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I hate buying swimwear as much as I hate cricket season on the TV – when I think about it, I shudder with dread.
Until I randomly stumbled across online-only beachwear brand Cupshe while idly browsing Instagram one evening. And for the first time in my life, shopping for swimwear seemed fun.
Not only does Cupshe cater for all shapes and sizes, big busts and small, but it also has the biggest variety of swimwear styles I’ve ever seen. Plus, the styles are actually affordable – loads are under £30.
Word of warning: once you go down a Cupshe ‘scroll hole’ there’s so much to look at you won’t emerge for hours.
After much fun browsing and reading of customer reviews, I’ve ended up the proud owner of three statement swimsuits I’ll keep for years: a bright one-shouldered number; a classic wrap style and a frilled, tie-waist look.
How it works
Cupshe is an online-only beachwear brand so, phew, you can try everything on in the comfort of your own bedroom with no freaking out about what you look like under the harsh glare of fluorescent changing-room lights.
The company was started in 2015 by former Alibaba CEO David Wei and it ships all over the world. It offers everything from affordable swimwear to cover-ups, accessories and dresses.
If you spend over £49 you get free shipping and if you sign up to their Sunchaser loyalty club, which is free, you earn 300 points (one point = 1p) simply for joining – plus you get 500 points on your birthday.
Sun-chasers also get early sale access, special members-only discounts, and five points per £1 spent, to name a few other incentives.
It is also doing its best to up its eco creds too. The brand is known for its lovely prints and it does that via digital printing processes – which they claim saves over 10.5 billion gallons of water a year, worldwide.
Plus it states that its factories are regularly audited to ensure high standards and that the working processes are safe, humane, and clean, as well as following environmentally-conscious practices. (All their factories are BSCI compliant – The Business Social Compliance Initiative is an industry-driven movement that aims to monitor and assess workplace standards across the global supply chain.)
But there are a few things to watch out for when buying from Cupshe. Although you can return things for free within 30 days, that does not apply to everything. You cannot return or exchange any items with prices ending in .99 or .95 – they’re considered flash/final/special sale items. So always read the return policy in detail before you buy anything on the site.
What to expect
It took over a week for my swimsuits to arrive – so if you need your swimwear for a forthcoming holiday, make sure you order them in plenty of time.
Each was packed in a stylishly designed, resealable plastic bag. And although I’m not convinced they needed to use that much plastic, I can’t deny the bags will be super useful for keeping my beauty products in on holiday, and also for my worn underwear and any damp swimsuits that haven’t had a chance to dry before flying home.
The first swimsuit I opened was the bright orange Colorblock One Shoulder Lace Up Once Piece Swimsuit which was a mere £18. It has removable pads which are a godsend, especially if you have a small B-cup bust like me - and are prone to what I call ‘nipples erectus’ if the water’s a bit chilly or there’s a slight breeze in the air.
I love the colour of this swimsuit, and the white lace-up detail which can be tied a bit tighter for modesty, or pulled apart a little (which I opted for) for slightly more cleavage-baring. Plus, the colour and the lace-up detail make it completely different to any swimsuit I’ve ever owned – or in fact seen on the beach.
Next was a classic black, white and snakeskin wrap style one piece – something I got because I wanted the full coverage on the back for super hot days on holiday (FYI: I'm super fair skinned so never tan, I just burn). It’s no longer available on the site, but here’s a similar style for £21.99
I purchased this Kendra Ruffle swimsuit, £21.99 because of its tie waist - I’m pear-shaped so it'll enhance the smallest part of my body.
Then there’s the ruffle near the bust (which will draw attention upwards away from my thighs which I’m self-conscious about). And I’m hoping the lovely, green colour will make my green eyes stand out too – giving people another reason to look away from my lower region.
Word of warning: Some Cupshe swimwear can be quite high cut on the bottom. And even though it said it was ‘middle cut’ on the description, this green style does show more of my behind than I’d like. But I love the style so much, I’ve decided to suck it up.
While the swimwear is top-notch, I’m not convinced about the clothing. I purchased a floaty white dress, and while the style is gorgeous and flattering, the fabric is a less-than-nice polyester that I’m embarrassed to wear, Plus I’m scared it’d make me too flammable to leave the house.
My verdict: Cupshe gets the green light for swimwear, but err on the side of caution with anything else. And let's hope it reduces its plastic packaging sooner rather than later.
Our top picks from the Cupshe summer sale
Classic High Waist Bikini Set in Black | £24 (was £30) at Cupshe
Sea to Shining Sea Lace Up Grommet Halter One Piece Swimsuit | £28 (was £36) at Cupshe
Draw String Keyhole Front One Piece Swimsuit | £28 (was £36) at Cupshe
Summer Dreaming Halter Underwire Top & Mid Rise Bikini Set | £24 (was £30) at Cupshe
Road Trip Floral Print Twisted Cutout One Piece Swimsuit | £28 (was £36) at Cupshe
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