My obsession with bathing suits started a very long time ago. I still remember begging my mom for something new and neon every time we went to Target. Pool parties were better than Christmas, and I used to don a bikini to help Mom and Daddy wash the dishes (true story.) And then I grew boobs. And butt. And self-consciousness. Suddenly, the joy of putting on a bathing suit and eagerly anticipating super soakers, sprinklers, sand castles and snorkeling fins turned into anxiety about love handles, saggy elastic, way too much rear exposure and the horrors of anything that jiggles.
Well that’s bulls**t.
Bathing suits are supposed to be fun, flirty and cute. We wear them when we’re supposed to be having fun, not stressing because we’re not as surgically enhanced as the girl next to us or investing in last minute sarongs. With Spring Break steadfastly approaching, it’s time to check out the best bathing suits out there and re-vamp our ideas about swimsuit shopping.
So grab a trusted and honest friend, remove the necessary body hair and spray tan yourself silly (it seriously helps in dressing room fluorescents) and let’s shop.
Best Budget (And no one will know it!)
Old Navy’s Smocked Paisley Bikini
Remember those days when you wouldn’t be caught dead without your neon Old Navy Fleece jacket and every time you walked into Old Navy you had to buy 5 pairs of flip flops? Remember those really cheery Old navy commercials with everyone dancing? Well Old navy is awesome again (even though I was still shopping there when it wasn’t…those flip flops kick ass!) and all the proof you need is in their swimwear collection. This cobalt blue string bikini looks like you plucked it straight out of a Mediterranean boutique instead of your local Old Navy, and no one will be the wiser that you spent less than 50 bucks on the whole thing. You can shop by pattern, cut or mix and match, and every.single.piece. is under $20.
Best Bust Creators
Victoria’s Secret MiracleBra Swimsuits
Any of the tops offered by the MiracleBra line are bound to enhance whatever you’ve got up top. The suits all come in a ton of different cuts, colors and patterns, so the possibilities are endless when you’re creating your ideal bikini. (Bonus: seriously smaller chance that anyone on the beach will be wearing the same suit as you). Even if you want to be seriously sexy up top, you can keep it conservative on the bottom thanks to VS’s separates. This top is my favorite, mostly because it’s wireless, and if my PC doesn’t have wires, I personally believe my boobs shouldn’t either. Because it’s all cloth, the top is way more comfortable and definitely won’t get bent out of shape after some intense volleyball.
Bikini (F)or (large)Bust!
BECCA’s Expedition Halter
If you are well endowed when it comes to mammary issues, then you know how hard it is to find a decent fitting AND cute swimsuit. Enter BECCA by Rebecca Virtue. In almost every single pattern or style, the brand offers a D and/or DD cup size. Join in now: hallelujah! I love this geometric pattern because it is a) very cool and b) draws the eye in a diagonal direction, therefore (visually) cutting your boob in half (I said visually, ladies.) The cool coral, black and teal enameled brooch in the middle ties the funky pattern perfectly together, and the thick halter straps provide maximum support without underwire. Perfection.
Best One Piece
Venus’s South Beach Monokini
For the ultimate combo of chic and sexy, cut-out one pieces are the way to go. The cut-outs shave inches off of your waist by drawing your eye inward, and I love that the halter top isn’t so skimpy that the fabric will fall out of place if you move. In black, this suit begs you to wear it with heels, a floppy hat and huge sunglasses while you call everyone “dahling,” but all the other colors and patterns are so much fun that you might just want to buy two (and at $34 a pop, why the hell shouldn’t you?).
Best Itty-Bitty Bikini
Victoria’s Secret VerySexy Jeweled Orchid
All yellow polka dots aside, if you’ve been busting your butt at the gym since before SB09 was just a twinkle in your eye, show off your hard work in one of these. The maroon color is gorgeous on just about any skintone and the orchid accents are beautiful. They also allow you to look hot and fashionable on the beach without adding accessories that will probably end up broken, lost, or in the pocket of someone with a metal detector. The tiny triangle top gives you free reign over just how much cleavage you want to show and the low rise/high cut bottoms will leave very little to the imagination. If you’ve got the body to rock this bikini then work it!
Betsey Johnson’s Unforgettable Bikini with Swim Skirt
Not going anywhere for Spring Break? Then reward yourself for not blowing 6 months salary in one week (those margaritas add up!) and splurge on this. When I first saw this suit, my mind went into cuteness overload. Baby yellow? Yes, please. Floral detail on a classically feminine cut? OMG bikini heaven. This design also comes in a triangle or halter top , and tie or Brazilian bottoms (and yes, they all have the adorable rose detailing). Leave it to Betsey Johnson to create a perfect blend of retro glam, soft colors and hardcore sexiness…and turn it into a swimsuit.
Best Body Makeover
Miraclesuit’s Barcelona Bandeau
Ok, so I know the idea of a Miraclesuit sounds like something your Mom bought recently, but trust me when I say it truly is a MIRACLE. The extreme amount of spandex in this suit allows it to suck in, flatten, push up and shape pretty much any area on your body that makes you uncomfortable. The retro-bandeau style reminds me so much of pin-up girl suits, and they make the most of curves instead of trying to squeeze them into an ill-fitting suit.
Best All Around
BECCA by Rebecca Virtue.
Whenever I go to buy a new swimsuit, Becca’s collection is always the first one I check out. Her styles are always fabulous and fun, and there’s a cut for however–ahem—confident I’m feeling about strutting around in glorified underwear. And she never disappoints. A native Californian, Rebecca Virtue knows her beachwear. She believes in working with the natural shape of our bodies to create beautiful swimwear for everyone. All of her suits are designed with pretty detailing, gorgeous colors, cool combinations of fabrics (including soy!) and are meant to fit you flawlessly. And the best part? These suits last. I bought my first Becca suit when I was 15 and still wear it to this day without any saggy fabric or stretched out elastic—definitely worth it. You can check out her whole 2009 collection at her official website.