Where my parents are from, people barely wear cute swimsuits. They barely wear swimsuits at all. In Spain, a lot of women wear only bikini bottoms. When we were growing up, the topless Spanish women of Cádiz inspired my sister to hide her bikini top in every corner of my grandma’s apartment. Por qué? she’d scream. Why did she have to wear one when no one else did? (She had a point.) And while the topless women of the beaches of Cádiz didn’t necessarily make me want to burn my bra, they did make me feel dumb about matching my bikini top to my bikini bottom to my sarong.
The older I get, the more I want to be as free as a topless woman on a beach, but the more I keep on buying bathing suits, the more difficult it is to be a topless woman on a beach. But! Should I be buying a practical swimsuit that’s easy to undo in the back so I can get an even tan when I flip over? Probably. Should I want a swimsuit with 10 random cutouts that will give me a tan like the world has never seen before? Absolutely not! And yet there are about 26 swimsuits with incredibly extra sleeves and ruffles that seem impossible to move around in, made of materials like denim with very bizarre cutouts that I have 170 questions about but still really want anyway.
If anything, I’ve convinced myself that over-the-top swimsuits (especially the 26 below) can double as amazing crop tops and bodysuits for when I’m not on vacation. Maybe one summer I’ll learn to be more chill and throw my bikini top over my shoulder in defiance. But this summer I want to do the most at the beach, unfortunate tan lines, sunscreen-stained swimsuits and all.
From extra-ruffled statement-sleeve two-pieces to bikinis that come with cardigans to a knotted denim one-piece, the following 26 cute swimsuits are definitely extra as hell but can easily double as a summer wardrobe staple. Shop them all below.
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