How To Prolong the Life of Your Bathing Suit
Choosing a swimsuit can be time-consuming, with so many styles and fabrics to choose from. As any avid beachgoer knows, feeling good in your bathing suit is all about body confidence. However, quality fabrics and custom fitting go a long way towards achieving that goal!
Once you’ve found that perfect piece, learn how to prolong the life of your bathing suit.
Choosing a Swimsuit That Will Last
The first step is determining how to identify a well-made garment that will pass the test of time. Here are some of the indicators to look for when you are trying to find a long-lasting bathing suit.
- Handmade quality – Simply put, a well-made suit is built to last. A bathing suit that is made by hand provides the most accurate fit, with measurements that are guaranteed “true to size.” Hand-sewn garments will be free of any tiny snags or micro-tears that may be inadvertently caused by machines, or by rough handling in industrial factories. This means that your suit will arrive in perfect condition, with all sizing and seams double-checked. The hand-sewing process utilizes quality threads to make sure seams are secure, as well as quality dyes to combat fading or discolouration. Though handmade items may have a slightly higher purchase price, this is offset by your long-term savings, since you won’t have to replace your suit as often.
- Seamless styles – While style-conscious swimmers often choose seamless looks based on aesthetic appeal, this technique also enhances a suit’s durability. Seams are often the first area of a suit to show signs of wear and tear, and once a seam is compromised, you won’t be wearing that suit much longer. Seamless construction also minimizes stretching, and it makes your outfit less susceptible to damage during washing, or from contact with any item that could snag exposed threads.
- Reversible pieces – A reversible suit will be double-lined, meaning that both sides of the swimsuit are surfaced with a layer of soft fabric. While this means you can wear your suit “inside out” if desired, the primary benefit of a reversible suit is increased durability. The lining will strengthen the material, making it more resistant to damage and thinning. This helps fend off the undesirable see-through effect that can result from flimsy fabrics.
- Quality fabrics – Higher-quality fabrics don’t just feel great; they also last considerably longer. Look for lined materials with an ultra-soft finish. For beachwear, recycled nylon/spandex blends create a particularly durable, stretch-resistant suit (and they’re eco-friendly to boot!).
If your swimsuit will come into regular contact with chlorine (for pool use rather than in oceans or lakes), polyester blends are very resilient and quick-drying. While nylon is a popular, cost-effective material, it should be avoided for pool use unless it is blended with another fabric, as it is less resistant to chemical damage. Cotton blends are now used in some inexpensive suits, but cotton is more prone to sustain damage from saltwater, sun and chlorine.
- A good fit – A perfect fit makes you feel great, making it more likely that you’ll wear your suit confidently for several seasons. However, the benefits of a well-fitted piece go beyond personal satisfaction and stylistic appeal. Accurate sizing means that your outfit won’t dig into skin unflatteringly and no one area of the fabric will be unduly strained (which hastens fading and thinning). While any suit will stretch slightly over time, a perfectly-fitted piece will stay moulded to your body, meaning that coverage and comfort won’t be compromised.
If you’re shopping in-store, select a retailer with experienced consultants to help you make the best choice for your body. Be sure to discuss your suits’ intended use (e.g. as beachwear or for athletics) so your consultant can direct you towards fabrics that will withstand the anticipated level of wear and tear.
- Custom-fitting – For the most flattering effect, consider a custom-fitted suit. By guaranteeing that your outfit will match your proportions, stretching will be reduced. This can be a uniquely appealing option for women requiring differently-sized tops and bottoms. Since every body is different, sizing charts may not always match individual overall proportions. Custom-fit swimwear means you don’t have to guess about sizing, and two-piece suits can be constructed to accentuate curves without unnecessary tightness in any one area.
Making A Good Thing Last
After making sure you’ve chosen a well-made, comfortable bathing suit, follow the manufacturer’s care guidelines to preserve the garment’s shape and integrity. Regardless of fabric or style, these tips will keep your swimwear looking its best, so that you can look your best all summer!
Here are some key things to be mindful of when caring for your swimsuit:
- Rinse after use – This step significantly increases your chances of enjoying that favourite bathing suit next season. While rinsing is vital if your swimsuit has come into contact with chlorine, many bathers may not realize that sweat, salt, sunscreen and bug spray can also take a toll on the material. Any chemicals or oil residue will eventually break down the fabric and could result in unsightly staining.
Rinsing removes lingering sand particles, which can contribute to pilling and fading. Rinse your suit as soon as possible after a swim. One easy way to do this is to wear it into the shower at the pool! If you do, however, remember only to use cold water, and avoid soaps and shampoos while wearing your suit.
- Avoid harsh detergents – Make sure that any soaps are specially formulated for delicate fabrics. Ideally, find a cleanser for high-spandex cloths to prevent damage and preserve your suit’s colour. Use no more than a tablespoon of liquid detergent, washing in a sink or basin. Powder solutions should be avoided, as they are more difficult to rinse out. Never use bleach on a bathing suit.
- Lay flat to dry – Avoid leaving your suit bundled up in a towel; the priority should be to allow the fabric to dry as soon as possible, after removing any chemical residue via rinsing. A suit that is allowed to remain wet is more susceptible to bacterial growth, which will shorten its life span and result in potential health issues. Hanging a damp bathing suit can result in excessive stretching, due to the weight of the water. Lay wet bathing suits on a dry towel, or horizontal drying rack. Make sure that no moisture whatsoever remains in your outfit when it’s stored.
- Avoid twisting – The wringing and spinning motions of a washing machine can warp bathing suit fabrics. Hand washing will help prevent misshapen garments, but it’s also essential to avoid “wringing” movements when squeezing water out by hand. Gently squeeze droplets out by compressing the material, taking care never to twist. A wet suit can be pressed between towels to remove excess moisture, and then promptly removed and left to air-dry on a dry, non-porous surface.
- Use cold water – Bathing suits should always be rinsed and washed in cold water. An additional benefit of cold water washing is that it’s eco-friendly! What’s best for your suit is also best for the planet.
Since any heat contributes to fading and fabric damage, a bathing suit should never be ironed, and should never be placed in a dryer. Hot-drying your swimsuit can result in irreversible shrinkage (and could also stretch fabric, similar to a washing machine).
UV rays can have a fading effect over time, so if you plan to sun-dry a wet bathing suit, lay it out flat in a shaded area.
Once you’ve found that perfectly fitted, flattering summer style, get the most out of your purchase by keeping it in peak condition. A few simple steps will help keep your suit looking its best, allowing you to focus on fun in the sun! Since long-lasting style starts with quality garments, call (647) 347-7946 to chat with an experienced swimwear specialist, or visit our Toronto retail location. At Unika, we combine luxury fabrics with unparalleled tailoring, creating beautiful pieces that last.