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Vintage Bathing Suits: Why I Only Buy Retro-Inspired Swimsuits & Not The Original One-Pieces (PHOTOS)

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Two summers ago, I was at a pool party in Southampton, New York when I spotted a girl wearing the coolest dress/swimsuit hybrid I had ever seen. I didn't know her, but that didn't matter. I had to find out where it was from. "Vintage," she smiled. "I bought it at this great secondhand store downtown."

Clearly, this experience stuck with me -- I have been envious of this model's vintage bathing suit for years -- but, I haven't given in to purchasing one.

Even though I love vintage shopping, there are some pieces at which I draw the line. Lingerie, swimsuits, socks, pantyhose and slips are all off-limits for me when it comes to secondhand shopping. These items are too intimate for me to share with another unknown person. I prefer to buy clothing that is less close to the body, like dresses, blouses, skirts and pants.

When I think about it logically, though, I realize that this is a somewhat arbitrary distinction. A tank top and a bra touch the body in the same way, right? And you can never really tell where someone's pants may have been. David Sedaris' experience about getting crabs from a pair of secondhand pants comes to mind when I think about my concerns. I distinctly remember reading his New Yorker piece, "It's Catching," while wearing a recently-purchased pair of vintage jeans. I wanted to jump out of my skin with disgust.

It seems that designers know that the flattering fit of a '50s-inspired bikini is desirable, and that most are unwilling to wear the original pieces, even if they can find them. So, while I always admire the antique lace slips my friends find at flea markets and the swimsuits I see others wearing, for now I think I will stick with retro-inspired pieces, like the ones in our gallery below.

Want more? Head over to Fashionista.com for more on how to get the look and be sure to check out Stylelist on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Pinterest.

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