Lotte Debell reviews a selection of tankinis from the Figleaves maternity collection…
When Figleaves asked me if I’d like to test out and review some maternity swimwear, I jumped at the chance. As many pregnant women will tell you, getting enough exercise – and exercising in comfort – can be a challenge, and swimming is a soothing, gentle and effective form of exercise when you’re carrying around an ever-growing baby bump. It was definitely on my list of things to take up (again), and thanks to Figleaves, I had no more excuses…
Firstly, a word about tankinis. I own a few non-maternity tankinis and I like the flexibility they give you, especially as I tend to mix and match pieces from different sets (so obviously I love the fact I can easily mix and match all of these). And, while my preferred style of swimwear is usually a one-piece, I’m much more inclined to the tankini route while pregnant. Why? Well, I don’t think I’m alone as a first time mum-to-be in finding the inevitable shape changes – hello, bump! – a little disconcerting at times. So a tankini just feels like a more comfortable option.
The only downside to tankinis, when you’re at the pool swimming lengths and your bump isn’t that big yet, is that they do have a tendency to billow up in the water. But this will obviously become less of a problem as the months progress, and if you’re looking for something to lounge in by the pool or on the beach this summer, it’s not really a concern.
Figleaves Santa Maria Maternity Tankini Set
Buy: Sizes 8-18, £35. Figleaves.com.
Figleaves says: ‘Designed to adapt to your changing shape, the Santa Maria Maternity Tankini set features a flattering v neckline and adjustable side tie for optional coverage. This set is complete with matching briefs.’
My verdict: Design-wise this tankini has some nice little touches. The navy and while colour combo is a classic winner, and it’s livened up with fine coral stripes across the bust. I also really like the contrast of the two different stripe patterns. The wide horizontal stripes dominate while the thinner vertical stripes pick out details such as the underbust band, adjustable ties on the tankini top and the waistband on the briefs.
In terms of fit, I found this set the roomiest in the top half (all the tankinis tested are a size 12). Sadly, my still quite small boobs are not quite big enough (yet) to fill out the top, but it has adjustable straps so there’s minimal gaping. And it is also the longest of the tops, with a deep scoop at the front to ensure coverage as your bump grows. I really like this extra length. I have a long body anyway, and I often have trouble finding swimsuits to fit, so this is plus point for me. The drawstring ties at the sides mean you can adjust it as you like.
The cups have thin moulded inserts for modesty and shape but no underwiring, just as you would expect from a maternity tankini. The adjustable straps and elasticated underband mean it provides perfectly good support for my 32C cup boobs, but I can’t speak for larger cup sizes.
The briefs are great – just the right height to fit comfortably under a bump and the coordinating striped waistband is both cute and flattering. They’re also the kind of brief you can easily pair up with a bikini top, which means you can wear them whether you’re pregnant or not, which is always a bonus.
Figleaves Marine Spot Maternity Tankini Set
Buy: Sizes 8-18, £35. Figleaves.com.
Figleaves says: ‘Suitable from six months, the Marine Spot Halter Maternity Tankini set has lightly padded cups and a flattering halterneck tie. Designed for comfort, this tankini is crafted from soft, stretch fabric.’
My verdict: This is my favourite of the three for design. I’m a sucker for polka dots and I love a halterneck. All three sets stick with a flattering navy colour, and here that is brightened up not only by the white polka dots but also a narrow red underbust band and front tie bow. This bow gives you a little flexibility in terms of neckline as well, as you can tie it tighter or looser depending on how deep a plunge front you prefer – or remove it entirely.
Fit-wise, the halter straps obviously allow for adjustable fit around the bust, which is handy as the tankini is not cup sized. The tankini top is shorter than the Santa Maria. It still has a little scoop at the front but skims the top of the briefs rather than hanging down over them. The length is fine for me at the moment, although possibly towards the end of my nine months I might find it a bit short – the curse of the long torso. But for now it shows off the pretty polka dot waistband of the briefs perfectly.
The briefs are in the same style as the Santa Maria tankini, so they are designed to fit under the bump with a folded waistband panel at the front.
This tankini would definitely be my first choice for a summer holiday, so I’m hoping I get to take it on one soon!
Figleaves Belle Maternity Tankini Set
Buy: Sizes 8-16, £32. Figleaves.com.
Figleaves says: ‘Suitable from six months, the Belle Maternity Tankini set is designed for comfort with adjustable straps. The top is styled in an A line cut to allow for your baby bump and the brief has a folding top at the front for support.’
My verdict: This was my favourite set for wearing to the pool because it’s simple and stylish and the plain colour feels more suited to the business-like activity of swimming lengths as opposed to just hanging out.
Like the Santa Maria, it has adjustable shoulder straps, and the briefs are in the same style again, this time with a plain waistband. This top fit my boobs much better than the other two. It’s very similar in length to the Marine Spot Halter tankini, but unlike the others it has a mesh lining to the cups rather than the thin, moulded pads. I find this works much better for me in terms of fit, so all in all I feel most secure in this top, which is what you need when you’re swimming up and down in a busy public pool.
Overall: All these three tankinis are great and a welcome addition to my swimwear wardrobe, especially as between them they offer me everything I need from maternity swimwear. The Marine Spot is definitely coming to the beach with me; I love the cute style. The Belle set is perfect for my weekly swim, and the generous length of the Santa Maria will see me comfortably through to the end of my pregnancy.
In terms of comfort, I can’t fault them. With such a flexible fit there’s no pulling or digging in anywhere, and the quality of the fabric and the manufacture is really good. Plus, they are reasonably priced, which is what you want for something that may only be worn for a few months.
The only issue with them that I can see is that they are sold as sets, so you don’t have an option to choose a different size for top and bottom. In this case, because the tops all offer a degree of adjustable fit, I would advise sizing your purchase to the briefs to ensure they are the right fit. No one wants too baggy or too tight bikini bottoms! Other than that, I highly recommend all three to mums-to-be.