I know that summer is ending, but don’t be sad! The silver lining is that bathing suits often go on sale at the end of season, so you can prepare for a quick winter vacay or next year’s summer months!
If you’ve noticed swimsuit trends online lately, you’ll see that the classic itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini is no longer the desired look for the beach. Now, people are pushing boundaries with cheeky bottoms, plunging necklines, and barely-there styles. They’re beautiful, but hard to find in-store, where you can have the privilege of trying them on before committing. Even Victoria’s Secret Swim (R.I.P.) didn’t offer daring styles like the kind you’ll find online. I began collecting bikinis from different sites, despite the risk of not being able to try them on, and have had both great and awful experiences. Read about them here:
To be perfectly honest, I was slightly hesitant to shop at this site because their Instagram page showcases their swimsuits on very thin models, and seems to only feature pictures from customers branding their ‘kinis who are just as tiny. In the months that I have followed them, I did not see anyone my size (about a US size 6, UK size 4), wearing a suit. I decided to take the plunge anyway, and couldn’t be happier.
Price: A full sized set from this site may cost you an arm and a leg, but for my first purchase from Montce Swim I went for a sale suit in case it didn’t work out. It cost me less than $100CAD, which for a good quality bathing suit I found to be fair. I diligently watched their Instagram page for discount codes, which they give semi-frequently, making it slightly less painful to invest in such a small amount of fabric.
Product: As I mentioned, I was very happy with this brand. The material is soft, and most importantly forgiving . What I mean is, some suits are so stiff that no matter what size you buy or how tiny you are, they still dig in around your hips. This suit sat perfectly on my hips and looked flattering all over. On top of that, you can tell they are made with love. Although I went with plain and simple, the site offers tons of colors, patterns and styles, even in their sale section. The sizes fit true to what you’d expect, although I think it would have been good for me to go one size up in the top, as I’ve got a C-size chest.
Shipping: Purchases over $175USD earn you free shipping, otherwise it costs about $30CAD. While this might seem expensive, the plus side is that my bikini set arrived 3 days after I purchased it.
• Negatives: Besides the expensive prices, I love this brand and the way that I feel in their swimsuits. I can guarantee I’ll be investing in a few of these for next summer’s beach days.
TRIANGL LIMITED BIKINIS
Another site of thin, beautiful models showing off gorgeous bikinis that I couldn’t resist to try. I purchased one of these suits before they became popular in my Instagram community, so I had no idea what to expect with sizes. They seemed a good quality, however, so I thought it was worth a shot!
Price: Unlike Montce Swim, Triangl does not offer a sale section or discounts, so I had to jump right in. They also only offer bikinis in sets, instead of being able to buy a top or bottom individually. I bought the ‘Chloe’ in Miami mint, which goes for about $103CAD. I also bought the ‘Lulu, a string bikini, in royal blue, which is no longer offered on the site but was the same amount. They also offer one standard shipping price of approximately $26CAD. I have found that for the most part, good quality bathing suits go for close to $100CAD these days, and I do find these to be high quality bikinis, but I still felt overall it was pretty pricey.
Product: The quality of these suits are great. Triangl was the first to come out with the neoprene material (the material wetsuits are made of, but less heavy), so they are thick and comfortable. The website says a size L will fit a US size 10, but I would say you’d be safe if you order about 3 sizes bigger than you actually are. I had one of my girlfriends who is half my size try my Chloe suit on, and it didn’t even fit her. These bikinis seem to be made for girls who have less than 10% body fat (the average girl will have about 24% body fat).
Shipping: Shipping is a standard $20USD as I mentioned earlier, and it takes less than two weeks for your package to arrive. I had an issue where they sent me 2 Chloe’s instead of 1 Chloe and 1 Lulu, and despite this not being my mistake, I had to pay for the return shipping of my extra Chloe suit, which cost more than half the price of the actual bikini. It was over one month before I had both of the bikinis I ordered in my hands.
• Negatives: As I mentioned above, if you have a problem with your order, you will be paying out of your own pocket. Also, these suits seem to be fit for 100lb girls (which is far from the average woman), or perhaps children. I have seen several companies make a very good replica of the suits Triangl sells, for less than half the price. I would advise extreme caution when ordering a suit, as I have seen others on my Instagram page wearing suits that make otherwise tiny girls have “love handles”.
*Photo from Triangl official website Triangl Limited
This site mostly sells clothing, but does have a small swim section. I shopped at this site because I had found a specific bikini that I wanted to own.
