As summer comes to a close and we say goodbye to the beaches, cookouts, and the long days, here’s a little reminder of all the crazy stuff that can be found at the beach. We may not see beaches and bikinis for another long nine months, but when it comes to swimwear, sometimes that’s ok because sometimes, swimwear can be just plain weird. Oftentimes, weird people at the beach can be found in your own backyard, at your local beach, lake, or pool. But as you can imagine, the weirdness only grows the more places you look. And this world has some pretty strange beach trends going on, especially when it comes to bikini styles.
There are plenty of ways for people to make themselves a target of ridicule at the beach, especially considering that while wearing a bikini, you’re opening yourself up to even more judgment than usual because you’re wearing so much less. But some people add an unnecessary target on their backs when they choose ridiculous swimwear. And foreign countries with their own ideas of attractiveness, skin protection, and trying to be different take the weirdness to a whole new level entirely.
Take a trip around the globe with me, from Brazil to South Korea to Australia to France and many places in between. You’ll see some very strange bikini trends, some that have taken off and others that have not (for good reason). Here are 15 of the world’s strangest bikini styles, near and far.
14. Ugly Sweater Bikinis, Australia
If anyone knows how to hang out at the beach, it’s the Aussies. The country of Australia is also its own continent and is an island. Most of the population of Australia lives on the coasts and are near the ocean. They’ve come up with the Ugly Sweater “rashie,” which is their word for a protective swim shirt. Because why not? When your country is always warm, you have to get in the holiday spirit somehow. So, the Australian swimwear and activewear manufacturer Kozii invented this Ugly Xmas Rashie, which is SPF50 and very useful for the holidays. They wanted to start this tradition to help people because two out of three people in Australia are affected by cancer by the age of 70, and a large number of those people suffer from skin cancer specifically. Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said, “The Ugly Christmas Rashie is unique to Australia. It’s our answer to the Northern Hemisphere’s Ugly Christmas sweater, and we’re hoping to see the beaches full of them this Christmas.”
13. Burkini, Islamic Countries
The burkini was originally created in Australia for women of the Muslim faith who would like to have a more modest option than traditional swimwear at the beach. It’s a combination of the words “burqa” and “bikini,” and they flow quite nicely together. The swimming suit covers the entire body except for the face, hands, and feet. Other full-body swimsuits have been designed around the world as well, and instead of having the goal of modesty, aim at protecting women from the harmful rays of the sun. The creator of the burkini, Aheda Zanetti, said, “We’ve sold to Jews, Hindus, Christians, Mormons, women with body issues. We’ve had many men asking for them, too.” Even Lindsay Lohan was spotted wearing one in Thailand! But not everywhere is burkini-friendly; in France and some places in Morocco, they’ve been banned for being possibly linked to Islamic extremism and for “hygiene reasons.”
12. Dissolvable Bikini, Germany
Someone actually came up with a bikini that dissolves in water! The point of such a thing may be questionable (unless you’re only on the beach to sunbathe, of course), but actually, the “Get Naked Bikini” was designed as a prank. A German company invented this black bikini that looks like any other normal, plain black bikini that we’ve all seen a million times before. But once the unsuspecting girl wearing it gets into the water, it disappears! It only takes a few seconds of being submerged for the material to completely dissolve into nothing, leaving whoever’s wearing it naked and embarrassed. It was marketed as the ultimate form of revenge for guys who were recently dumped. So, girls, if you have a salty ex that tries to buy you a black bikini, beware!
11. The Facekini, China
Personally, this style reminds me more of a mask a serial killer would wear than any kind of bikini, but when in Rome, right? If you’re swimming on the beaches of China, you’d better get used to seeing a whole lot of these “facekinis.” A facekini is exactly what it sounds like: a bikini for your face. And actually, it does serve a good purpose: skin protection. In many Asian countries, women prefer very fair skin, and they use things like whitening creams — and now facekinis — to keep their facial skin nice and light. A beach full of colorful but terrifying facekinis is not uncommon in China, so be prepared if you’re going for a dip in Yalong Bay or Wuzhizhou Island. However, the facekini has spread to Australia as well, and who knows where it’ll go from there? It may just become the next big thing worldwide — creepy!
