5 Tips for Buying a Swimsuit

Good Housekeeping
June 15, 2012
Find the perfect swimsuit for you
Find the perfect swimsuit for you

1. Check for Customizable Features Finding the right swimsuit is about as hard as finding the right pair of jeans. Make it a little easier by looking for bathing suits that can be adapted to your needs. Adjustable shoulder straps will prevent them from falling down or digging in to your shoulders. Removable cups are also great; if they get old or out of shape, you can easily replace them without buying a whole swimsuit. If you like tankinis, select one with drawstrings that allow you to make the top shorter or longer to flatter your body.

Related: The Best Swimsuits for Your Body Type

2. Examine Embellishments Are sequins or beads sewn on loosely with just a few threads or held tightly by a lot of threads? It's always a disappointment to buy a bathing suit only to have some of the colorful jewels or exotic beads that made it so attractive fall off, making you look sloppy. While you're in the store, check out the similar swimsuits on the rack; if there quite a few with beads or jewels hanging off , chances are your suit isn't going to stand up to a lot of wear and tear

3. Consider Construction Is the whole suit lined or just specific areas? What about stitching? Are there single rows, double rows, or zig-zag stiches? Are there threads coming loose? A high quality suit will be lined throughout and have either double row or zig-zag stitches. If the threads are coming loose in the store, the suit's probably not going to hold up to fun in the sun.

Related: Summer Style Steals

4. Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF). Clothing, including swimsuits, with UPF is a growing trend. UPF gauges a fabric's effectiveness against both UVA and UVB light. The higher the number the more effective it is at blocking out UV rays. Look for a swimsuit with a UPF of 50 or higher which means it allows less than 2% of radiation through.

5. Weigh Price versus Use Even though I'm a product tester here at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute, I have to admit that I don't always give quality top priority when I'm out shopping for myself. If I'm really lusting for a trendy swimsuit, I'll yield to my desire but buy the cheapest one I can find, knowing I probably won't want to wear it more than one season. However, when I'm looking for a classic swimsuit that I'm going to swim a lot of laps in, I'll take the time to inspect the quality and spend a little more cash.

Want to get in shape for swimsuit season by walking or running? Check out our best lightweight walking sneakers and my blog on minimalist running shoes. Are there any must-have features you look for when buying a swimsuit? Let me know in the comments!

- by Jamie Ueda

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