OK, fine. It’s not officially summer yet, but judging by the fact that I’m already sporting a sweatstache and have the A/C in my apartment on full blast, it’s as good a time as any to really start talking about swimwear. Now, before you look down at your pale legs and begin weeping uncontrollably, rest assured that it’s just a matter of time before you’re sporting a gorgeous glow for all to see— which, of course, means the reappearance of those inevitable tan lines. Here’s the deal, though: there are a LOT of cute swimsuits out there, and these days designers aren’t afraid to get a little crazy with cut-outs, straps, buckles, holes, laser-cutting, basically anything. This means after a day at the beach, you run the risk of going home with some unfortunate leopard-spotted skin. In lieu of that, I rounded up the cutest swimsuits that’ll leave you with some seriously questionable tan lines—consider this post part PSA/part swimsuit market for badass beach babes. I mean, I can say with utter confidence that if you turned up to a pool party in any one of these suits, you’d certainly be making a statement.
OBSCENELY STRAPPY ONE-PIECES
Photo: Nasty Gal/Urban Outfitters
It seems the key to the worst tan lines begins with one-pieces. Chromat designed a seriously strap-happy, metal-inspired number that, yes, features a pentagram on the chest. Just the THOUGHT of derobing in this thing while it’s wet feels like the work of the devil; but then again, you did buy a swimsuit with a pentagram on it. Beach Riot also makes a killer swimsuit that, from the front, looks like any ol’ one-piece with angry black panthers. Tut from the back, this little number also displays some seriously intricate latticework. I mean, a suit this cool makes those weird tan lines totally worth it.
Photo: ASOS/Urban Outfitters
If you’re only willing to go half the distance, I have some cut-out bottoms that will surely leave an impression. I’m pretty obsessed with this two-piece set from ASOS that features studs along the top AND bottom. Minimale Animale created a sporty mesh cut-out suit that—SURPRISE—is actually a one piece! Seriously, though, peep the handiwork on the back of this bad boy.
Photo: Urban Outfitters
A halter top swimsuit can be a hard sell in itself because, well, no one wants a strappy line around their neck. These two suits took that to the next level, though, by adding a serious amount of cut-outs. This 6 Shore Road number is actually two pieces that includes—wait for it—a set of suspenders. YUP. It’s a bandeau top and high-waisted bottoms with a removable strap if you’re, you know, feelin’ extremely fearless. 6 Shore Road also made this super-sleek suit that is actually a one-piece—even though it doesn’t look that way from the back.
CUTE CAGED TWO-PIECES
Photo: ASOS/Nasty Gal
If there’s one trend I’m obsessed with, it’s caged ANYTHING. I’ve already swiped up a fair number of caged shoes and tops, but I NEED to get in on this caged swimsuit business ASAP. Obviously it’ll leave you with some pretty, erm, interesting tan lines, but I’m willing to look past it for the sheer cuteness of it all. First up, an all black set by One Teaspoon that features extra straps above AND below the bust, plus detailing along the bottom straps. ASOS makes a more colorful version of this look in a super cool black and neon leaf print. Get ittt.
Photo: Nasty Gal/Urban Outfitters
Not all crazy tan lines come from wayward straps—we found some one-pieces that have straight-up holes in the middle of the suits. Lolli Swim created a super cool tie-dye swimsuit with heart cut-outs along the side, while Lisa Maree took a snakeskin suit to the next level by adding laser-cut detailing along the front.