Swim season is well underway, and with it comes the very specific challenge of finding your go-to suit of the season. You know, the one- or two-piece styles that look amazing and can remain comfortable whether you’re playing volleyball or making a dent in your beach read. Since activity level, style preference, and body shape all vary widely, finding a swimsuit that fits your needs when shopping looks different for everyone. But, that doesn’t mean landing on a swimsuit that works for you is an insurmountable feat. There are universal principles and practices that designers swear by to ensure a swimsuit hugs you as perfectly as possible without riding up or stretching out.
According to the insiders at beloved swimwear labels Cuup, Andie, Eloquii, and Lonely, there are a few specific details to be aware of when shopping for a new suit to ensure a supportive fit. Furthermore, they've suggested tips for how once you’ve purchased your perfect bikini or one-piece, you can care for it to keep it in tip-top shape. Online shoppers can also utilize innovative tools to help ensure they order the right size. “All new customers can schedule a free virtual fitting with one of Fit Therapists or go through our Fit Quiz, says Abby Morgan, Co-Founder and CMO of CUUP. She notes that depending on need, she’s seen customers order multiple bottom styles in the same color and material to swap out based on their planned level of activity, a strong option if you find a style of suit you love. This year, instead of focusing on the trendiest color or silhouette, start with the six expert tips below and you’ll find a simple but beautiful suit that you can come back to not just for summer 2021, but for the years ahead, too.
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Play Up Your Favorites
While harmful past dialogues around swimsuit season can make anyone feel a little anxious about shedding layers of clothing, the first step in finding the right suit can be as simple as saying what you love about your body. “Every body is different and you know your needs best,” says Andie founder Melanie Travis.
The entrepreneur suggests that playing up your own favorite qualities can help lead you to the right style. “Do you need lots of bust support? Look for under-bust elastic or soft cups. Do you prefer more seat coverage? Look for straps that attach at the side body of a suit, rather than above the seat (so as not to pull up too much)," she explains.
Eloquii creative director, Jodi Arnold, also suggests paying close attention to details, colors, and other elements that make a swimsuit most exciting and speak to personal style. “Look for a swimsuit that will highlight your assets whether it’s a colored swimsuit that will look great with your skin tone or a deep monokini plunge to show off the bust.”
Pay Attention To Fabric
“Fabric-wise, we focus on using specialty Lycras sourced from beautiful European mills, as well as recycled fabrics. They’re always unique and interesting, but equally flexible and durable,” says Helene Morris, co-founder and designer of Lonely. Functionality is huge for the New Zealand brand and its leader, who says she spends lots of time in the ocean. “We recommend choosing fabrics comfortable for all-day wear at the beach and beyond.”
“We wanted to find more sustainable materials that also deliver quality, fit, and performance, and meet our customer's goals around aesthetics,” explains Morgan on the use of Econyl regenerated nylon. “Our supporting materials and components, from custom hardware to custom flexwire, are specifically engineered to support fit and move with you through all of the season's activities.”
Size Up (Or Down) When Necessary
Swimsuit sizing can often vary between brands, styles, and, as far as two-pieces are concerned, between tops and bottoms. However, your preference of activity can affect sizing, as well, according to Travis. “Swim fabrics stretch a bit when wet, so sizing down or staying true to size is better when you're spending most of your time in actual water,” she says. “If you're staying dry most of the time, sizing up could help you feel more comfortable since the natural stretching won't happen when the suit stays dry. You won't see much of a difference, it's all about how you feel!”
Be Willing To Adjust
“When choosing swimwear, women shouldn’t compromise on support or shape,” advises Morris. And in order to achieve this, a suit may require the slightest tweaks and adjustments —something Lonely specializes in. “We all have such different needs as women, so looking for suits with adjustability can be a great option,” says Morris. ”Some of our most popular styles feature lacing and wrap ties which allow women to find a personalized fit that’s absolutely perfect for them.”
Cuup has also engineered a back-closure that allows for adjustment. “You’ll be able to work within two size ranges with this product technology to achieve an adaptable fit and versatile size range,” Morgan explains. “This breakthrough technology keeps in mind that our bodies fluctuate and move. Your cup volume will stay the same, but your bands will oscillate, giving you a snugger or looser fit, whatever you prefer for a day in the sun.”
Put It To The Test
Taking selfies in your new swimsuit may give you an idea of how well it photographs, but for a preview of its fit, you'll need to get moving. Travis recommends test-driving a new style by walking around your home and noticing if the straps dig or if the fabric shifts noticeably. “Sit in a ‘pool pose,’” she also recommends “I usually do a lot of lounging in my swimsuit (poolside or on the beach) so I want to make sure I feel secure and supported in my usual comfy positions.”
If you’re not trying on a swimsuit at home, that’s okay too. “Doing a dance in the fitting room is a great test,” suggests Arnold. Essentially, if the suit begins to annoy you or requires adjusting after a couple minutes, it’s merely a preview of what to expect after hours of wear.
Even if you and your swimsuit do little more than lie horizontally on a towel over the course of a beach day, according to Travis, post-wear care is still necessary. “Rinse with fresh water after each wear and to lay flat to dry completely,” she recommends. “This maintains its stretch and shape integrity.”
Like all other items in your closet, your favorite pieces of swimwear can last for multiple seasons and maintain their shape and support as long as they're cared for properly. To maintain a suit for the long run, “we suggest handwashing your swim in cold water or machine wash cold on a gentle cycle, then always air dry,” Morgan says. “We suggest using a delicate wash as this will help maintain the fabric over time.”
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