What’s the Deal With ‘Tape Bikinis?’

I guess you don't need a bikini wax to wear a swimsuit that will just give you one for free.

What’s the Deal With ‘Tape Bikinis?’
Photo:Arun Nevader (Getty Images)

Swimwear has evolved greatly since these string bikinis with questionable crotch situations became cool last year—but in the very wrong direction, I fear.

The Black Tape Project debuted its latest collection of bikinis, literally made out of tape, at this year’s Miami Swim Week. I’ll start with the positives: Why pay for a bikini wax when you can get one for free, just by taking off your swimsuit? It’ll rip the hair right out. This is actually practical—your tits may not sit the way you want, lacking any support at all, but this is a time and money saver during these times of great inflation. A 66-foot roll of pink electrical tape is only $5.97 at Home Depot, compared to The Black Tape Project’s 30-foot roll for $29.99. It’s called the Inflation Suit, babe. Be grateful that the swim industry is properly responding appropriately to the rising costs of living.

Designer Joel Alvarez writes that he started taping models when asked at a photoshoot, even though he had no idea what he was doing. And like all men with no sartorial vision, he kept going: “I kept at it because I kept seeing lines and I found the ability to compliment the body by adding lines and creating negative spaces that called to the viewers,” Alvarez wrote.

The “negative space” meaning skin? Or is the tape the negative space? Either way, not one of these tape bikinis complement a body, even a body at a complete standstill. And speaking of those “lines”—we need to talk about the tan line situation here. I thought cutout dresses were bad, but one day in a tape-kini would make you look like you got tiger-clawed by the shade.

Honestly, these women look like if they so much as hiccup, a nipple will appear. That’s not necessarily a bad thing—we at Jezebel very much support freeing the nipple. But it should be a deliberate peekaboo moment, right? Not just your nipple flying out of some duct tape mid-conversation at the pool, when you were just trying to explain to some thirsty random dude what you were reading.

What’s worse about the proliferation of the tape bikini is it means it’s only a matter of time until tanning booth tattoos come back. Remember the Playboy bunny sticker people would wear on their hip to show in a sexy way that they’d been in the sun? I guess the rest of the 2000s are here, so why not bring back those too? I wasn’t allowed to go in a tanning booth because “the sun is right there,” and that adage has only increased in accuracy as our government fails to act on the climate crisis.

Speaking of the climate crisis, these bikinis appear to be preparing us for the inevitable Mad Max minimal clothing scenario we (or our kids or grandkids) will find ourselves in, because world leaders decided to worship the dollar, forgetting that they too will be in minimal clothing due to heat someday, too. I guess I just wasn’t quite ready for it.

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