Sticker shock is a common side effect of swimsuit shopping. For something that might seem like glorified underwear, swimwear can be expensive, and you might wonder if the high prices are justified. Not every suit is worth the cost, but some definitely are. It all depends on your lifestyle and needs, of course, but getting something that performs well and lasts a long time can be a sound investment.
Fancy fabrics play a large role in the price of swimwear. Lycra and Spandex, the fibers that give bathing suits their stretchy, figure-hugging look, aren't cheap. They are important though, as a suit made without them wouldn't fit well and would quickly lose its shape once wet. Some suits (like those available at Lands' End) are made from materials that resist damage from chlorine, salt, sunblock, and UV rays, which costs more, too. However, this kind of material will last longer, making it worth the money.
Lands' End also makes its swimwear with fabric that offers UPF 50 protection. By stopping 98% of the sun's rays from reaching your skin, it keeps you safe for hours on end. Though it might cost more, it's an investment in your health that pays off over the long term. Investing in a quality swim tee or swim leggings will give you even more protection.
Though a simple bathing suit might not seem like much at first glance, it's actually a complicated garment, which can boost its price. Some swimsuits are designed to sculpt and slim the figure, flattening your tummy and supporting your bust. A good swimsuit is also designed not to move around or shift when you move and achieving all of this requires ingenuity and hard work.
Much is expected of swimwear, too. Women want something that feels nice, makes them look good, and can sustain a lot of wear and tear, which takes more time and effort to create. It's way more complicated than designing a simple t-shirt, for instance.
Though you can buy bathing suits year-round, the peak season for swimsuit sales is just a few months out of the year. Manufacturers have to follow tight schedules because of this, giving them little wiggle room when it comes to having suits made overseas and shipped back to them. As a result, it's hard for them to get manufacturing discounts that can be passed down to customers. Some designers avoid the problem by making their suits in the US and this can raise prices. This also means that manufactures are taking to time to produce quality swimwear that you can count on, so having some patience will pay off in the long run.
A little love and care can ensure your expensive swimsuit stays in good shape, making it worth the price. Before swimming, take a shower while wearing your suit. When it's soaked with fresh water, it can't absorb as much chlorinated water, which is a swimsuit killer. Always rinse your suit after wearing it, even if you didn't get wet. Substances like sweat, makeup, sunscreen, and body oils can do a number on your swimsuit, so thoroughly rinse it under the tap after taking it off.
Always wash your swimsuit by hand. Fill a sink with cool water and a little shampoo or mild, bleach-free detergent. Immerse your suit in the mixture and let it soak up to half an hour, but not overnight, which can loosen the fibers. Rinse it well and gently squeeze it without wringing or twisting. Roll the suit in a towel to absorb the remaining moisture and lay it flat to dry, away from direct heat and light.
Do not put your suit in the washing machine or dryer. Exposure to high temps and getting tossed around during different cycles is rough on swimwear and can ruin an otherwise good suit. Also, don't wear your best swimsuit in a Jacuzzi. The hot, chemically treated water is not good for Lycra and Spandex, so reach for an old suit when you're going to soak and save your good one for later.
If you own more than one swimsuit, rotate them to give each one a break between uses. Always be careful about where you sit while wearing a swimsuit, too. The rough surface along the side of the pool or a splintered old deckchair can snag and rip your suit, so put a towel down before taking a seat.
Also, you can often save money on swimwear if you shop at the right time. Try getting a new suit in August for the best deals. Stores are usually eager to unload them before autumn arrives, so you'll probably find big discounts. But, remember a good quality swimsuit is very important and great to have, so investing in one this year means you'll be able to wear it for years to come.