Triathlon Wetsuit - Fitting Advice

I am entering my first open water swimming event this September, and due to the expected water temperatures it is wetsuit-compulsory. I have ordered one from the internet (I realise I should have gone to a professional shop, but my budget is limited and the only one locally starts well above my price range).

I ordered a unisex XL suit. I am a big girl, especially in the chest area, and the ladies suits offered went up to my weight, but not to my chest size, so I didn’t have much choice.

So the suit has arrived. It fits nicely in most areas, but is too long in the arms and legs (I have been told I can cut this down without causing any problems, is this true?) and is a bit baggy at the very top of my chest - from the top of my boobs to the shoulders. It sits tight to my skin around the arms, legs, neck and torso, but there is definitely room at the top.

Is this going to cause me major problems? I have read that if it is too big water will ‘flow through’ the suit and I will get too cold.

I am not such a wonderful swimmer that I am too concerned about it slowing me down, and if this goes well I will probably save up for a better quality one next season and get that properly fitted.

Does anyone have any experience that can advise me?

Yikes. My advice would have been to go to a shop and try some on and the order the one that fit. You are not going to want to hear this, but if it doesn’t fit right then it’s no good for you.

Did you check? A lot of shops offer rental for first-timers.

I did look into it and find a few places that do hire, but none within convenient distance for trying on. Also all the ones I looked at only offered one unisex model for hire so I would probably have run into the same issue.

I can return the suit so it is not the end of the world if it isn’t any use.

I guess I will just have to accept that I can’t get one on a budget for my body shape.

Any suggestions of brands that go up to bigger sizes for women?

My advice? Send it back. An ill-fitting wetsuit is nothing but a pain in the ass. It will drive you crazy. And the bagginess in the chest area is going to be extremely annoying. Cool water will flow in and the bunched up material will likely bother you while swimming.

Here’s what you do: Go to a good shop and let them fit you into something. If it’s ridiculously expensive then write down the brand/suit model and go home and try to find it cheaper on the internet. I can’t recommend any specific brands, but I do know that you’ve just got to try them on until you find one that feels good. In my case, that wasn’t the most expensive (or the cheapest), but I had to try on 3 or 4 different types until I found the one I liked.

You’ve got until September. You can afford to be patient and make sure you get a properly fitted suit.