The Worst Bathing Suits Ever (and the Alternatives)

worst bathing suits

worst bathing suits

The way I see it, there are two types of bad. There is shockingly bad. And there is ho-hum bad. And I’ll take shocking over boring any day.

A look that is predictable and “too safe” instantly zaps your style, because it sucks the energy and personality out of any look.  And when it comes to a bathing suit, that rare item of clothing that’s solely designed for fun, boring is even more deadly. And that’s what inspired this post.

Some of these suits are boring. Some are actively awful. And some are merely well-intentioned misses. None of them deserve a place in your closet. Here, the worst bathing suits ever, and some pretty, simple alternatives.

The Worst: A Boring Maillot

Stylish updated details separate a boring suit from a chic one. The square neckline and conservative style make this suit frumpy. The only thing that saves it is the color.


The Alternative: A Pretty Maillot

The vintage floral and flattering details on this suit take it to the next level without compromising comfort and fit.

Seafolly Vintage Vacation One Piece, $181.95, Amazon

Seafolly Vintage Vacation One Piece, $181.95, Amazon

 The Worst: The Too-Tame Tankini

A tankini is a suit that can’t make up its mind. There is only one real reason to wear one, and that is fit. If you have a long torso, or wear a different size on the top than you do on the bottom, then go for it. Look for a sleek style that resembles a one piece, or an obvious two piece. Anything in between is instantly aging. The  print, ruffles and shape on the style below make it all wrong.


The Alternative: A Fitted Tankini

This sleek, fitted style is essentially a better-fitting option to a one piece. Flowy is death on a swimsuit, particularly a tankini. No matter your size or shape, a fitted suit will always look better.


Vitamin A tankini, $132, Amazon

The Worst: Retro High Waisted Briefs

I adore all things retro. Except bathing suits. As cute as they look on pinups and in photo shoots, they are not for real life. The only people who look good in high waisted briefs are those who don’t need them: the slim, the trim and the tall. And even they look better in something sleeker. (Good rule of thumb: If a suit doesn’t flatter a model, it won’t be flattering in real life, either).



The Alternative: A Sleek Monokini

I hesitate to suggest monokinis, because some of them are skimpy and not at all chic. But a sharp, sophisticated style is infinitely more flattering than a high-waisted brief, and offers just the right amount of coverage.

Zeagoo bandage tankini, $12.99, Amazon

Zeagoo bandage tankini, $12.99, Amazon

 The Worst: Vintage and Costume-y

The trend towards retro bathing suits can seem innocent and endearing, until you see someone completely embrace another era. It looks like a costume. Worse, these styles are generally unflattering on most body types. Unless you’re really young and really fit, avoid them.


 The Alternative: Vintage-Inspired and Chic

A retro-inspired silhouette in a bold, updated print looks fresh and pretty, not dated.

Seafolly field trip maillot, $158, Anthropologie

Seafolly field trip maillot, $158, Anthropologie

 Worst: The Swimdress

Want to look 20 years older? Slip into a sassy little swimdress. Bonus? It adds pounds too.


The Alternative: Ruched Skirted Bottoms

A bathing suit bottom should look like a bathing suit bottom. A little ruching or ruffling for flattery and coverage is fine, but (almost) anything that dips lower than a bathing suit bottom in the back is instantly aging.

Gottex ruched skirted bottom, $58.50, Amazon

Gottex ruched skirted bottom, $58.50, Amazon

A good rule of thumb? More fabric does not equal more flattering, and modesty doesn’t have to come at the expense of style and flattery.

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