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The headline for this article is literally the question I asked one of the editors of our sister site, StyleBlazer.com, yesterday morning. When she had no answer for me and replied “It’s been this way since the beginning of time” when I suggested she investigate how a few yards of Lycra translates into a $100-plus price tag and write an article on it, I thought, hmmm maybe our financially savvy readers will have an explanation.

See, I’m new to this whole bathing suit thing. Well, the cute bathing suit thing. Up until my recent trip to Jamaica, it had been about seven years since I’d been on anybody’s beach or swam in somebody’s pool, and at my former size, a bathing suit was basically like a uniform for me. I wanted to go in the water, bathing suits are what you wear in the water, I bought a cheap one since I was going to cover it up with a t-shirt/tank top/ cover up of some sort anyway. Now that I’ve dropped some pounds and am anxiously awaiting a week-long birthday excursion to the Dominican Republic, I’m trying to dip my foot into the lake of swimsuit couture. Unfortunately, every time I come across something I like online, Sallie Mae and Bank of America tap me on the shoulder and whisper in my ear, This ain’t what you really want.

And it’s true. I want to look cute on the beach. What I do not want is to spend close to $100 trying to do so. Unfortunately, it appears I don’t have a choice. I conducted a rather non-scientific survey of the office asking everyone how much they spend on bathing suits and everyone pretty much agreed it’s nothing to pay $50 for beach separates — unless of course you’re like my petite coworker who can sneak pieces out of the children’s section. Y’all have seen me before. I can’t even get by with a swimsuit that doesn’t have an underwire in it.

But neither is dropping hundreds of dollars on something that’s going to be soaked in chlorine and salt water and lose the richness of its color out in the Dominican sun for merely a few hours out of the day. Which reminds me, something good has come out of this whole “Swimsuits are too damn high” rant I’m on: I owe some women out there an apology. I always assumed when I saw women walking around in grocery stores and restaurants in their bathing suits with nothing more than maybe (and that’s a big maybe) some low-riding booty shorts on on top, they were thirsty, attention-starved creatures just trying to show off their bodies. Now I realize these women have spent their hard-earned money on those string bikinis and see-through one-pieces and they will be damned if the only place they show off those expensive garments is in the water which they were created for! I feel you now sisters, I really do.

While I’m pretty sure I won’t be following in the footsteps of said ladies, after taking advantage of ASOS’ St. Patty’s Day sale and dropping a pretty penny on two bathing suits I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I spent too much money to cover up anything with a cover up in a few weeks. Consider that your warning fellow beach goers. Ima let it all hang out. And despite becoming a part of the expensive swimsuit machine I intended to rally against, I will not rest until I at least get an explanation as to why bathing suits cost so damn much (beyond the fact that they’re stretchy). Or some suggestions for sites that sell cheap ones. Who got the answers?

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