I bought a bikini made out of recycled waste—and it's pretty great

Girlfriend Collective strikes again.

Girlfriend Collective bikini Credit: Girlfriend & Reviewed/Amanda Tarlton

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I live in downtown Baltimore, which, in case you didn’t know, is not exactly a beachside getaway. But my gym membership comes with access to a sweet rooftop pool, and I’ve spent many a summer weekend at my parents’ house in the Outer Banks or on a good friend’s boat. In other words, I basically live in a bikini during the months of May to September.

My swimwear collection is expansive, including suits from Shein, Everlane, Zaful—and now, Girlfriend Collective. The brand, which has gained popularity thanks to TikTok and Instagram, recently released its first line of bathing suits. It includes bikini tops and bottoms and one-pieces, in women’s sizes XXS to 6X and it's all made of “recycled fishing nets and post-industrial waste recovered from the ocean.”

As a self-proclaimed bikini connoisseur, I decided to try out the Lanai bikini top (currently out of stock) for $38 and matching Equator Bay bikini bottoms for $38 for myself.

What I like about the Girlfriend Collective bikini

To start, the recycled nylon/elastane material is soft and stretchy. Even when wet, it didn’t irritate my skin and laid flat and smooth. It dried quickly in the 94-degree Maryland sun—after a dip in the pool, I was totally dry within 45 minutes. I got both the top and bottom in my usual size small and found they fit true to size. The bikini top covers my 34B chest without any gapping or spillage and I like the adjustable racerback strap that ties in the back because I can tighten it for more support if going for a swim.

The bottoms provide full coverage—a blessing to someone who just can’t get behind (pun intended) the thong bikini trend. It doesn’t ride up while I’m walking or swimming—no wedgies here!—and the leg holes don’t chafe against my skin. Even though the bottom isn’t adjustable, which is usually a strike against in my book, the waistband doesn’t cut into my skin and sits comfortably a few inches below my navel.

What I don’t like about the Girlfriend Collective bikini

I’m not a fan of flashing my nipples to the world. So I’m equally not a fan of swimsuits without padding. Unfortunately, the Girlfriend Collective Lanai top is one such suit. It lacks pads so you don’t get any nipple coverage or significant support. I’m smaller-chested—I wear a 34B bra—so I don’t require a lot of lift or compression, but I imagine this top wouldn’t be supportive enough for anyone with a larger bust.

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Is Girlfriend Collective swimwear worth buying?

Girlfriend Collective
Credit: Girlfriend Collective

You can easily mix and match all the different tops and bottoms from Girlfriend.

If you’re looking for a cute, quality bathing suit that you can lounge by the pool in? Sure. But if you want something supportive—and with padding—that you can wear for a more active lifestyle, sans nipple show-through? This likely won’t fit the bill.

To be fair, I only tried the racerback top, so the other options—like the scoop-neck top or the one-pieces—claim to offer more in terms of chest support and coverage. Regardless, both the top and bottom that I tried were comfortable and stylish and, if the other Girlfriend Collective clothing I own is any indication, will last for many seasons to come.

Note: The Lanai bikini top is currently sold out, but check back to see when GC (hopefully) restocks.

Shop swimwear at Girlfriend Collective

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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