There are a zillion reasons you should mix and match your bikinis. Maybe you lost a few bottoms last season, and are suddenly (excuse the bad pun) swimming in random tops. Maybe your top and bottom are different sizes, and you prefer to buy your pieces separately for fit purposes. Or maybe you want to get as much bang for your buck as possible and wear the same bikini in a bunch of different ways (I mean, who doesn't?).
Whatever your prerogative, the verdict is in: Mixing and matching your bikini tops and bottoms is not only acceptable, it's encouraged.
Most websites (some of which we've listed for you below — you're welcome!) allow you to purchase tops and bottoms separately, so there's really no limit with what you can do. After all, what better way is there to show off your creative eye and kick-ass sense of personal style by pairing your swimwear in new and unexpected ways? Now's your chance take that killer fashion sense from the street to the beach.
Take a look at these seven tips for how to mix and match your bikinis this season — I'm willing to bet you can find a way to apply them to the suits you already own.
1. Don't Be Afraid To Mix Prints
Aztec Bandeau Bikini Top by Jaded London, $30, Topshop.com
Chevron Tanga Bikini Bottoms, $14, Topshop.com
Print mixing has become an increasingly more popular street style trend (thanks, Man Repeller) and there's no reason why the beach should be any different. "If you're wearing a loud print, pair it with something more traditional, like stripes," Gabby Sabharwal, designer of swimwear brand Giejo, told Glamour. "For a large print, try mixing it with a micro print."
2 ...Or Solid Colors
Neon Seamed Underwire Bikini Top, $58, JCrew.com
Bikini Bottom, $34.99, JCrew.com
A different colored top and bottom can add a cool new dimension to your look. My personal favorite is black bottom with a white top (trust me, it makes your tan look killer) though contrasting bright colors can look amazing, too. Just don't try to pair two colors that are too similar in the hopes of making it look like one set — I promise, it won't.
3. ...Or Solids And Prints
Farro Top//Blue Crush, $88, CitrineSwim.com
Flores Bottom//Turquoise Starburst, $86, CitrineSwim.com
When pairing a print with a solid, make sure the solid color is either included in the print or highly contrasting with the print for a consistent head to toe look. Solid tops and printed bottoms offer the best balance
4. Consider Silhouettes
H+M+ Draped Bandeau Bikini Top, $29.99, hm.com
H+M+ Bikini Bottoms, $24.99, hm.com
There are a few sneaky ways to make sure the two pieces in your mix-and-match bikini are actually one set. Make sure the coverage from your top and bottom are relatively similar — don't mix a super skimpy bottom with a very full top, for example. Mix sporty tops (like racer backs) with sporty bottoms (like boy shorts) and mix feminine tops (like bralettes) with feminine bottoms (like high-waisted briefs)... etc. etc. etc.
6. Stay On Theme
Women's Print Wrap Front Swim Top, $24.99, Target.com
Women's Print Strap Bikini Botton, $14.99, Target.com
When mixing prints, pick a common theme that unites your top and bottom. For example, stick tribal prints with other complimentary tribal prints (like these pieces from target), or go head-to-toe tropical.
5. Pick A Color Palette
Bikini Top, $17.99, hm.com
Bikini Bottoms, $12.99, hm.com
When mixing two complicated prints, stick with one color palette and make sure the prints are different enough from one another to really make a statement.
7. Have Fun With It!
Marimekko for Target Plus Sized Bikini Top- Kukkatori Print, $19.99, Target.com
Marimekko for Target Plus Sized Bikini Bottom- Paprika Print, $19.99, Target.com
These tips aren't "rules," — they're just ideas! The most important thing when mixing and matching bathing suits is that you have fun playing with the pieces and feel good in what you put together.
Images: UrbanOutfitters.com; Courtesy of Brands