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July 12, 2017

I didn’t get my first bathing suit until I was about 13. Well, to be clear, I mean my first bathing suit meant for “fun pool activities,” like cannon balls, Slip ’N Slides, and going to the shore. I was thrown into competitive swimming as a six-year-old, and the only bathing suits of my youth were typically racerback one-pieces that were embossed with the brand names “Speedo” or “TYR” at the hip.

But then, I had a tween-style epiphany (probably brought on by a friend’s birthday or something) and realized I, too, wanted a two-piece with a tie around the neck, sequins, yellow and orange tropical flowers—a suit that wouldn’t leave me with a racerback tan line! And like any other 13-year-old suburbanite, I went to my local Target to find such a swimsuit. It was within those red-and-white walls that I found not only my first two-piece but my first suit not meant for competitive swimming—and it’s the store I still swear by today.

At the time, I settled on a deep purple and lavender color-blocked bandeau with matching dark purple bikini bottoms. I remember I picked it because it had a tie around the neck, so it wouldn’t fall off when I was jumping waves at the beach, and the bottoms weren’t super cheeky or anything. I put it on and used a pair of Soffe shorts as a cover up. And to paraphrase Shania Twain, Man! I felt like a woman! At around $15 bucks apiece, it also fit my then-salary, which consisted of saved up birthday checks from my grandparents.

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From that day on, Target has been my go-to for swimsuits of all sorts. Every January, when I’m deep in SAD and spring/summer clothes inevitably start to hit stores even though it’s still snowing, I take a trip to Target and marvel at the racks of new suits and the sweet smell of Lycra in the air. They’ve got classic suits, trends that will for sure die hard the next year, bustiers, cut-outs, fringe, and, of course, gingham! I can’t resist its siren sound; I always buy my suit then and there, months before it’s seasonally appropriate.

#Flashback (get my pun?) to paradise.

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Target doesn’t just have a bevy of styles, they also continue to be easy on my wallet. Each separate is rarely more expensive than $18. And they last! I once treated myself to a chocolate brown bikini, and I’ve had it for about six years. Sure, now it’s starting to look kind of shabby, but that’s after six (!) years of New Jersey salt water and a crazy amount of chlorine.doesn’t just have a bevy of styles, they also continue to be easy on my wallet. Each separate is rarely more expensive than $18. And they last! I once treated myself to a chocolate brown bikini, and I’ve had it for about six years. Sure, now it’s starting to look kind of shabby, but that’s after six (!) years of New Jersey salt water and a crazy amount of chlorine.

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While I’ve long retired my childhood purple bikini, this season Target brought me back to my roots: I purchased a sporty black racerback bikini—because some things never change.

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