree! These are some great choices! I love them! Well done :D

      I actually love high waist bikinis! Here's my blog, come check it out at


  2. Wonderful! I can't get over the gorgeous bottoms you picked out and the recommendations. So fabulous! I am going to check out those places you linked to see if I can't snag a solid colored bottom for my Panache swimsuit. It's too pretty not to wear the tops because the bottoms are too low coverage.

    1. Thank you!! Definitely check out those shops, there's so much availability - especially for Nautical themed stuff! I'm so happy you're into this style too. :D

  3. I wish I'd been brave enough to try this last year, because I really wanted the Freya Lindy Hop or Freya Charleston, but I won't wear typical bikini bottoms. The Freya Fever plunge would also look good with high waisted bottoms.

    Here's a set I'm considering now: Freya Kansas in bluebell, paired with denim-look bottoms.

  4. Hi Cecily!
    I've enjoyed your post so much! You presented so many great pieces! Thanks for that. Now, there is the "easier" part of which one to choose! Just kidding ;) I simply adore high waisted bikinis and the whole retro look! Actually, I have my own site about high waisted bikinis! Feel free to check it out and thanks again for the suggestions!

  5. I have a pair of the Ava Bell high waisted swim bottoms - they are EXQUISITE. Fantastic workmanship and quality. Buy them - you won't regret it!


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