this thing's incredible

The $26 Curve-Hugging Bathing Suit That Fits Me Better Than Any Other Swimwear

The author in her Icon Swim monokini. Photo: Courtesy of the author

A few weeks ago, I ordered a $26 bathing suit to be express-delivered to my Miami hotel room — a move both highly economical and frivolous. The shipping fees totaled more than the bathing suit in question. I bought the one-piece based on the recommendation of an Instagram influencer: Jordyn Woods, the former Kardashian insider who’s been developing an empire of her own since her well-documented falling-out with the family. As a recent thirst trap showed, she’s become an ambassador of up-and-coming swimwear brand Icon Swim. Poured into a one-shouldered animal-printed one-piece from the brand, with the leg cut high and a plunging neckline slashed down her chest, the comely Woods sat perched on a windowsill in some far-flung locale. Her curves spilleth over. My interest was piqued, so I clicked on the Icon Swim tag and spiraled down a rabbit hole leading to an online emporium of suits that were meant to go viral.

Skin-baring styles in every color and pattern that are audaciously cut to the hip bone — or beyond. String bikinis that flirt with disaster, held together by nothing more than a hope and a prayer. One-pieces where the entire middle is cut out. A bikini top that is designed to show off one’s under-boob. And all of them — each and every last suit — were $26. Hugging the curves, cinching the waist, and pushing one’s cleavage up and booty out, the suits were extreme in cut and sparing in price, making them all the more accessible. With 705,000 Instagram followers, Icon Swim is making the case that styles that once sat on the fringes of fashion are now going mainstream.

It was a shift I first noticed two summers ago with Bella Hadid, who wore barely-there two-pieces that sat high up on her leg. The already leggy star appeared even longer and curvier, and while we could argue “angles,” it was the suit. Purchased from direct-to-consumer brands like VDM the Label, Dipped in Blue, Are You and I, they were cheap in price but deftly fashioned to create flattering proportions — much more so than the $200-and-up suits marketed toward “fashion girls” like me. Curvier than my peers (and more willing to show that off), I could never really find a suit that was designed to my proportions or made me feel truly sexy, a realization that revealed itself after I finally slipped on Icon Swim’s skimpy bronzed metallic monokini in my Miami hotel room. Immediately the high leg made me feel a foot taller, while my hips and ass practically alchemized to form the “S curve”; fastening an accompanying gold link belt around my waist, I was snatched.

Now, are these suits sustainable? No. I’m scared to know where they are made, quite frankly. Do they require a serious wax? Why, yes, they do. They do, however, make a strong case for accessibility (in more than one sense of the word). When I finally posted my own Icon Swim–branded thirst trap, the comments came flooding in. People were as happily surprised as I was.

A few more styles we like from Icon Swim

Another one-piece with some primary-color detail.

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This Curve-Hugging, Surprisingly Well-Fitting Suit Costs $26