5 Ways to find super unique swimwear

Jul 31, 2014 at 3:56 p.m. ET

I live in New York, but have an unusually high amount of swimwear for a city dweller. Why? Because if I’m going to spend about half of my year in less than desirable weather, I’m determined to rock the perfect beach ensemble every time my toes hit the sand.

And to me, that means wearing something different and flattering. There are a handful of stores that most ladies flock to each summer for a new bikini, but that leads to many people wearing the same thing. My quest to find something a bit more unique has led me to some less widely known options which cover various swim occasions.

1. Surfer chic: Diane's Beachwear

I first found out about Diane's Beachwear when I lived in Los Angeles. They have several locations in California, and I was happy to learn that they also had a strong website once I moved to New York. I consider them to have a Cali-surfer-friendly selection, but sometimes have some edgy looks as well. I can always count on them to have new styles all year round and showcase products at many angles.

Link: www.dianesbeachwear.com

2. Trendy affordable: Asos, Nastygal, BooHoo

I categorize these three sites together as they all have pretty trendy looks, but at a generally more affordable price. There is some product overlap in the sites, but I would say that Boo Hoo has the more affordable options, while Nastygal has more of the high end swimwear, and Asos has selections across the board.

Link: www.asos.com , www.nastygal.com , www.boohoo.com

3. South Beach sexy: OMG Miami Swimwear, Hot Miami Styles

For ladies looking to go the more risque route, Miami-based online stores are the places to go. The suits featured don't leave much to the imagination and definitely aren't for the shy. Perfect for a Vegas pool party or a South Beach weekend.

Link: www.hotmiamistyles.com , www.omgmiamiswimwear.com

4. Swim in a hurry: Zappos

Last-minute vacation or just a general procrastinator? Zappos is a great site for anyone who needs a swimsuit in a hurry. They have one-day free shipping (plus free returns) and a vast selection of swimwear. I'm not a fan of the model photography on the site, so it's good to cross check items on other sites before buying. However, I haven't seen any other site that has some of my favorite designers like Mara Hoffman, that also offer the ease of delivery.

Link: www.zappos.com

5. Up and coming: Instagram

Looking for an independent designer that doesn't quite have their web presence built out yet? Check out Instagram. Type in terms like "monokini" and you'll have unique finds beyond the sites I listed as many people are using Instagram to visually promote their products. I was able to find new brands like Daresque and Mint-Swim through Instagram searching.

Link: instagram.com/daresque , www.facebook.com/MintSwim

And lastly, here I am in one of my all-time favorite suits from Diane's Beachwear:

Have I missed your favorite go-to swimwear site? Would love to hear about more!

Photo credit: PhotoAlt/Frederic Cirou/PhotoAlto Agency RF Collection/Getty Images