Shopping online is almost always preferable. You can sit on the sofa with Netflix on in the background while you do it, plus you'll nearly always find a better deal on the virtual shelves. And although we were skeptical at first of the web's ability to deliver a well-fitted swimsuit, these tips will show you how to avoid the pitfalls and get pool-ready from the comfort of your home.
How to Buy a Swimsuit Online
Whether you're shopping for a bathing suit that will help perfect your front crawl, or just want to look great while lounging on the beach, follow the below advice for buying swimsuits online.
Take Your Measurements
The biggest challenge when determining how to buy a swimsuit online is sizing. The best way to ensure you're getting the right size is by taking detailed notes of your measurements. If your sewing kit lacks a simple tape measure, you can easily find one for $5 or less online and at stores like Joann Fabric.
Most retailers will indicate the exact measurements of each of their pieces on the product page, which means you just have to do the math and make the right choice for your hips, tum, and bust. Lands' End even has a how-to video on measuring your beach body for those confusedly entangled in tape and numbers. Be aware that many stores identify on each product page if sizes "run big" or "run small," which is something else to keep in mind when making your purchase.
Know How a Brand Fits
If you've shopped for swimsuits in-store, then you probably have an idea of how certain brands fit your body. This is a plus when buying swimsuits online, as you'll know what to expect. However, in lieu of shopping in-store, go by your measurements and read reviews to use your best judgement.
Buy Multiple Sizes of Swimsuits Online
If you can afford to do it, buying multiple sizes of the same style of swimsuit is a great way to ensure you'll get your piece on the first go. If doing so, make sure that you're buying from a store that offers free returns and allows returns on swimwear (with tags still attached, of course). Orders from many stores come with prepaid return labels, which means you don't have to front the postage fees. Others require you to pay the return postage fee initially, but refund you once the returns are processed. Check out each store's refunds-and-returns policy before stocking up your cart.
Prime swimsuit shoppers are in luck if trying on multiple sizes is their game plan, as they can take advantage of Prime Wardrobe. Members can receive a shipment with up to eight apparel, shoe, and jewelry items, and then only pay for the ones they choose to keep. The important thing to note is that not all styles and sizes are available for Prime Wardrobe, so be careful when choosing.
Work With Flattering Styles
If you're feeling less than confident in buying a swimsuit online, know that countless tips and tricks can help you find the right pieces to accentuate your size and shape. Of the many style guides online, we think that this HuffPost how-to pretty much nails what you need to make the right purchase — whether you're big, small, or hiding cellulite.
Identify Your Needs
Swimsuit shoppers all have different needs, depending on whether they're swimming laps in the pool or just sunbathing. Identifying what you need from your purchase is key, so you can shop smart and avoid wasting time and money.
Designer stores certainly satisfy the sartorially inclined, but if you're working on your backstroke, you may be looking for something streamlined. For serious swimmers, we recommend the likes of Speedo and SwimOutlet.com — retailers that sell more durable one-pieces that offer water resistance and increased muscle support. Both of these stores, as well as Solartex, also offer specialized swimwear with increased UV protection. These pieces are a great option for those who need extra coverage.
SEE ALSO: How to Keep Clothes From Fading
By identifying your needs and then buying your swimsuit online, you're less likely to waste money on swimsuits that just don't suit your needs.
Shop Around for the Best Price
Although summertime won't be the best time of the year to shop for new swimsuits, we have seen strong discounts in the past. Last summer, Macy's cut up to 81% off swimsuits and Seafolly knocked up to 70% off; Macy's also knocked 25% off Nike swimwear. Keep in mind that designer swimwear costs less at stores like 6pm, too, so consider perusing their offerings before checking out big-brand stores.
Check for Coupons
Being in the business of cutting down costs, we encourage you to not just shop around, but always check for coupon codes to drop prices at swimsuit-filled stores. Retailers like the Gap, Lands' End, and Victoria's Secret frequently tout sitewide coupon offers that can land you all-time lows, even on brand-new stock. (Don't forget about the coupons at the Victoria's Secret Semi-Annual Sale, either!)
Not only could you cut down prices on stylish pieces, but you might just qualify for free shipping, or even bag some freebies with your purchases depending on the day — Victoria's Secret, for example, has previously given away gifts of towels or tote bags with select purchases!
Skip Final Sale Items
Being wary of final sale items is standard practice when shopping — unless you're absolutely certain that you want a piece — but it's especially important when buying swimsuits online. Items that are marked as "final sale" can't be returned for a refund or an exchange. No matter how confident you are in the size fitting or in the style suiting your shape, when purchasing something as form-fitting as swimwear, we recommend that you only opt for an item you could return, if needed.
Always double-check the return policies on swimwear at your chosen store, as some outlets may refuse returns of swimwear for hygiene reasons. If your bikini bottoms or one-piece comes with hygiene tape in place, don't remove it before trying your piece on, as that can mean returns will no longer be accepted.
Buy Swimsuits Online for Your Current Size
It's sometimes hard to not want to wish yourself skinny in time for summer, especially when you're swamped with images of the "perfect beach body" in every magazine you read and Instagram post you like. But don't make promises to diet and order a swimsuit that's intentionally two sizes too small. You'll not only give your confidence a knock, but you'll waste money. Know that there's no such thing as the perfect beach body and instead, read up on what style can best flatter your body shape.
Many stores are already offering great discounts on swimsuits, so make sure to bookmark this page if you're in the market for some beach-friendly ensembles.
Readers, what are your do's and don'ts when buying swimsuits online? Where do you like to shop for swimwear? Let us know in the comments below!