The sun is shining, the days are getting longer, and summer is right around the corner. You can almost feel the heat now — and the cool refreshment a dip in the pool provides. Before you dive in, though, you're going to need a swimsuit. This year make it your best yet.
Swimwear shopping doesn't have to be a dreadful experience. In fact, it's a great thing to do online, far from the harsh fluorescent lights of a department store.
Depending on your plans, you'll want to choose from one of the following categories of swimsuits: competition, fitness, or fashion. While you can wear any of these suits for any purpose in a pinch, you’ll be more comfortable and find the features you need if you stick to the right category. Sierra Trading Post has outlined these categories and gathered information from our swimwear vendors to provide you with a useful guide to approaching this annual rite of spring.
Because swimsuit sizes can differ from lingerie and dress sizes, it's a good idea to measure yourself every year before buying a swimsuit. This is easy — all you need is a measuring tape and a mirror... and as few clothes as possible. Remember to keep the tape measure straight, not twisted, and keep it pulled snug, but not so tight that it's pinching skin.
Now that you’ve taken your measurements, you're ready to find your size. Just like every woman is uniquely beautiful, every swimsuit manufacturer has their own set of size guidelines. We've compiled size charts from several vendors to give you a better idea of how sizes vary. Match your measurements to the appropriate chart below.
Important note: If you are in-between sizes, go with the larger size in the fashion or fitness suit category and the smaller size if you'll be racing in it. For aerodynamics and support, a racing suit should fit snugly.
This part is strictly up to you, no measuring tape needed. The kind of swimming you’ll be doing will determine the type of suit you need to purchase. Swimsuits are generally broken up into three categories. They're each defined for you below, along with the particular brands you'll find at Sierra Trading Post.
If you'll be swimming competitively or training at that level, you’ll benefit greatly from a competition-specific suit. These suits perform by maximizing your speed, reducing drag, and increasing water flow to improve your lap times. And you thought you were doing all the work!
Remember: Competition suits fit much tighter than fitness or fashion suits because compression is essential. If you won't be racing in your competition suit, you'll want to go one size up for a comfortable fit. Don't despair — this doesn't mean you had too much pie at Christmas, just that competition suits are meant to be tight.
Competition swimsuits don't have internal shelf bras or any added support. Instead, they incorporate a tight fit for a streamlined shape. Racing suits will be unlined, but some training suits may feature a front lining for longer life and extra durability.
Durable, performance nylon and a high Lycra® spandex count is the norm for competition suits. These days, most are chlorine resistant and therefore last longer before wearing out.
All competition suits are one-piece style. Most have moderate leg openings, fairly high necklines, racerbacks or high backs for security.
So you want to order a Speedo? This name brand leads the heat at most every swim meet. As you compare your measurements to the chart below, keep in mind that it will be tight and you'll want to go up at least one full size for training or leisure. If you're in between sizes, consider going up a size and a half. Buy true size for racing only.
Worn by Olympic athletes, TYR swims laps around other competitive swimwear brands. As with all competitive swimwear, TYR swimsuits are tight and run small. Compare your measurements to the chart below and add one full size for the most comfort. Buy true size for racing only.
Built for competition and triathlon training, suits from Zoot Sports offer performance features in aerodynamic packages with modest coverage. Be sure to go up one size if choosing a Zoot swimsuit. Compare your measurements below. Buy true size for racing only.
Your idea of the perfect workout is water aerobics or casual laps in the neighborhood pool. You use swimming to stay in shape or supplement an additional fitness regimen. A swimsuit built for fitness is what you need. These suits will fit snug to avoid encumbering you in the water, but won’t be quite as tight as racing styles. Comfort, freedom of movement, coverage and support are what you should be on the lookout for.
Remember: Comfort is king in a fitness suit, so you'll want to buy one size up in most fitness suits and go with a style you'll feel confident wearing during moderate activity. Fashion considerations should be secondary to function, but lucky for you, all of the fitness suits at Sierra Trading Post look great, too. Tip: If you're buying a competition-fitness hybrid suit from Dolfin or TYR, you'll want to go up a size due to the tight fit of these brands.
Most aquatic fitness swimsuits incorporate added support. Note: Support is necessary, especially for water aerobics (you wouldn’t take a step aerobic class without a sport bra, right? Same principle applies here). Support typically comes in one of three forms:
Performance blends of nylon and Lycra® spandex are most commonly used in swimsuits designed for fitness. Look for chlorine-resistant blends for a longer life.
You have a little more leeway when choosing a fitness suit. These swimsuits typically come in one-piece form but there are also two-piece styles available. Again, choose the style you’ll be most comfortable moving in.
For fitness as well as competition, these sleek suits are always in the top tier. As with all fitness swimwear, TYR swimsuits are tight and run small. Compare your measurements to the chart below and add one full size for the most comfort.
Dolfin swimsuits offer fitness performance with more conservative coverage, modest leg cuts and a wider range of sizing. Be sure to go up one size with your Dolfin swimsuit to achieve maximum comfort. Compare your measurements to the chart below.
To heck with working out in a swimsuit — you just want to look good at the beach. Maybe fitness is a priority in your life and maybe not. Either way there's a swimsuit in this category you can wear with confidence. Obviously you'll want the suit you choose to be comfortable, but style also plays a starring role.
Fashion swimsuits will almost always have added support, shaping and, at the very least, lining. Support typically comes in one of three forms:
You'll find the most diverse fabrics in the fashion category. Nylon, spandex, polyester, and even cotton blends will show up here. Fashion swimsuits often incorporate embellishments and added design elements as well.
There are many different types of fashion swimwear. Lounge poolside in an itsy-bitsy, polka-dot bikini, a modest sarong-style or skirted suit, or the increasingly popular tankini. Here's a breakdown of some of the fashion styles you'll find at Sierra Trading Post.
The surf's always up in a Body Glove swimsuit. Stylish bikinis from Body Glove are youthful and just perfect for the beach. At Sierra Trading Post, we sell Body Glove tops and bottoms separately so you can find your perfect fit.
Take an inch or more off your waistline with a swimsuit from Carol Wior. These patented swimsuits utilize special fabrics and features like shirring and side wraps, to comfortably shape, smooth, lift and slim your body. Fit Tip: Carol Wior recommends buying their swimsuit in your true pant size, rolling the suit on like pantyhose, and properly positioning the underwire and waistline for maximum comfort and shape.
Promising to "Make a woman look 10 pounds lighter in 10 seconds"®, the Miraclesuit uses a special fabric called Miratex® to slim and shape your body. The extremely high Lycra® count of this fabric ensures you look and feel amazing. Fit Tip: Miraclesuit recommends going up one size from your pant size, so if your pant size is 10, order a size 12 for optimum fit.