How To Wash a Bathing Suit
Everything you need to know about how to wash and care for your favorite swimsuit.
Few shopping experiences can mingle feelings of fun and fear quite like the search for the perfect swimsuit. Whether you’ve got a few vacations planned or intend to spend most of your time at backyard pool parties, a swimsuit is essential to summer fun—and you know how good you’ll feel when you find a suit that really fits.
The good news is that online swimwear shopping has gotten so much easier, especially if you know how and what to measure before you buy online. So whether you want to finally buy a suit from one of those well-timed Instagram ads or simply try new styles from a brand you love, you no longer have to play the guessing game when it comes to fit and size.
The perks of shopping online are undeniable. You can try on your orders at home, which means no harsh dressing room lighting and more room to bend and move to get a true feel for how they fit. Then, you can simply send back anything that doesn’t work for you.
Sounds pretty great, right? It is. But you’ll want to make the most of your online ordering—and to do that, you’ll want to arm yourself with certain information. This guide helps you do exactly that.
Having your correct measurements is just about the most powerful tool you have when it comes to ordering the correct swimsuit size online.
Once you start shopping, you’ll see that every brand sizes its swimwear slightly differently. So, just because you are a size 10 in one brand, doesn’t mean that’s your correct size in another. When you know your measurements, you’ll be able to look at a brand’s size guide to quickly assess the best size to order.
As for how to take your measurements, you’ll want to use a soft measuring tape. Don’t have one? No problem. Rely on an old fashion industry secret—a piece of string. Use the piece of string in place of a soft measuring tape and then lay it against a rigid measurer to get the correct numbers. Either way, you’ll also want to make sure the tape or string lays comfortably against your skin rather than digging in.
Now that you’re ready to measure, you’ll want to focus on three main areas—your bust, waist and hips.
Start with your bust. For the most accurate measurement, go braless or wear a non-padded bra. Wrap the tape measure around your back, underneath your arms. Keep it level across your back and measure across the fullest part of your breasts. This usually means the tape will be running over your nipples.
Keep your elbows down at your side for the most accurate measurement and make sure the tape isn’t too snug or too loose.
When it comes to your waist, measure the most narrow part of your torso. Still not sure? Bend your torso to one side. Wherever the fold is, that’s where you should take the measurement.
Some swimwear brands also offer one piece swimsuits that come in regular or long torso lengths. So, knowing your torso measurement can also be helpful. To find yours, measure from your groin to the top of your shoulder.
Your hip measurement is often composed of two different measurements—the top of your hips and the widest part. For the first, measure around your hips along where the top of your hip bone is. This should fall about 6 inches up from the crotch. For the second, stand with your feet together and measure around the widest part of your butt—this should be the point of your hip that is level with your pubic bone. If the brand you’re shopping only asks for one hip measurement, you’ll want to go with the wider measurement (that’s the lower one!).
Once you have your measurements, you’ll want to get familiar with the size chart for the brand you’re purchasing from. This can often be found near where you select the size for the suit you’re looking at. Compare your measurements with the brand guide and you should be able to easily determine your size.
If you fall in between sizes, order two different ones and try them both on to see which works. Remember you’ll want to go with the one that fits snugly while still being comfortable. Note: Just be sure to review the return policy before going this route.
Ideally, taking precise measurements will keep you from having to size up or down, but, if you have to make a choice, we suggest going down a size. Here’s why: When a swimsuit gets wet, it gets heavier and this can lead to some unfortunate sagging. Most swimwear will also stretch a bit over time, so a snug fit should be just fine.
Finding the Right Swimsuit For You
Measurements? Check. Size? Got it. Now comes the fun part—finding a fit and style you love. Unsure where to start? Think about what type of lingerie you gravitate towards. Do you like a fuller bottom brief or do you prefer something a little cheekier? Chances are, you’ll like a similar fit when it comes to swimwear. Another option is to consider your overall style. If you gear towards more conservative fits and silhouettes, you may try something with a bit more coverage.
If you’re wanting a bikini, you’ll also need to think about the rise of your bikini bottom—meaning, where it will sit on the hips. A higher rise will hit over your belly button, while a mid-rise will hit just below it. If you opt for a low-rise style, expect it to sit on your hip bones.
For your bust, consider your needs and preferences, too. A higher-neck style will create the illusion of a larger chest, but may also be more supportive. A plunging neckline can be sexy but also less supportive. If you need support, styles with built-in cups can help lift and round.
Fabric quality is also worth paying attention to. Look for material that has good compression without feeling like it restricts your movement. Another helpful pointer: If you can see through the fabric when you stretch it, it’s probably not going to hold up to normal summer wear and tear (think chlorine, sand, regular washing).
Adjustable styles can also help you score a customized fit. This could be in the form of adjustable straps or ties at the back or sides to help cinch your suit even more.