While the idea of swimming in a pool or walking on a beach sounds glorious, the idea of finding a bathing suit doesn’t generate as much joy. If you’re like most people, the hunt for the perfect swimwear was always problematic. And now, when a lot of us don’t even want to go to a store, this chore just got more tedious.

Buying a bathing suit online is an alternative option – if you do it the right way. Here’s what you need to know before buying swimwear online.

Figure Out What You Want

Swimwear comes in a variety of styles in one-piece and two-piece suits. There are bikinis and  tankini tops, swim rompers, swim shorts, swim skorts, thongs, boy shorts, and swim dresses.   Are you trying to show off your shape or camouflage it? Do you want an underwire or push up style for more support, tummy control options, a thigh minimizing choice, or an allover slimming design?

Functionality is another consideration. Will you be lounging by the pool or do you plan on playing volleyball on the beach or walking around a water park? If you’ll be moving around, you need to be sure the swimwear won’t need constant adjustments – and you can bend over without popping out of it. Also, do you have a favorite color that you insist on wearing, or are you just looking for a good deal? Answering these questions in advance can save you from spending hours searching through various swimwear options.

Reputation Matters

Buying a bathing suit online is probably not the time to experiment with a company you’ve never heard of – especially if it doesn’t have any reviews. Customer reviews are invaluable for learning if a seller’s items fit true to size, or if they run small, etc. If you purchase swimwear from a company with overwhelmingly positive reviews, you’re more likely to get a quality purchase.

However, you need to discern between authentic customer reviews and potentially phony reviews posted by the seller.


If you’re not absolutely, positively sure of your swimsuit size, it’s best to take your measurements. You should measure your bust around the fullest part. When measuring your waist, measure the narrowest part. Your hip measurement should be taken at the widest part of your hips.

These measurements will translate into a specific size. However, depending on how much difference there is between your bust, waist, and hips, you may decide that a two-piece suit is a better option, since it will allow you to purchase the top and the bottom in two different sizes.

Return Policy

Swimsuit return policies vary by company. Some sellers allow customers to return bathing suits – and you may or may not have to pay return shipping charges. In addition, some companies that also have brick and mortar stores will allow you to purchase swimwear online and then return it to a local location.

However, some companies don’t allow customers to return swimwear. All sales are final, so you need to be relatively sure the bathing suit will fit before purchasing from these sellers.

Hygiene Issues

One problem with trying on any type of clothing (whether you  purchased it online or you’re in the store’s dressing room), is hygiene. Several years ago, research by Dr. Philip Tierno, director of microbiology and immunology at New York University, found feces, yeast, respiratory tract bacteria, and skin flora on everything ranging from dresses to blouses, jackets, and pants.

However, swimsuits and underwear had the most flora. Even though consumers are advised to leave their underwear on when trying on swimwear, Tiero’s research reveals that some women don’t do that. So, even though the suit you received was well packaged, there’s no guarantee that it hasn’t been worn by someone else – and then returned.

For safety reasons, you should wear your underwear when trying on bathing suits. And, if you decide to keep the items, be sure to wash them before actually wearing.

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About Terri Williams

Terri Williams is a freelance writer, covering business, finance, real estate, and lifestyle topics.

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