10. The Fatkini, Anywhere There Are Plus-Sized Women
So basically, in every country in the world, there are fatkinis. There has always been swimwear for larger ladies, of course, but in 2013, the “bikini revolution for all sizes” happened when the two-piece for full figures came out. Ranging in size from 10-24, the fatkini was partially the creation of plus-sized blogger Gabi Gregg, who said, “I really wanted to design bikinis that were stylish, young, and fresh. I think a lot of the swimwear on the market right now for plus sizes is just kind of frumpy and matronly, and a lot of it is designed to cover us up.” Gregg, who is from Chicago, created his design in America, but since a fatkini is technically any plus-sized two-piece swimsuit, they may also be available in other countries. The majority of American women are a size 14 or above, and so it seems like, for the most part, the fatkini will be prevalent in the States more than anywhere else.
9. The Mankini, Europe
Also called a sling swimsuit, the mankini is a one-piece swimsuit that’s the shape of a Y. It goes by many names, such as the “suspender bikini,” “suspender thong,” “slingshot swimsuit,” and “slingshot.” The mankini was made very famous by Sacha Baron Cohen in the movie Borat. Mankinis first emerged in the early 1990s and, today, are mostly popular on the beaches of Europe, such as St. Tropez, Mykonos, and Ibiza. Borat costume designer Jason Alper had a lot to do with the mankini as well. He explained, “The template of the mankini was based on an eastern European weightlifter’s leotard combined with a high-cut men’s thong. I found some very old bolts of neon green spandex that gave an added vintage dimension to the costume, too…But the mankini was designed whilst I was employed on the Borat movie, so, needless to say, I don’t make a single penny from all of the mankinis that continue to sell around the world.”
8. Chastity Belt Bikini, Holland
Yes, this is, apparently, a thing. You would think someone requiring a chastity belt would not be wearing a bikini in the first place, but really, the majority of the women who wear them are doing so for BDSM reasons. There are a surprising number of chastity belt bikinis out there, and a huge number of photos of them as well. Many of them are models for a website called “Chastity Babes,” a site that started out as a member site for fans of female chastity. Now, they offer deals to female chastity enthusiasts. They sell a variety of actual chastity belts (including the bikini ones) and provide photos to those who want to peruse their website. They also have the girls do “challenges,” such as the handcuff challenge, heavy-belt challenge, and all sorts of others. They’re based in Holland.
7. Bikini Airlines, Vietnam
This “style” of bikini is actually quite normal. It kind of reminds us of McDonald’s with all that bright red and yellow, but as far as a traditional bikini goes, they’re pretty standard. What makes this interesting, though, is the fact that these are the bikinis worn by the flight attendants on the world’s only bikini airline; yes, that’s something that actually exists, believe it or not. Stewardesses have always been known to be easy on the eyes, especially on airlines like Emirates, which has a rigorous screening process and then very high requirements for looks and the maintenance of those looks of their flight attendants. VietJet has some pretty hot employees as well, and they wear bikinis to work! The airline started in 2011 and now serves 23 domestic and 10 international destinations, with a fleet of 38 planes. So, it’s not so much that the bikinis themselves are weird but that the way they’re used kind of is.
6. Bikinis in Brazil… If You Can Call Them Bikinis
Latina women are known for being super sexy. This is true in all, if not most, of the Latin countries, including the largest one, Brazil. Brazilian women are some of the hottest women around… and they know it. American women may not dress demurely by any means, but the Latin culture is much more open-minded and passionate than many others, and the women love to show off their curves in some very skimpy swimwear. The less, the better. Especially popular is the string bikini, which shows off their butts and leaves little to the imagination. The Brazilian bikini, as it is known, is triangular in the front and back, but the emphasis is definitely on the back. There might as well not be anything there, at all. It’s basically like a thong. Hey, if ya got it, flaunt it!
