This Dallas Native Made a Bikini Designed for Smaller Busts
This article was originally published in DMagazine by Reagan Matthews. Check out the full piece here.
After years of struggling to feel good in the clothes she wore, Hartley Lynn launched Sabal, a women's swimwear line for the "Itty Bitty" committee.
The bright yellow décor of the Lovers Lane La La Land Kind Café perfectly matches Hartley Lynn. She is a woman who defines a sunshine personality, from her blonde hair and sun-kissed skin to her contagious smile. Despite moving to San Diego in 2020, she can’t help but constantly run into friends, especially in her hometown of Dallas.
“How is that swimsuit thing going,” asked an old friend from Highland Park High School. “Good, really good,” Lynn says.
The swimsuit thing is more of a swimsuit revolution. In August 2022, Lynn launched Sabal, a swimsuit line designed specifically for women with smaller busts.
There are few options out there for women with smaller cup sizes when it comes to swimsuits, Lynn says. Most websites suggest choosing ruffles, distracting patterns, or just downsizing altogether. Sabal instead focuses on enhancing what’s already there. The brand’s bikini is designed completely around its silicone insert. Unlike most bikinis that use a foam or fabric cup, Sabal’s inserts are waterproof, to keep the top lightweight; sturdy, to hold the girls in place with some added oomph; and sewn in, so they are not going anywhere.
After many years of being a self-described member of the “Itty-Bitty Titty Committee” and countless efforts and dollars to feel good in the clothes she was wearing, Lynn decided it was time to take charge. “I think my own insecurities were definitely starting to flare up,” she says. “The older I got and still just not finding swimsuits that fit me and flattered me.”
Lynn’s journey began two years ago on a boat in Greece, when her bikini inserts decided to take their own vacation. “I was jumping off a boat in a carefree moment to see my bikini inserts floating away in the most horrifying, mortifying experience,” she says. “My husband was just pointing at the inserts as they’re going on their own adventure in the water.”
A couple of months later, she found herself ordering a Victoria’s Secret Bombshell top for her 30th birthday. She had hoped her chest would have grown in by this age, but she did not feel comfortable in her new bombshell bikini or her body. Lynn says this was her tipping point, but it would be a few more months before her ah-ha moment hit her.
On a sunny Sunday afternoon, Lynn accidentally left her sticky bra on underneath her swimsuit while rushing to the beach. “I was like, ‘wait, this is amazing! Why isn’t there something that fits like my favorite bra in a swimsuit like this?’”
Nine months later, and after lots of back and forth between factories, and working with AA–B-cup models to nail the fit, Lynn finally had the perfect insert. “It was hard to find any factory that wanted to produce this because it wasn’t part of the cookie cutter mold,” she says. Most places will put the insert in last, but Sabal’s entire bikini is designed around the insert. She settled on a woman-owned factory in Los Angeles because, Lynn says, when you’re in the booby business it’s good to have women supporting you, too.
Sabal is currently sold online while Lynn looks for local retailers to partner with. The Ocean Shimmer collection, which is designed to look like the sun rays reflecting off the ocean waves, is planned to drop this spring.
Sabal isn’t about how big you can make your chest look, she says, but about feeling comfortable and confident in the body you have. Lynn loves the happiness and confidence she can bring to her customers. “My friend always says, ‘do good, look good, feel good,’” she says. “I want that to be the mantra when you put on a Sabal bikini. I look good, I feel good, and I want everyone to be happy around me.”