Cute Bikinis You Can Mix and Match

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Cute Bikinis You Can Mix and Match

Top: Aerie Printed Corset Bikin Top, $27

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Bottom: Xhilaration Stripe Swim Skirt, $18

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Top: Vix St. Barths Bandeau Bikini, $147

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Bottom: J. Crew Caribbean Stripe Bikini, $44

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Top: Jack Wills Whitley Bikini Top, $40

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Bottom: Mara Hoffman Luau Bikini Bottom, $70

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Top: Versace Monochrome Push Up Bikini Top, $99

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Bottom: Madewell String Bikini Bottom in Squaredot, $35

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Top: Jack Wills Milholme Bikini Top, $50

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Bottom: Quiksilver Desert Rose Sierra Bottom

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Top: Mara Hoffman Electric Casino-Print Bikini Top, $123

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Bottom: River Island Black and White Strip Bikini Briefs, $10

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Top: Tory Burch Bahia String Top, $105

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Bottom: J.Crew Hawaiian Sunset String Hipster, $30

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Top: River Island Pink Stripe Bustier Bikini Top, $32

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Bottom: Vix Cozumel Bikini Briefs, $100

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Top: Mossimo Bandeau Swim Top, $25

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Bottom: Pret-À-Surf for J.Crew Butterfly Bikini, $150

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Top: Victoria's Secret Beach Sexy Bandeau Top, $19

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Bottom: J.Crew Neon Floral Bikini, $30

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Top: Topshop White Floral Bikini Top, $32

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Bottom: Madewell Reversible String Bikini Bottom in Stripes & Spots, $29

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Top: Basta Surf Raglan Bikini Top, $65

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Bottom: American Eagle Outfitters AE Floral Tied Bikini, $20

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Top: River Island Laser Cut Balconette Bikini Top, $34

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Bottom: J.Crew Punk Floral Bikini, $30

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I will never forget my very first bikini. I was in high school (yes, I had to wait that long) and it was from J. Crew. My family was off to Turks and Caicos for spring break and I needed something to lay out in something that didn't scream "swim team." I had pored over catalogues, finally deciding on an underwire top and side-tie bottoms in a blue daisy print. A bikini newbie, it took me several months to realize that there were more flattering top options than the one I had chosen. But I loved that print too much to part with the bottoms (it was my first after all) once I learned how to wear a bikini properly-and so began my signature mismatched swimsuit look.

Since the summer of my first bikini, I've never worn a matching swimsuit-that sounds almost sacrilegious, I know. But that initial swimsuit experience taught me that sometimes the cutest tops don't have the most flattering bottoms and vice versa. You know you've been there, flipping through the Victoria's Secret catalogue (a swimsuit mixer's dream since most tops and bottoms are sold separately) when you see a top you love only to find that the coordinating bottom is a "hipkini." Abort.

The simplest solution is to buy tops and bottoms individually so that you always get the style you'd prefer in the color or print of your choice. And because you can mix and match, you're essentially doubling your swimsuit wardrobe...never a bad thing. And I'd be lying if I didn't say it's a bit of a West Coast thing, too. Just like I still hold on to my California driver's license, I enjoy showing off a little So-Cal style out here on the East Coast.

For surfers only? Certainly not. Scroll through the slideshow above to shop our ideas on how to wear a swimsuit this summer. Our verdict: the cutest bikinis don't come as a matched set on the same hanger.

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