'Light and tight or wet with regret: why fabric matters in a
When the summer season
is in full swing, the shelves of clothing stores are stocked with all different
types and styles of swimsuits and bikinis. Chances are, if you have been
swimsuit shopping lately, you have been somewhat overwhelmed by the abundance
of choices. In the stores, there are about as many styles and cuts of swimsuits
as there are types of bodies to wear them.
While most women consider size, fit, and color
when choosing a swimsuit, there is another significant characteristic of a
swimsuit that many consumers often forget to think about when shopping for and
purchasing a new swimsuit: fabric.
Swimsuit manufacturers like to introduce new
swimsuits made from different types of fabric into the market in order to produce a more unique swimsuit product. However, while a swimsuit made from an exotic fabric
will greatly add to the uniqueness factor of your swimming wardrobe, the type
of fabric a swimsuit is made of greatly affects both the fit and the overall
life of that swimsuit. With all of the different fabric options available for
swimsuit consumers, a brief guide to the strengths and drawbacks of several of
the most common swimsuit fabrics may be quite valuable.
As consumers become less and less fond of
synthetic materials, swimsuits and bikinis made entirely from cotton are
becoming more and more popular. While cotton swimsuits can be extremely cute
and fashionable (not to mention light and airy), they do not always provide the best fit or the greatest overall longevity in a swimsuit. Cotton swimsuits are not
known for staying in place on the body, and they have a tendency to ride up and
bunch (an undesirable characteristic in any swimsuit). As a fabric, cotton does
not stand up long to the destructive nature of chlorine and sun. It is likely
that your cotton swimsuit will fade fairly quickly, especially if you are
swimming in chlorinated pools.
Most swimsuits contain some percentage of
spandex or Lycra in their fabric. These fabrics provide the stretchy fit that
allows a swimsuit to stay in place on the body. Generally, the higher the
percentage of spandex or Lycra in the swimsuit material, the more the swimsuit
is designed for more serious or competitive swimming. While high-spandex
materials cover the body well and smooth out any unsightly body bulges, they
can become tight and uncomfortable. Also, spandex has a tendency to run if
snagged on the side of a concrete pool or on a wooden lounge chair. Because
high-spandex swimsuits are designed for use in serious and competitive swimming
pursuits, however, they are often treated for chlorine resistance. While this
chlorine resistance does not provide complete protection from chlorine, it does
significantly lengthen the lifetime of the swimsuit.
Swimsuits with metallic overlay sewn into the
fabric are designed to be glamorous and eye-catching, but not necessarily to
hold up and endure extensive swimming. While metallic overlay certainly adds a
level of pizzazz and style to any swimsuit, the overlay is guaranteed to fray
and dull after only a short amount of time. In general, swimsuits with metallic
overlay are meant much more for show than they are for getting wet.
Swimsuits made from velvet and other types of
crushed fabrics have become more popular in recent years. A velvet swimsuit is
definitely nice to look at and to touch, but it is not best for either swimsuit
fit or longevity. When wet, velvet has a tendency to soak up water, and can
become quite heavy and sodden. This heaviness causes a velvet swimsuit to sag
away from the body, losing the tight fit that is so necessary in a swimsuit.
Also, velvet is not a fabric meant to come in close contact with chlorine. Like
swimsuits with metallic overlay, velvet swimsuits are much more valuable for
their uniqueness and style factors than they are for their longevity.
In order to ensure that you receive your
desired fit and longevity in your next swimsuit purchase, be sure to check the
tag in the swimsuit before buying it. While all of the above fabrics can make a
decent, good-looking swimsuit, each particular swimsuit fabric is designed for
different reasons and activities. In general, the best way to acquire the best
swimsuit for you, in terms of fabric, is to know what you plan to use the
swimsuit for and where you plan to wear it.
About the Author:
Vanessa Lausch is a writer/editor for More
Swimsuits, an online retail site with more swimsuit options and information for
you. To find more information about swimsuit fabric or fitting options, check