Click It or Kick It – Can You Really Shop for Swimsuits Online?
Oh my, those thighs. Why are they suddenly meeting in the middle? And has my tummy really gotten this big? Those are the questions that we, as women, ask ourselves in the harsh dressing-room lighting, in front of the mirror, squarely facing what has "happened" to our bodies over the winter. Sounds like a fun experience, right? Not to mention, wrapped around your ankles you have a toddler who keeps opening and closing the dressing room door. It’s not easy when springtime rolls around and beach/pool season is here. We’ve got to get the garb, but finding the right swimsuit is seemingly impossible.
That’s where online shopping comes in. You can do it from the comfort of your own home, without facing those mirrors and that fluorescent lighting. But can it really be done? Lacking the help of trained sales staff and not exactly knowing what your sizes are and what styles look best for your body can make searching for a swimsuit online a frustrating process. Well, retailers are finally stepping up to offer tools to consumers like fit charts, live chat, shop by body type, measurement instructions and even instructional videos that make you feel as if their trained sales staff is right there with you, every step of the way.
As a bra guru and a style expert, the most frequent question I get asked, next to finding the right bra, is how to find the right swimsuit. Many women are hooked on tankinis, or relegate themselves to a one-piece, simply because they don’t know what else might “look good,” or they’re constantly covering themselves up.
As swimsuit season kicks into full gear, I am offering my top tips for finding the best swimsuit for you, without ever stepping foot in the store.
Don't go by your "normal" size. Often, when you’re shopping for swimsuits, the swimsuit sizes don’t necessarily correlate with your “normal” pants or dress size. That’s why it’s oh-so-important to check out that vendor’s size chart and really understand how their sizing system works, so you can find the best fit. Some websites, like Lands’ End, want you to be specific on your measurements because their size offerings are so specific (they offer long-torso, cup-sized swimwear and even mastectomy swimwear), so be sure to have your measurements on hand and follow the instructions provided on the website. You’ll need a sewing tape measure that you can find at any drugstore – the same kind that’s used to measure women for bras.
Use available resources. Use the resources on the site, like live chat, “body type recommendations” and fit videos (SwimSpot.com offers these, which are hosted by their own in-store sales staff/fitters), or even read other customer’s reviews, because often they will tell you if they think a “suit ran small” etc. I personally love sites that offer a “shop by your body type” feature. For example, I’m a 34DD, which is considered "busty," and on SwimSpot.com, I can shop for suits that are suitable for full busts. Once I click that, I am brought to a page with an array of options just for me. On LandsEnd.com, you can actually shop by the “solution” you are looking for. Hate those thighs? Shop their “thigh-concealing” swimsuits page. Want to slim your hips? Click there and you’ll find a bunch of suits that will do that. They offer 6 categories just like these that make it much easier for you to navigate the maze of hundreds of suits.
Take two. I always say if you can afford to, order the suit you love in at least two sizes – what you think your size is, and then one size up, and return the one that doesn’t fit as well. That way you have a better chance of getting the perfect fit the first time around. It’s more cost-effective to just place orders at once and not have to pay for shipping twice. Also, be sure to check out the site’s return policy. Most companies that are e-commerce-based will have great return policies and really work with you until you are satisfied with your purchase.
Come back soon for some fun videos featuring yours truly, including three moms of varying body shapes who find the perfect shorts, swimsuits, summer dresses and hats!