If you happen to live in a part of the country where your daily wardrobe still consists of lug-sole boots, fuzzy knits, and hidden layers you keep tucked under your puffer jackets, rest assured that swim season is on its way. And with it comes the very specific challenge of finding 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. For these reasons, figuring out how to find a swimsuit that fits when shopping looks different for everyone.
Thankfully, despite each shopper's unique experience, there are some universal principles and practices that designers swear by to ensure a swimsuit hugs you as perfectly as possible. According to the insiders at Solid and Striped, Andie, Eloquii, and Lonely, they rely on a handful of specific design elements and details when designing that help create a supportive fit. And furthermore, they've suggested tips for how shoppers can identify the elements of a great suit, and put a potential new bikini to the test, before ever committing to a purchase.
Below, you'll find six pieces of advice straight from the experts to help navigate your first swimsuit purchase of 2019.
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 suggest 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 playing 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 Lycra’s 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.”
Additionally, Solid and Striped design director, Amelia Lindquist, says the brand’s novelty textures also offer an especially comfortable fit. “Our jacquard gingham and ribbed fabrications are spongy, soft and don't pinch,” she recommends.
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 effect 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.”
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 (pool side 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 require adjusting after a couple minutes, it’s merely a preview of what to expect after hours of wear.
Take Time To Rest
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 rest 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. “Wear your one-piece for paddle boarding and bikini for replenishing you vitamin D (with sunscreen of course!),” Travis suggests. “When your swim drawer is full of great options, you won't overburden or overwear one, thus maintaining longevity of your swimwear investments as long as possible!”
Shop more new swimwear styles below.