The Cost of a Dip
The Cost of a Dip

Let’s be real: Swimsuits aren’t chosen for their aquadynamics (unless you’re competing in the Olympics), and many times they never even see the inside of a swimming pool. And that’s a good thing, because some bathing suits actually carry a warning that they are not meant to be used in the water. Most of the time, those swimsuits also carry a high price tag. Swarovski crystals, designer prints and – in the rare case – superior workmanship can push your run-of-the-mill bikini well above $500, with some creative one-pieces cracking the $1,000 mark. It may sound crazy, but if TMZ is right, rich celebrities spend more than enough time in bathing suits to justify their spending a few bucks on them. MainStreet scoured the shops and fashion websites for some of the most glitzy bathing suits on the market that you can expect to see on your upcoming vacation to St. Tropez. Oh, and for the sake of gender equality we checked out men’s bathing suits as well, and while there are some $200-$300 swim trunks out there, the real bling is reserved for the ladies. Photo Credit: Stag Shop

Missoni - Bahia Fish Scale String Bikini
Missoni - Bahia Fish Scale String Bikini

Price: $445 This knit bikini, with multiple layered color segments meant to resemble fish scales, is an absolute marvel of engineering. A ton of man-hours obviously went into crafting this minimal amount of fabric, so getting it for under $500 seems like a bargain indeed. Photo Credit: Courtesy of NeimanMarcus.com

Missoni – Granada Sequined Crochet-Knit Swimsuit
Missoni – Granada Sequined Crochet-Knit Swimsuit

Price: $517.50 Missoni is also pushing its crocheters to the hilt with this one-piece swimsuit, which features crocheted rayon, embedded all over with sequins. But all this beauty comes at a price: The $517 price tag is marked down from an MSRP of $1,725, pretty steep considering the recommendation that “to get the best from your Missoni beachwear we advise you do not wear it to swim.” Photo Credit: Courtesy of TheOutnet.com

Fisico - Cristina Ferrari Bikini
Fisico - Cristina Ferrari Bikini

Price: $930 Swarovski crystals can bedazzle pretty much everything, and designer Cristina Ferrari makes good use of them in this line of bikinis (available in all the colors of the rainbow) for Fisico. The small crystals cover the two triangle cups on the bikini top, as well as the front and back of the bottoms, where lighter crystals spell out the brand name in a subtle logo. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Yoox.com

Lanvin – Python-Print Triangle Bikini
Lanvin – Python-Print Triangle Bikini

Price: $710 Classic French designer Lanvin decided to keep costs down on this $710 bikini by using a python print for this ruffle-trimmed number that is decidedly cute and sexy. We’d hate to imagine what it would cost if it were made with real python leather. At least this polyamide-elastane version can be worn in the surf, something that would damage real python in a second. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Net-A-Porter.com

Lanvin – Ruched Asymmetric Swimsuit
Lanvin – Ruched Asymmetric Swimsuit

Price: $1,000 If a one-piece is more aligned with your personal sense of modesty, you’d better be prepared to pay for the extra fabric. Lanvin put together this modern take on the classic one-piece by choosing a spaghetti strap on one shoulder and a wider, twisted strap on the left. The pleats echo the ruching on the body – harder than it looks to get right, as the polyester-spandex blend wants to scrunch and stretch anywhere the body takes it – that is flattering to a variety of silhouettes. Available in any color, as long as it’s black. Photo Credit: Courtesy of BergdorfGoodman.com

La Perla – Snake-Print Monokini
La Perla – Snake-Print Monokini

Price: $575 Somewhere between the bikini and the one-piece is the “monokini,” popularized by Paris Hilton what seems like ages ago. The style has evolved, thanks to La Perla, a brand long successful at finding innovative ways for women to show more skin. This snake print nylon/spandex swimsuit features sequined straps around the neck and behind the back, and an “exotic” print that doesn't look like any species of snake we’ve ever seen in the reptile house at the local zoo. Photo Credit: Courtesy of BergdorfGoodman.com

Agent Provocateur – Lyssandra Swimsuit
Agent Provocateur – Lyssandra Swimsuit

Price: $490 If snakeskin and crystals are just a little too glitzy for your personal style, perhaps it’s time to try a little bondage-inspired swimwear from the playful lingerie brand Agent Provocateur. The microfiber wraps radiate upward and outward from the bikini bottom to create a hard-edged sexiness that can only work in black. Photo Credit: Courtesy of AgentProvocateur.com

Lanvin – Twisted Bandeau Bikini
Lanvin – Twisted Bandeau Bikini

Price: $675 Lanvin is a great source of poolside extravagance, and this twisted bikini takes fuchsia to a whole other level. (Well, a whole other price tag at least.) There’s not much to say about this classic strapless bikini except the ruching on the two pieces, which is indeed beautiful. At least Lanvin shows us how simple and elegant bright fuchsia can be, for a price of course. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Net-A-Porter.com

BeachCandy – ‘BritB’ Bikini
BeachCandy – ‘BritB’ Bikini

Price: $681 BeachCandy is known for bringing a bit of bling to its beachwear, and the BritB is the jewel in the crown. With gold-plated hardware on the halter top and a full complement of Swarovski crystals on the bottoms, there is no doubt that this bikini will make waves in and out of the water. Photo Credit: Courtesy of BeachCandy.com

Norma Kamali – Jorge Embellished Cutout Swimsuit
Norma Kamali – Jorge Embellished Cutout Swimsuit

Price: $950 If you’re looking for some flash at your next pool party, it doesn’t have to come from Swarovski. Norma Kavali gives the idea a twist by using varying sizes of embossed metal discs on this cutout monokini to ensure it stands out in a crowd. And from the front or back, we are sure it will stand out no matter what side you happen to be tanning. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Net-A-Porter.com

Emilio Pucci – Two-Piece Print Bikini
Emilio Pucci – Two-Piece Print Bikini

Price: $540 As the name implies, this bikini by Emilio Pucci is the most straightforward bathing suit on the list. The cut is simple, the design is traditional—it’s really all about the print, though it’s up to you to decide whether the purple and white motif is worth more than $500. Photo Credit: Courtesy of SaksFifthAvenue.com

Blumarine Beachwear – One-piece Suit
Blumarine Beachwear – One-piece Suit

Price: $590 For an example of a print that’s most definitely not traditional, this Blumarine swimsuit combines the eye-catching power of a day-glo camouflage/animal print with some teal beading across the top in a look that is probably best described as “Miami Chic.” The one-piece suit has an MSRP of $780, and despite the discounted price under $600, the market for this bathing suit is probably as thin as the synthetic fabric it’s made of. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Yoox.com

Oscar de la Renta – Printed Bandeau Swimsuit
Oscar de la Renta – Printed Bandeau Swimsuit

Price: $590 Oscar de la Renta, a big name in the world of evening dresses, has brought his tailoring skills to this impressive one-piece swimsuit with a nautical theme. Along the top of the bust are a series of grommets through which the designer has threaded fabric that ties in the center, which screams summer in Nantucket. If you’ve got the cash, it’s the perfect suit for your next Kennedy-themed summer barbecue. Photo Credit: Courtesy of NeimanMarcus.com

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