Swimsuit shopping (finally)

Swimsuit shopping, finally

The pool’s been open for two weeks and I’m just now getting around to ordering a swimsuit, even though I knew the elastic on my go-to suit (shown here) was shot.

Our May was insane, and listening to my kids count down to pool opening day was like watching a train wreck: you can see the collision coming but you don’t have time to slow down. Or in this case, to buy a swimsuit.

Hmm. I just used a train wreck analogy in a post about swimsuit shopping. Sounds about right.

I’ve usually worn a two piece, but this year Silas is learning to swim and he’s squirmy and grabby. I’ll be spending a lot of time in the water (and not just in the lounge chair) and I want a cute suit that will stay in place.

And I’m seriously wondering if I’m the only woman on the planet who thinks this, but tank suits are so much more flattering than tankinis: tankinis put a big line at my waist where I don’t want a line to be. I limited my search to one-pieces this year.

Here’s what I’m eyeing:


1. DKNY one shoulder maillot. ($96.)This style is so flattering, but I fear for my tan lines.

2. J. Crew ruched femme tank. ($98.) A classic.

3. MICHAEL Michael Kors linked shirred maillot. ($112.) This is my favorite color EVER.

4. Badgley Mischka draped front maillot. ($71.) Hard to beat a flattering suit in basic black.

I just ordered #1, #3, and #4, (all from Zappos, so it’s easy to try them at home and return the rejects) but they haven’t come yet. I love J. Crew (and they do make fabulous swimwear), but slower shipping + no sales right now makes that pretty grey suit the last place contender. (Maybe I can snatch one up for next year during their swim sale?)

I also have very sensitive skin, which means a rash guard is a necessity. I’m so thankful they’ve become trendy in recent years—it makes finding a cute one much easier! I’m eyeing these:


1. Pret-á-Surf for J. Crew navy stripe rash guard. My favorite, hands down. But $225. (Not happening.)

2. O’Neil skins long sleeve crew. ($39.) A basic with great reviews.

3. Lands’ End Polka dot crew neck swim tee. ($39.) Adorable.

I’ll need to wear it during peak sun hours, because I can only tolerate minimal usage of this very expensive sunscreen, and it needs to look cute with my suit.

I also need a cover up. I like this one from J. Crew, but since it’s basically just a tshirt, I’d love to find something similar for less than $65.

What kind of swimsuit do you wear? Tell us about it and share your swimsuit shopping tips in comments. And if you have opinions about which suit and rash guard I should get, I’m listening!

P.S. What you need to know before you buy a swimsuit online, and how to show that swimsuit who’s boss.

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  1. Corrie Anne says:

    Love Zappos for that reason. And J.Crew stuff seems to always come around on sale if you keep an eye out. I’ve been tempted to try a one piece from anthro, but the cost of shipping/returns is a deterrent for sure. I have a ruffled Juicy Couture swim (almost dress) that I found at TJ Maxx last year. I’m a fan of it because it’s strapless but also covers a lot. The only problem is that it doesn’t really do that well with getting wet… haha.

  2. My only thought is that girl #2 up there in the grey suit needs to EAT SOMETHING. Somebody give her a donut! 😉

    I found a really cute suit at Target about 4 years ago, and since I so rarely get a chance to wear it, it’s still going strong. 😉 I also found some cute suits on clearance at Talbots some years back… not bad. I’ve always been a one-piece gal… usually with shorts or a skirt. Some things just shouldn’t be seen by anyone but the hubs. 😉

    Lands End does have some adorable cover-ups this year.

  3. Have you looked at Boden’s suits? They have the most beautiful black one-piece this year that I love!

    I’m still rocking a J.Crew suit that I bought about 5 years ago and it’s going strong, amazingly, and is in style now since it’s vintage-looking (coral pink with white polka dots). Add a cheap fedora and badaboom! Or at least I like to think so. 😉

  4. Abby says:

    I’ve always been a two piece kind of girl, too. (Makes a trip to the bathroom sooooo much easier.) This year I grabbed a one piece because it was too cute to pass up, and I feel like I’m at an age that I need to dress my age (mid-30’s, but I live in the town I grew up in and sometimes it’s hard to feel like a grown-up). This is, by far, my favorite suit in years: http://shopruche.com/yvonne-polka-dot-one-piece-swimsuit.html

    I love the rashguards. We’ve been wearing them for years (I have red-headed children) and I’m glad to see some cute ones, finally.

  5. sarah says:

    Cute picks! I have the #2 jcrew in red from last year, and I LOVE it! Very flattering and not at all matronly. Also, Athleta has some great rash guards too, if you’re still on the hunt.

  6. Erin says:

    I am totally looking for a swim shirt this year. I am tired of wearing a t-shirt and not feeling cute. I am also tired of having to constantly worry that my sunscreen has stopped working, etc.

  7. Samantha says:

    Have you ever considered wearing a sports bra with a rashguard and bikini bottoms? I’ve done that for a few years now and it makes swimsuit shopping SO much easier (and cheaper and bathroom breaks a breeze). You could buy one short sleeved rash guard (or athletic workout top) and one long sleeved rash guard and since you’re wearing a sports bra underneath (buy a dark color/print), it wouldn’t be a big deal to pull the shirt off and pull on a new one.

