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“Fuck yes to summer, fuck no to bathing suit shopping” seems to be the recurring thought in my mind as the weather starts getting warmer. The current “cool girl” swim brands charge what seems to be a lot for a tiny strip of fabric that rides up my ass, and that’s simply not reasonable for most people. So, while it’s of course always better to buy from more ethical brands vs. fast fashion, not everyone can afford to buy those pricier pieces—especially when it comes to, as I said, one single strip of fabric. Here’s a list of swimsuits that cost $100 and under from fast fashion brands, more sustainable brands, and everything in between.
If you’re one of those sporty girls that I never related to, this bikini is probs the one for you. Carve Designs makes 100% of their swimsuits from recycled plastic water bottles and was founded by two sisters who, while on a surf trip, realized how hard it was to find board shorts made for women. They decided to make some themselves, and so their brand was born.
Thank you, Summersalt, for creating a one-piece that doesn’t smoosh down my boobs. Not only that, but Summersalt is also committed to sustainability, as well as working to ensure we get the best price possible by removing the middleman. Sign me up.
SXA Swim + Active
This swimsuit looks like it could flatter anyone, which makes sense, since this brand is all about designing with comfort and luxury in mind. We also love this brand because a portion of their profits go to Black Women’s Agenda, an organization devoted to securing and protecting the rights of Black women.
Lively makes bras, undies, loungewear, swimwear, and activewear; aka “Leisurée.” That word is 100% a part of my vocabulary now. Also, love that Lively actually bundles their bikini tops and bottoms *together* to help us save money.
Kitty and Vibe
You might have seen this brand on TikTok because their stuff is so cute and their vibe (no pun intended) is so positive. Kitty and Vibe is the first brand to make bikini bottoms using two butt size metrics, meaning you never have to deal with that dreaded dumpy diaper look or the equally annoying wedgie. (The bikinis do run just over $100, though.) And they make one pieces, too! They offer inclusive sizing, with many of the suits ranging from S-5XL.
Pink Lilly definitely gives off basic betch vibes, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking their bathing suits are super cute and super affordable. Like, I’ve bought two bellinis at brunch in NYC that cost more than one of these things.
If you’re into a sexier look/that single-strip-of-fabric vibe I spoke about earlier, this is the brand for you. Their bathing suits are extremely affordable—like I don’t really want to know how/where they are made—but very trendy and perfect for a thirst trap (even though your ex totally isn’t worth it, sweetie).
I’ve only heard amazing things about Good American swim. They have so many fun different colors and flattering styles, and for some reason, buying from Good American makes me feel better than buying from Skims. Almost like I’m supporting a small business? But not at all.
Alpine Butterfly Swim
Alpine Butterfly Swim is a plus-size luxury swimwear line designed and founded in Venice Beach, California. They have some of the most unique and fun swim styles out there. While they’re definitely on the pricier side, you can always find some good stuff in their sale section, like this Overalls One-Piece.
Abercrombie & Fitch
Full disclosure, I do work for Abercrombie. But I know how much everyone loves their Curve Love denim, so I felt like everyone should know they have Curve Love swim, too. They also have super cute cover up options that may or may not also be in my cart right now.
Andie Swim is all about stylish staples that look and fit great. Their ethos is “comfortable looks good on you,” and I’m never one to say no to a compliment. 😍 But seriously, don’t underestimate how much better a bikini feels if it’s actually comfortable. Thx, Andie.
Faithfull The Brand
This brand is available on Amazon and Shopbop, so you can trust that it’s not going to be child sized when it finally arrives. Right? This one is cute while still being appropriate enough to wear on a family beach day (thank you, high waist), and the top could also pass for a crop top. Multifunctional, am I right?
Amalfi Coast vibes for less than the price of an overweight baggage fee? Sign me up. The print will look so cute in all your summer
thirst traps Instagrams.
Images: Lucas Ottone / stocksy.com; Carve Designs; Summersalt; SXA Swim + Active; Lively, Pink Lilly, IconSwim; Good American; Alpine Butterfly Swim; Abercrombie & Fitch; Andie Swim