Price: Although the styles change, their collection usually ranges from about $55CAD to $100CAD. For $55, I would say that I got what I paid for in a swimsuit.
Product: I bought the cutest little bikini from this site (the ‘Ruby’), seeing it only from a photo on Instagram (tsk tsk at my carelessness). When it arrived, the color of the suit was not the same as the photo (it looks pink in the photo, the bikini I got is peach). However, this was not my main concern once I tried the suit on. In the photo, you could see seams in the top that went up the center of each breast, but when tried on, the seams actually just look like your nipples are popping out and your chest is saggy. I assumed that this was not the way the bikini was supposed to fit as it looked awful, so I emailed the company and even sent a photo of the way it looked, only to get rejected of any help or possibility of exchange (the swimsuits are final sale even if the sanitary plastic is still on). The material seems cheap and not well-made.
Shipping: The site requests you wait 3-5 business days first for processing before it will be marked as shipped. After shipping, the range of shipping times is vast: the more you are willing to pay, the quicker your package will come, but still the soonest it will arrive is in 5-7 business days, usually arriving on the 7th day after 5 days of processing. Shipping costs range from $8-$70USD, depending on speed and location, and I was charged duty/customs at the door. If you have a problem, emails are returned days after you send them.
• Negatives: To put it simply: cheap material, poor customer service, long wait for little reward!
*Photo taken from Lilac Shade official site Lilac Shade
Another site that isn’t specific to swimsuits, I was attracted to their company because of the “50% off your first purchase” offer. Tobi sells products from other brands.
Price: Ok, these prices are outrageous, even with the 50% off. Their bikinis on average are over $200CAD. I bought mine on sale, otherwise I probably would have tried to find a cheaper version elsewhere online (my specialty). For the quality I received, I would consider this suit overpriced, although it was very similar to what the brand itself was charging on their own page.
Product: Depending on which label you buy from, maybe the quality will differ, but the bikini set I got was made from very thin material. The brand was called Mandalay. Tobi provides a size guide which is pretty accurate for their actual clothing but for the swimsuits they carry, there was disconnect between the sizes. The bikini itself was so tiny, but because of the cheaper quality of material, it stretched a bit to fit quite well. I do love this bikini and the way it fits after wearing it a few times, I just think I paid a bit too much for it (or a lot too much LOL).
Shipping: Tobi offers free shipping on orders over $130.57CAD, which is a number easy to reach if you’re purchasing a swimsuit. Otherwise, it costs $13.06, or if you’d like your package in a more reasonable time (less than 4 weeks), it will cost you an extra $40. I went with free standard shipping and of course, received my package on the tail end of the four weeks.
•Negatives: Although the wait time can often be worth it if it means free shipping, Tobi purchases will hit you in the gut just one more time at the door, where extra duty/customs charges greet you upon arrival. It really counteracts the 50% off!
I thought it would be nice to save the best for last. I love buying American Apparel swimwear for several reasons. They offer different styles, their sizes are actually quite accurate, and you can go to one of their many stores to try on their products before you shop at their better-stocked online site.
Price: Although American Apparel is often known to be overpriced, they often (if not always) have sales on swimsuits. Even without sales, their suits are less expensive than the sites listed above. I have bought several bathing suits from this company, and have never paid more than $100CAD for each one. Some, I paid as low as $30 for the set.
Product: American Apparel has simple, well made styles. All of the swimsuits I have from this company are good quality and durable. In each style, they offer multiple colors and sizes. I like that they offer one pieces, high waisted bottoms, and tops with good coverage but no padding (for a girl with a decent sized chest, padding can make bikinis look trashy because of the added push-up). I found that some of the bottoms were quite high-cut, which can appear unflattering on curvy girls like me, but they fit true to size.
Shipping: Orders over $60CAD earn you free shipping, otherwise it is a mere $8 charge. There are no secret charges at the door, as you can shop from the site of your home country and have your items shipped from the same. Shipping takes 3-6 business days, but most often comes within the first 3 estimated days.
• Negatives: As of yet, I have not had a negative experience when buying swimsuits from AA. If I do in the future, I will be sure to make note of it.
Hopefully this guideline will provide some help when exploring the world of online swim. I definitely think that taking the risk of first time-buying is worth the possibility of gaining a beautiful bikini! Please comment below if you have any sites you would recommend or experiences with the same.
Good luck, and “may the odds be ever in your favour”.