  8. Deborah says:

    This post was just what I needed! Stocking up on swimsuits while I’m in the States this summer. We live in the Middle East, so it’s pool season for eleven months of the year. Modest swimsuits are a must, so I’m loving the rash guard trend.

  9. Jessica says:

    What cute suits! I especially love that black one. I tried on at least 4 of J.Crew’s one pieces last year and although people SWEAR by them, they didn’t look right on me. They were much less flattering than their two pieces. I currently wear a Prana 2 piece that I bought on Zappos. Gotta love that free shipping both ways 🙂

  10. Breanne says:

    I got a tankini from La Vie En Rose Aqua a couple of years ago and love it. It’s flattering in all the right spots and keeps me covered yet feeling good about my body. I have two active little girls so I need something I can move in. 😉

    It was pricey but definitely worth it. I echo the Boden recommendation- they have adorable suits and I would say that it’s worth the investment.

  11. Ana says:

    Last year I got the J Crew ruched halter one piece in a burgundy/merlot-type color. I love it. I actually paid full price for it, I was DESPERATE because we started swim lessons in January and couldn’t fit into anything I owned other than the maternity suit (and “baby” was over one year old)
    This year, I snagged the 35% of sales at J Crew and ordered a bunch, I ended up keeping a two piece with a high wasted bottom and a halter top (I like halter tops, apparently) in a gorgeous turquoise color.
    When I find something that works for me, I stick with it. And while I would never shell out for anything else at J Crew, their suits are really flattering and sturdy.

  12. I love Zappos and Swimsuits Direct for free shipping + returns and the good selection. And I agree with Breanne–I’m usually happy paying a little more for a quality suit that fits well and lasts a while.

    I don’t know if you’re the only person on earth with that opinion on one pieces vs. tankinis :), but as much as I try one pieces, they’re just never flattering on me. Or J.Crew suits in general, for that matter.

  13. Kayris says:

    All my current suits are from athleta. I decided a few years ago that when it comes to swimwear, you get what you pay for. And that old navy and target don’t carry suits for girls with boobs.

    I have a one piece “performance” swim from athleta for lap swimming and it’s flattering enough to wear to the beach as well, but I can swim laps without falling out of it or having it ride up my butt. I also have a bunch of bikinis from the same store. They offer lots of mix and match tops and bottoms with the tops sized like bras, so you can get the fit and style that you need.

  14. Moira says:

    I just had a last minute Zappos and Jcrew order myself so I can be pool ready. I’ve been a two piece girl for years, but this summer the boys are swimming all over the place and our swimming pool is on base (and so full of my husband’s co-workers and families)…and I decided that maybe a one piece might be a good idea 🙂 While I didn’t order one yet, I really need to try a rash guard myself since I won’t let my kids go to the pool without them and I burn like crazy in the sun.

  15. Oy, This post is reminding me that I really need to get a new suit before our vacation. Not looking forward to it; it’s the only thing more demoralizing than shopping for jeans.

    I never thought of ordering through Zappos, though. That’s an intriguing idea.

  16. Anna says:

    I invested in the Seafolly Boyleg Maillot in black from Anthropologie last year http://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/product/clothes-swimwear/23716723.jsp?cm_sp=Grid-_-23716723-_-Regular_3#/.

    I bought it online after watching its popularity over the years and reading lots of reviews. It’s a great suit and will last me awhile. Last year I needed to have the bust taken in a bit, but then I got pregnant so this summer it fits perfect (and I’m extra happy to have that ruching on my tummy!) I checked the measurements and paid attention to the reviews which let me know to get 2 sizes bigger. As with all shopping, paying too much attention to the size of your swimsuit will drive you crazy. It’s just a number. You’ll let great in the size that fits, not the size you want to be. I found one in pink for $20 in the Anthropologie sale room last summer and I’m still kicking myself for not snatching it up.

  17. When I found out you can buy Land’s End suits by cup size, I was all over it. I invested in one a few years ago and since I don’t swim too much it’s going strong. It’s flattering and keeps the girls under control.

    Finding my 5-year-old daughter a suit that is two pieces (for potty ease) but not a bikini, however, is proving to be more of an issue.

  18. Leanne says:

    I have an almost identical Bagdley Mischka suit in dark brown- it’s fantastic! Flattering and yet soft/comfortable. A classic designer suit is always worth the money. I also love retro 50’s-style bathing suits from ModCloth. They “suit” my hourglass figure perfectly. With a floppy sun hat and big sunglasses, I feel like a movie star.

  19. Stephanie says:

    Modcloth.com has some cute suits, though I think their one pieces are cuter than their bikinis. I got this one last year and have gotten so many compliments: http://www.modcloth.com/shop/onepiece-swimwear/beach-blanket-bingo-one-piece-swimsuit-in-red. (If you go for that suit or that brand– Esther Williams– size up one or TWO sizes because it runs really small.) People can post photos in their reviews, and this suit seems to work with ALL body types. Everyone looks very classy and beautiful.

    • Anne says:

      I love their style; I’m a little jumpy about ordering from a site I’m not super familiar with but how awesome that people can post photos in their reviews!

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