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- Most swimwear companies use fit models to design and tailor their bathing suits, but Helen Jon fits all of its styles on their employees who provide feedback to get a supportive fit that works for more women.
- Their suits aren’t particularly cheap, but they’re not outrageous, either — most one-pieces retail for around $140 to $165.
- Five women from the Insider Picks team tried bathing suits from Helen Jon and found that they fit exceptionally well and offered great support and coverage (plus, they’re cute!).
It’s happened to nearly all of us; we await with excitement the arrival of a newly ordered swimsuit, only to try it on and realize “this was definitely not designed with my body type in mind.” That’s because, in the most literal sense, it likely wasn’t.
Most swimsuit companies use what are called “fit models” to measure and tailor the way their suits lay on the body. A fit model generally has the perfect proportions for a given size, is slightly taller than most women, has a cup size that errs on the smaller side, and doesn’t have any particular quirks about her shape like most of us do. She offers feedback to brands about what adjustments need to be made to the fit. Swimsuits are literally made to fit her body, but not so much ours.
It’s a strange concept. Don’t brands want more women to feel comfortable in their clothes? Wouldn’t they seek out the opportunity to design swimwear that fit more people? Between fashion and undergarments, it seems that concept has just evaded most designers and manufacturers.
Which is exactly why we need more brands like Helen Jon.
If you’ve never heard the name, you wouldn’t be alone. When I first received their pitch, I wasn’t familiar either. Sure, I’d probably seen the brand’s suits while scrolling through Nordstrom, but I never knew what made it special until they reached out to tell me.
It says a lot about the industry that I was honestly amazed to hear that Helen Jon actually measures the fit of its suits on the employees that work there. “We are fitting women’s swimwear on real figures, not models. If a suit is (or is not) sitting properly on our bodies, we know what to add, adjust, or revamp.”
That’s not to say that fit models and the women who are proportioned similarly don’t have “real” figures — they are still human women, after all — but it is to say that the company clearly understands how using those bodies exclusively to fit their suits may not always be the best approach. So they came up with a different one, and one that seems to really work.
I put the ladies of the Insider Picks team to work by asking them to each try on and go swimming in a different suit from Helen Jon (it’s a hard job, I know!). All five of us have different body shapes and very different considerations in terms of fit, but each of us has a high standard for what makes something truly great.
Spoiler alert: We loved them. All of us agreed that Helen Jon’s suits are stylish, relatively affordable, universally flattering, and exceptionally comfortable. You can read our personal reviews below, but if you’re ready to start shopping for a trusty suit that you can wear for everything from lounging around by the pool to snorkeling in the ocean, we recommend Helen Jon hands down.
Shop all Helen Jon suits here>>
Read on to see what we each thought about our Helen Jon bathing suits:
Sally Kaplan, Insider Picks editor: High-Neck One-Piece
High-Neck One-Piece, $112 [originally $160]
I generally have a really hard time with swimsuits. Aesthetically, I’m drawn to the one-piece styles that have very little support, like low scoop-backs or super low-cut fronts. Not great for someone with a DD chest, to be honest. I was attracted to this style because it was just sexy enough while still promising a good amount of support due to the seam under the bust.
I got the “fatigue” green color for something different since I usually opt for black. Wearing it on the beach, I felt covered and secure, but not at all suffocated or overly conservative. When I got home, I actually lounged around in it for a few more hours because it was just that comfortable! I would literally never do this with any other bathing suit I own.
The one thing I would have appreciated was the option to buy petite sizes because the torso was a tiny bit long for me (I’m just over five feet tall), but that definitely wasn’t a deal-breaker given how well everything else about the suit fit.
Mara Leighton, Insider Picks editor: Lace-Back Bralette top, Reversible Tunnel Hipster bottom
Lace-Back Bralette, $109
Reversible Tunnel Hipster, $64.40 [originally $92]
When I look for swimsuits, I look for support that doesn’t come in something that looks like a waterproof balconette bra; it helps maintain the illusion that swimwear is different from underwear, and — most importantly — it impedes my movements less.
I picked the Lace-Back Bralette in the “indochine” print and Reversible Tunnel Hipster with braids in the “fatigue” green color. While not all the prints fit my aesthetic, I did like the indochine a lot. The real standout for Helen Jon, though, is how well the suit ticked off my concerns. It managed to feel sporty (i.e. you can climb around in it at the cabin), and it was supportive without adding bulk or staying lodged in place (i.e. it moves with you).
All in all, I really liked Helen Jon. The style I tried was comfortable, cute, and supportive without being bulky or restrictive — something I actively search for and rarely find to my satisfaction. The “laced” detailing on the back added just enough personalization and support, and I like that the bottoms will see many uses thanks to being reversible, even if I do wish there were more color options.
Malarie Gokey, Insider Picks guides editor: D/DD Cup Twist Underwire top, Slimmer Hipster bottom
D/DD Cup Twist Underwire top, $114
Slimmer Hipster bottom, $72
Buying swimsuits online is fraught with peril for any woman, but if you have a large cup size like I do, it’s even harder. Helen John’s swimwear collection made it super easy for me to choose a swimsuit that would fit because there are tops specifically designed for D/DD women like me.
The D/DD cup twist underwire bra bikini top fits me perfectly, offers excellent support, and looks exactly like a normal bra under clothing when you’re en route to the beach. The Slimmer hipster bottom I chose also fit perfectly and was comfortable. I swam in the Atlantic Ocean and ran around on the beach in this swimsuit without any problems. Plus, the suit dried fairly quickly afterward.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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