Swimsuit season 2011: Your guide to the most important summer search

Sarah Rosenberg

It’s that time ladies—summer is almost here, and the beach is calling. Aren’t you excited to lay out on a boat, swim in a pool and get rid of the unsightly pasty skin that’s been hiding under your sweaters? I know I am, and I need a tan just as much as the next person. So, yes, swimsuit season is upon us.

It’s exciting, of course, to shop for cute bikinis and tankinis in your mall, but also scary, considering the fact that we’ve all been ordering Domino’s on Saturday nights and drinking one too many iced teas from the cafeteria. Oh, and there’s always the ice cream freezer in the Rat to worry about. But, we’re all in the same boat, so don’t let the upcoming task of swimsuit shopping discourage you.

I’ve made it a point to not spend too much money on swimsuits, so I usually buy one durable bikini that costs me a chunk of change, but lasts me years. This usually means shopping in a department store for brands like Calvin Klein or DKNY. This is a smart thing to do—so you always have a reliable suit on hand while having cute, yet cheaper, options as well.

With that said, the first place to shop for a semi-affordable bikini is American Eagle. I’ve sort of blocked this store out of my mind only because I overshopped in this place throughout high school. But, their bikinis are refreshing. American Eagle is all about the bandeau top, selling it as if it really is going out of style. For $24.50 apiece (top and bottom), these ruffled and polka-dotted swimsuits can be yours. I really love their multi-colored floral option, too.

Shopping at Victoria’s Secret for a bikini is almost a given, and I absolutely love their mix and match option on the website. If you want to find bikinis with crazy prints, sequins, beads, gems, and embellishments, then Victoria’s Secret is your place. Considering what is worn at the Victoria’s Secret fashion shows, these crazy options should come as no surprise. It’s funny to think about wearing a sequined bikini just to sweat in the sun and swim. But, it’s all in the name of fashion, even for a lazy day at the beach.

Lastly, for the thrifty summer shopper, this next store should be obvious. If you have that core bikini for reliability, go to Forever 21 for variety. Bikini tops cost $10.80 apiece, the bottoms cost $9.80 each, and the one-piece suits cost approximately $20. Prices like that are so godly you might as well buy three suits and call it a day. Of course, you don’t want to be wasteful, but buying suits with awesome sailor stripes, floral prints, polka dots and neon colors for a steal makes going to the beach more fun.

If you’re starting to freak out just thinking about bikinis, relax, because it’s still only April. You have plenty of time to save your money and get into shape, if that’s what you think you need to do. Just try to go into shopping for a new swimsuit with a positive mindset—if you don’t, swimsuit shopping will become the most miserable task possible.