Being a fuller-busted (over a D cup) woman, I know how difficult it is to find swimwear that fits both my boobs and my bum.
Thankfully, indie swimwear brand Lilly & Lime has also lived through this dilemma. They understand the challenge of shopping for a bikini when your bust doesn't fit into the standard cup sizes. And they're making it their mission to create beautiful and easy-to-wear bikinis and (coming soon) one-piece swimsuits and tankinis.
What I also appreciate about Lilly & Lime are the options they offer. There are style choices in both tops and bottoms, and one can mix and match sets. Plus, there are removable and adjustable straps that give you greater fashion and fit flexibility.
In my interview with Lilly & Lime's founders, we take a look at their latest Tropics line, get a preview of upcoming styles, and learn how they got their start in the full-bust swimwear business.
How long has the brand been in business and what was the impetus for launch:
Azure Palm Balconette Bikini w/Full BriefWe are Emma-Jane Hughes (30G) and Ashleigh Hill (30DDD), two friends who became entrepreneurs and business partners in 2012.
We both grew up in Africa ---Ash on the shores of Lake Malawi and Emma on the beautiful white beaches in South Africa. We’ve grown up loving the sun and the beach.
After a few years in London building our careers, we were craving sun and sand, so we both relocated to Australia. Ash and her family now live in Brisbane, Australia and Emma and her family recently relocated to Bermuda, so we spend a lot of time on Skype!
The idea came when we were on a friend’s bachelorette weekend. Our bikinis felt boring and ill-fitted, while our smaller busted friends had fun, stylish suits that seemed effortless. There are so few interesting swimwear options that support bigger busted women. Especially those that have hard to find bra sizes like us, 30G and 30DDD.
We began working on Lilly & Lime in 2012 and spent three years on product development, researching how to best serve our woman. We launched in April 2016 with our Australian site, and our US site is launching now.
Coral Balconette Bikini Top w/Sunset Shell High-Waisted Brief
What makes Lilly & Lime different in the intimate apparel market? What’s the swimwear niche you are trying to fill?
We exist to not only bring cool and supportive swimwear to the D-cup and up woman, who is vastly underserved by the global swimwear market but also to ensure that women like us feel recognized by the industry. Our models come in all shapes and sizes and our campaign imagery shows what a woman with large breasts really looks like in a supportive bathing suit that makes her feel great.
Our range currently runs from a 28D – 40HH in top and US4 – US22 in bottoms, which are all sold separately because, well, obviously. Everything is meant to be mixed and matched, with complementary colors and patterns so you can have a lot of combinations with fewer pieces (especially fab for travel).
Striped Underwire Halter w/Basic Brief
Who do you see as your ideal customer for your designs?
Any woman whose cup size is D or larger and is over feeling self-conscious about her breasts in a swimsuit---really anyone who is regularly disappointed with mainstream swim options that cater to only a few body types.
What’s been your greatest business challenge in establishing your brand?
Our greatest challenge was getting the product to meet our high standards. We weren’t going to market anything short of game-changing for our women. That’s why we spent 3 years in product development with our technical team. We are continuously fielding feedback and further improving on the fit to ensure we’re serving as many women as possible.
Is there anything you find frustrating about the lingerie business of which consumers have no clue?
The average woman has no idea how much technical work goes into making lingerie and swimwear in larger cup sizes. That technical work brings up the price. This is why Lilly & Lime is a direct to consumer brand and sells exclusively online - so we can keep the price accessible. Many larger busted women have never experienced a truly properly fitting bikini top or bra, so they don’t understand how life-changing it can be. Not all women have access to that for a variety of reasons, but we hope to do our part to make it easier.
Where do you want the brand to be in the next ten years?
We know how game-changing our product is for a day at the beach. In 10 years we hope to have served billions of women by giving them more fun in the sun and more confidence with our extensive range of swimwear designed for and celebrating their bodies.
What do you want customers to know about your brand?
We are women who support women---literally and figuratively. Swimwear companies shouldn’t pander to women's insecurities about their exposed bodies. We have a duty to showcase our product effectively and honestly, so we don’t Photoshop our models and we use a diverse range of women so our customers feel welcome in our sisterhood.
Lilly & Lime Brand Recap:
Styles: For tops, we have a full cup, halter, balconette and a bandeau strapless with optional straps. Bottoms include the full brief, hipster tie, basic brief, cut out brief, and high-waisted. One-piece swimsuits are coming soon!
Price Range: $60 for tops; $30 for bottoms
Sizing: 28D-38HH; US4-US22
Where to Buy: Lillyandlime.com
Have you had a problem finding two-piece swimsuits or bikinis to fit your larger bust? What do you think of Lilly & Lime's size range?