As most of you know by now, I’m a pretty active lady. As some of you who know me in person or who have witnessed the #BigBoobProblems conversations on Twitter also know, I have a fairly large chest. Both of these facts are awesome. Together, notsomuch. Take for example the search for an action sports bikini. Most are halters; I want a crossback because halters hurt my neck after a while, and chafe when wearing a wetsuit. Most are also meant for tiny girls because, let’s face it, most surfer girls are tiny.
I maintain that surfer girls are generally bitty because there aren’t enough bikini options for more substantial girls, and nobody wants to add a nip slip on top of the inherent embarrassment of wiping out. A bikini shift is bad enough when you have a small chest; it’s mortifying when boobs just go flying everywhere. If bigger girls felt more secure, I bet more of them would get out on a board. But I digress.
When I surf currently, I wear a sports bra under a wetsuit/jacket and change on the beach if I’m going to be hanging out. In Hawaii, the water is 20 degrees warmer so I just wear the sports bra and a ‘kini bottom, but then I either have to change at every surf spot (or if I want to play volleyball or go snorkeling or just play in the water), or I’m running around the island all day in a wet sports bra. It’s not ideal, definitely not cute, and OMG the tan lines. I have been looking for a cute, comfortable, supportive, not-too-skimpy-but-not-too-matronly crossback, racerback, etc. bikini top for months now. (Really, years.) Today, while scanning the internet for tops AGAIN, the thought suddenly occurred to me:
Aren’t crossbacks just halter bikinis with loops on the back strap?
Yes. Yes they are.
OMG GAME CHANGER.
I immediately ran to my swimsuit box and pulled out every string and halter top with a tie neck. Now, I’ve done the trick where you just cross the neck ties and tie them to the back tie, but that wasn’t secure enough. I was on a mission to build a better mousetrap/bikini top. This is what I came up with:
1. Start with a bikini with fixed cups and moderate coverage. Neck ties should fall 4-6 inches below the back tie when crossed. Avoid using a bikini that is already too tight in the band, as the band size will decrease when you tie knots in it.
2. Tie a self-knot (overhand knot for you Boy Scouts, sailors and climbers) in each back strap or tie. For a strap, tie the knots near the clasps. For ties, tie the knots a few inches short of where you’d normally tie the back together. Do not tighten the knots yet.
3. Cross the neck ties at the mid back. (For a variation on this, if your ties are long enough, twist the ties together a few times. Roxy and Hurley call this a “T-back”.) Pull each neck tie through the opposite knot. Straighten the ties out so everything is neat.
4. NOW tighten the knots. A lot. Pull the neck ties so they’re even, with 4-6 inches left hanging.
5. If you have a clasp back, close it first, then tie the neck ties in a pretty bow over it. If you have a tie back, tie the neck ties first, then the back ties. Admire your handiwork. Now untie and unclasp so you can put the dang thing on. DO NOT pull the straps back through the knots.
6. Slip this bad boy over your head, putting your arms through the straps, being careful not to pull your new ties through the knots. Repeat step 5. Tighten and adjust (ties and cups) as needed.
7. Go surf! Or play volleyball or chase after your kids or whatever. Feel secure in your top’s coverage. Pulling the neck ties through the knots allows you to distribute the weight of your chest across both the shoulders and the back. My favorite thing about this method is that I can pull it really tight and secure without putting pressure on my neck. Plus, the back is double-tied. That thing isn’t going anywhere.
And now I can leave my sports bras where they belong while I’m on vacation: at home with the rest of my gym clothes.