Bikini Review: Miss Mandalay Bardot, 32F + Asos bikini briefs

It’s so sunny, humid, and warm today I’m in a swimming mood!  As promised when I reviewed my Comexim Pin Up Girl, today I have another bikini top for you.  Miss Mandalay is a UK bra manufacturer and their Paige and Paris sets are quite popular among Bratabase and A Bra That Fits.  I’ve never managed to try one, but I’ve heard the brand is fairly narrow wired and projected all around, so when I spied the Bardot swim top on sale in a sister size of mine, I had to give it a go.  Bardot is currently on sale and still available for purchase in various sizes from Miss Mandalay! You can also find the Royale Halter top currently on sale at Bare Necessities and it’s the same cut

I’ve always wanted a “normal” swim top, with halter ties, that didn’t look like a bra. Every halter top I’ve ever tried has been awfully shallow and wide, and I didn’t have my hopes up too high.  To my surprise, Bardot fits the bill quite well!  The band is too big for me, but only stretches to 30″ so I’d go ahead and say the band runs a size small.  I’m not sure if that holds true for all Miss Mandalay, being this is my first foray into the brand.  I haven’t tightened the band yet, simply because I wear bikinis less than bras and prefer a somewhat smoother look to my back while in a bikini, but I suspect when it gets wet it’ll stretch even farther and compromise support.  That said, the band is alteration friendly, so if I decide I need to make it smaller I can.  Let’s take a peek!

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What first drew me to Bardot was how normal it looked.  It looks mostly just like any other halter top seen on the beach.  I love the black and white gingham print and yellow accents on the gore and ties.  At first glance, this top really looks like it fits well!  The gore even tacks, and that never happens in a swim top (with the exception of the Comexim).

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From the side, we can see the wires are a little wider than my root.  I measured them at 5.75″ wide, and I wasn’t surprised since I had to sister size to a 32F.  Sometimes cup scaling changes as the band sizes get larger.  It’s hard to tell if a 30FF would have been narrower.  In all my research, I found no other reviews of Bardot on an actual person so trying it was a totally blind experiment for me!  Despire the wide wires, the underwire is actually in my IMF.  Given my pendulous shape, I was really happy to see this!

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Bardot gives a nice, lifted, rounded-yet natural shape.  The biggest downside to Bardot, for me, is that it’s unpadded.  Even just a tiny thin layer of foam would provide for nipple coverage, and I still can’t quite understand why most full-bust swimsuits are not at least very lightly padded, or come with the option of removable pads like all cheap department store triangle tops.  That said, padding tends to make a bra or bikini shallower, so maybe it’s better for fit that Bardot isn’t padded.  Because it’s unpadded and wider than my root, the overall shape is somewhat minimized, although I’m not complaining.  I actually appreciate that in bikinis, rather than standing out with the girls totally on display.  Bardot is a seamed top, with one vertical seam running the entire height of the cup, which is a basic construction technique that seems gets overlooked at times.  If you stop a vertical seam halfway up a rounded cup, you get a point.  Pointed cups are not flattering, in my opinion.  So thank you, Miss Mandalay, for making this a full length seam.

I chose not to purchase the matching Bardot bottoms, as I decided they were a little too frilly for my taste.  Instead, I’ve paired Bardot with a simple black bikini bottom, the Asos Mix & Match Deep Hipster bottom.

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Due to my short torso, I prefer a lower rise bikini bottom.  I also prefer bottoms without wide bands of elastic at the waistband that tend to cut into my post-baby belly skin.  The Asos bottom works like a charm on me – low rise and a forgiving fit.

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The back coverage is fuller, something I also prefer in bikini bottoms.  Asos’s solid color Mix & Match bottoms come in many colors and cuts, including tie side and Brazilian, for those who prefer less rear end coverage.  Currently priced at $13.50, the Asos bottoms are a great deal.

Before you order Asos bottoms (or any Asos swim!): Pay attention!  They run VERY SMALL.  I am normally a UK 8 or UK 10 in bottoms.  I first tried an 8, and couldn’t get them on.  It was embarrassing.  I promptly returned them, and sized up twice.  The ones I’m wearing in these pictures are a UK 12.  From reviews and experience with their house brand swim tops, they also run very very small.  Size up!!

That’s all for today!  I’ll be back in the next week or so with a very rare find – an Ewa Michalak Gazeta!

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