In order to know if Kylie Swim is right for you, you must first decide what you want out of a swimsuit.
If, for instance, your only prerequisite is that it’s designed by one of the world’s most famous influencers, then you will no doubt be satisfied. Judging from the performance of the suits so far—most styles sold out in just days, despite a perplexing early-fall launch date—it’s likely that, for the majority of Kylie Jenner’s customers, the influencer thing is all it takes.
If, however, being able to swim freely without flashing your genitals is of some importance, then you might be disappointed. Kylie’s swimsuits are a bit like her—they only really work on social media.
There’s nothing wrong with prioritizing aesthetics. As a superficial millennial Londoner, I, too, want to look good by the pool (on the three or four nice days we have each year). And it’s safe to say that’s something Kylie excels at. So when I ordered my bikini, I was hoping for a piece of that Kylie magic. What I hadn’t considered was quite how small that piece would be.
The ombré pink bathing suit, whose top and bottom each cost $40, arrived in what looked like a child’s sandwich bag. I want to say the bikini material is paper-thin, but that would be unfair to the nice printer paper you might be imagining. It’s closer to the toilet paper they supply in airports.
While wearing the triangle bikini top, every crevice of my breast was clearly visible; if my nipples were braille, they’d be in caps lock. I tested it against my other bikinis, and while they could work as makeshift blindfolds were you so inclined, Kylie’s just adds a pink hue to an easily discernible world.
I want to say the bikini material is paper-thin, but that would be unfair to the nice printer paper you might be imagining. It’s closer to the toilet paper they supply in airports.
But for me the real issue came with the bikini bottom. Here I found myself having to make a decision I don’t often debate with my clothing: Would I rather show my butt crack or my entire bush?
This is in part due to the new trend of wearing bikinis like thongs. On me, the style doesn’t look like the teeny tiny triangle was designed to slot into my rear. Rather, it appears as though the little material there has been engulfed. In order to not have the top of your crack peek out like a builder’s bum (do let me know if I’m behind the times and this is, in fact, now in vogue), you must instead have the front section of the bikini dangerously low. And I mean dangerously.
This bikini bottom doesn’t just require an ordinary bikini wax; it calls for the full Hollywood. Even post–hair removal, I don’t think my skin has ever been so blemish-free that a rogue ingrown hair or razor burn wouldn’t signpost the area as a deforested lady garden. But I understand that a lot of that is an active fashion choice—the product of a micro-bikini trend I just can’t wrap my pubes around.
Alas, it doesn’t stop here. For reasons unknown, the width of fabric that connects the front and back material of the bikini bottom is one to two inches smaller than every other swimsuit I own. Is it trying to be exclusionary to those with vulvas of a certain size? Or is it fashionable to have your labia constantly on the precipice of slipping free? You’d think that as a woman who made her fortune on big lips, Kylie would be more accommodating of them.
In order to not have the top of your crack peek out like a builder’s bum, you must instead have the front section of the bikini dangerously low. And I mean dangerously.
But the most surprising thing about Kylie Swim is that I apparently purchased the least bad option. According to several reviews that have since gone viral on TikTok, the one-piece cut-out swimsuits are even worse, with nipples popping out left and right, and shoddy craftsmanship throughout. (One TikToker commented, “It looks like Stormi [Kylie’s three-year-old daughter with rapper Travis Scott] sewed this together.”) And yet these are the ones that are all sold out. The product is terrible, but people apparently won’t stop buying it.
The issues with this swimwear line are so apparent it’s honestly hard to imagine how anyone could look at a prototype and think, Yes, that’ll do. Send it out. How did Kylie put her name on such rubbish? Say what you want about her, but Kylie Jenner is a cunning businesswoman who turned her lip kits—inspired by her own, ultra-chemically-filled lips—into a billion-dollar beauty brand whose products customers genuinely seem to enjoy.
That’s why her swimwear is so disappointing. Kylie is the perfect influencer because she gives her fans what they want. Now she’s fallen short.
I want to pretend that she was hardly involved in the process, but, the name aside, nearly every promotional photo for Kylie Swim features … Kylie. The items scream of a lack of respect for her fans and customers, who she knows will buy her products no matter what.
But Kylie should be careful. The most valuable thing she has is her name. So far, the comments and reviews do not paint a pretty picture. So far, Kylie doesn’t seem to care.
Flora Gill is a London-based writer