Swimsuits are one of the most difficult things a woman will ever buy. I often say that when wearing one, it is the most naked she will ever be in public. There’s a lot of pressure in that. Some people believe that swimsuits shouldn’t be expensive because they are so minimal. Others believe that the more you spend, the better you’ll look, and still others fall somewhere in between. Personally, I love quality. My extensive experience in garment construction and also swimwear construction has taught me that quality can be had at a reasonable price-you just have to know what to look for to get it. Also, you have to know your body, (as we discussed in the post, “If the Suit Fits”.)
So where do you start or even go to get a quality suit? My only rule that I typically advise when asked this question is: Budget retailers, (I don’t want to name names, but if you can buy groceries there, this is the type of place I speak of), carry very, very cute swimsuits, but sometimes are lacking the type of construction and support that most women’s bodies will require. This is a great place for a teen age girl to get her suit, it’s the type of place I used to get mine from when I was growing up.
Once your body develops and has different needs however, your suit should provide those needs. Look for lining, this will prevent the suit from being too flimsy when wet and will help you maintain modesty. Underwire or shelf bras are always great if you need support for your breasts. Removable inserts in the top do more than give a fuller look, they also provide modesty when you get out of the water and are cold…..You can get thin ones from any fabric store if the original ones are too padded. It may sound simple, but the hygienic liners in the bottoms are always important to me to try the suit on (TIP:- ask for a new one, the store always has rolls of this stuff behind the counter). Better brands will use them to sell their suits.
Also look for how durable the hooks are if your top has them. Are the straps adjustable (if wearing an underwire)? Are the straps removable? Are there a few loops to put the hook in or only one? All of these little things speak to the quality. Stretch the elastic to see if the stitch “cracks” (basically, the thread breaking from you pulling it, within reason of course). If the stitch does “crack”, don’t get it. There’s a million construction reasons that could explain this, but a quality brand would answer this issue before presenting the swimsuit to you, the consumer and you don’t want to have it on when you find out what those reasons are. Lastly, how does the fabric feel? Nice and soft or harsh and tough?
Now that you know what a quality suit will look and feel like where do you get them? An expensive price doesn’t equal quality. If you’re on a budget, go to TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Century 21,seriously. You don’t have a choice of what they have to offer, but sometimes you can luck out. Finding your size may be tricky, and finding a matching top and bottom may also prove difficult. What they have is what your options are.
If your budget is higher, brands like Trina Turk, VIX, La Blanca, Gottex, Nager By Nic Hyl, Norma Kamali, Charlie By MZ, Lisa Fernandez, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and many, many more brands all offer quality suits. They are typically more fashionable, and vary in price range from $125 on the low end to $1,000 on the high end (all the swimsuits in Beyonce’s “Pretty Hurts” video were Norma Kamali; in “Drunk in Love” she wears Charlie by MZ). But sales do exist for people like me who just love a deal. Shop off season, (so buy your swimsuit in the winter) and you can probably find a great, quality suit for not that much.
So what’s in a name? Exactly what you put into it.
Norma Kamali Halter Bill Bra Nager By Nic Hyl Retro Bottoms Nager by Nic Hyl Underwire Bra Vix Bikini Bottoms
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