It can be a challenge to find the perfect swimsuit, and even harder to find one if you’re shopping online. Yet, the rise of ‘online-only’ cult-favorite brands like 437 and Frankie’s Bikinis prove that buying online swimwear is doable. We’ve put together this guide to help you navigate the online-swimwear shopping experience. Best of luck and happy shopping!
Check the Return Policy
It can be nerve-wracking trying on bathing in a change room full of strangers. Buying online allows you to try on swimsuits in the comfort of your own home. While it used to be impossible to return swimwear, many brands are adapting their return policies to give more flexibility to the consumer. When purchasing a suit online, always read the company’s return policy. Most brands, including 437 and Monday swimwear, offer exchanges or store credits rather than a full refund. Be wary of sales in the swimwear space, too. Though it’s great to get a deal, it can be risky to buy swimwear at a discount, as returns or exchanges are not an option for sale products. Return policies can usually be found in the FAQ or About sections on a company website.
Lean on Customer Support
Online shopping doesn’t mean you have to shop alone. The majority of established brands have customer support channels, including chatbots or live video chats where you can engage with a sales associate about the size and product fit. Most of these platforms offer live agent support who can assist you during your shopping experience. Use their expertise to help you make a more educated purchasing decision. On some sites, you can even share photos of yourself, so the sales associate can assess your body type and make a style recommendation.
Successful companies have created an eCommerce experience that prioritizes community over transactions. These communities are driven by reviews and message boards from existing customers who share insights about a product’s size, fabric, and fit. Shapewear brand Knix prompts buyers for a review after purchase, and many of its swimsuits have multiple reviews that detail specifics about coverage, support, and suit texture. YouTube and TikTok have also become spaces to post reviews or ‘shop hauls’ where influencers post their experience trying on a variety of suits from one brand. Use these videos as a way to get a sense of the product and to assess if a brand fits your body type or is your style.
Remember when bathing suits were sold in a set? Today, that’s a thing of the past and the majority of swimwear lines sell bottoms and tops separately. After all, everybody is unique. Many swimwear companies offer a sizing chart or fit guide, but more brands are starting to offer ‘smart sizing,’ or an AI tool that uses predictive data to determine the shopper’s correct size. Companies like Style.Me use 3D virtual fitting to help you find the perfect fit. Hopefully, more brands will adopt programs like these in the future, to make the online shopping experience seamless.
It’s All in the Fabric
Swimsuits are generally made from nylon and lycra which gives suit their stretch. While everyone has preferences, the preferred amount of each is an 80-20 split, this is to ensure that your swimsuit gives when needed and retains its shape. Consider the suit’s fabric type when buying online. Crochet suits will have less stretch and likely fit more ‘true to size,’ while a nylon and lycra blend may stretch to give you more coverage. Fabric and garment care details can be found in the ‘description’ section online.