What Is a Towelkini? And Will Anyone Actually Wear One This Summer?

the towelkini by aria mcmanus
Aria McManus

Fashion can be confusing. Remember those janties (aka denim panties) that kept selling out?Yeah, after a while we've become immune to the bizarre and seemingly inexplicable things we see hanging in store windows and popping up in ads on Facebook. But upon spotting the latest viral item, we immediately wondered: What this is and where can we buy one?!?!

Let us introduce you to the Towelkini.

So WTF is a Towelkini? Short answer: It is a terry-cloth towel and bikini combined into one handy item of clothing.

OK, but why does the Towelkini exist? As you may have already guessed, the Towelkini is not a particularly practical item, despite its two-in-one nature. It's actually a piece of art by Aria McManus created for an SPF-themed exhibit at Special Special, a design store in New York City. And while it was originally conceived as a fun art project, you can in fact purchase one for yourself to the tune of $199.

If someone did want to wear one, what would that look like? Although it's advertised as a bikini-esque item, the Towelkini does not provide full coverage, meaning you'll definitely have to wear a bathing suit underneath—unless you're OK with showing your backside or full-frontal situation with everyone at the beach or pool. But it is reversible and can be worn either as a sort of weird poncho-cape combo that exposes your front or as a backless kaftan (two things you definitely never realized were missing from your wardrobe).

So, uh, if it's not really meant to become a beach vacation staple, why do we care so much? To borrow a phrase from Charles "Chazz" Michael Michaels, "No one knows what it means but it's provocative." The specific level of ridiculousness and provocation achieved by the Towelkini speaks to us in a way that the impossibly small Mini Le Chiquito by Jacquemus or bridal Crocs simply never could. Either that or we just needed to have a good laugh on a Wednesday afternoon. 



Abby Hepworth is an RRCA-certified running coach who has worked in fashion for over 10 years. Want to know what shoes are in this season? She's got you. Need recommendations on...