5. Lettuce Bikini, USA
Admittedly, we don’t see this bikini being worn on the beaches of America, but the American animal rights group PETA designed this edible swimwear for vegetarians. This bikini was part of PETA’s Lettuce Lady Campaign, and although it’s quite strange, there’s a certain “Adam and Eve” quality appeal to it, the all-natural look, so to speak. The lettuce look has definitely not caught on in the United States or anywhere else. Other countries that have promoted campaigns using lettuce bikinis include Romania, The Philippines, Cuba, and Germany, among others. And several stars have worn it, too, to encourage others to go vegetarian. Courtney Stodden, as well as several Playboy models, all dressed in the creation to help out PETA.
4. UV-Detecting Bikinis, France
Perhaps, if you want skin protection but don’t want to sport a burkini or a facekini, the UV-detecting bikini is for you. There are several companies that make this type of bikini, and the product tells you where the sun is at on the UV scale from zero to 20. Small radiation-detecting beads change color depending on the intensity of the radiation. This Smart Bikini sends an alert to your phone when it’s time to lather up with more sunscreen, which can be easy to forget when you’re having a blast in the water or have fallen asleep while sunbathing. One French company, called “Spinali Designs,” even designs towels that can do the same, in case wearing the bikini isn’t your thing. However, they have a range of bikini colors and styles to choose from. There’s even a children’s version in development, which comes complete with a GPS alert in case they wander off on the beach.
3. The All-Natural Mankini, Drunk People Everywhere
We’ve already talked about the mankini made famous by Borat, but this all-natural version of the mankini is even better. Spring breakers, bachelor party attendants, and drunk people everywhere have tried this trend, although we cannot say why. There seems to be no good reason for it other than taking silly photos and posting them to social media, which is as good a reason as any nowadays. Cool young dudes, middle-aged men, and even senior citizens began shaving their chest hair to look like a bikini top a few years back, and to be honest, it is pretty hilarious. It’s unclear how the trend started, but it became such a cool thing to do that it was even trending as #ChestHairBikini on Twitter. Then they even came out with a women’s version of this, which is a skin-colored one-piece that looks like a hairy man’s torso. Oh, the madness!
2. LED Bikini, South Korea
These days, you can turn anything into anything else, meaning you can even turn a bikini into a cool light show. Plenty of people have done it! LED, which is short for “light-emitting diode,” was first created in the 1920s by a Russian man named Oleg Vladimirovich, and since then, it’s really taken off. I’ll bet good ol’ Oleg would be shocked to see just how far his creation has come… meaning, to the bodies of beautiful women on beaches everywhere. Now popular in many design trends, the LED bikini can be found in numerous styles from tons of sellers, mostly online. But people seem to be torn over whether it’s sexy (these bikinis are rather risqué) or just plain weird. I vote for weird because the only cool way I could see it being used is at night on a beach, but even then… why? I’m guessing that it’s for attention or, for a select few, performances. For example, one company in South Korea sells these LED bikinis with the sole purpose of providing them to entertainers in night shows.
1. Solar-Powered Bikini, New York
While many women around the world have the goal of sex appeal in mind when choosing a bikini, just as many (if not more) aim to cover up as much as they can while wearing a swimsuit. Others aim for practicality. If that’s you, you should look into this solar-powered bikini from New York designer Andrew Schneider. This creation is capable of charging a smartphone, as each bikini has 40 thin, flexible photovoltaic strips connected by conductive thread, which ends at a USB port. It’s ok to go swimming in the bikini, although it’s not recommended that the wearer charge anything while in the water. This environmentally friendly swimwear could come in handy if you need a charge at the beach. But it will cost you — $500-$1500 and up, to be precise. It was, at one time, in very limited production in New York, but it’s unknown how much the idea has taken off.
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