It makes sense why swimsuits are the most popular summer wardrobe item. They're comfortable to wear and light. Thus, wearing one should be a happy occasion.
Shopping for swimsuits is not as enjoyable as it sounds, your pocketbook then serves as a reminder. Wondering why they are so expensive? To learn more about this annoying subject, keep reading.
Even though swimsuits are pricey, it's not your fault. Fighting the system is impossible! It turns out that a wide range of elements affect swimsuit prices.
Swimwear is rather pricey. Why? The three factors that determine the answer are labour, material, and retail markup. The first reason swimsuit materials are expensive is that they need to be strong and comfortable in the water.
Second, swimsuit retail margins might reach 40% or 50%. Third, creating a comfortable garment that also stays in place as you swim laps at your neighbourhood pool requires a lot of human labour, which you are paying for.
Many people are unaware that swimsuit designers must devote significantly more effort to each design than do designers of other types of clothing.
Designers of swimwear must take into account how to prevent women's breasts from popping out when they dive in and ensure that the garment stays snug around the waist.
They must also make sure there is enough cloth at the bottom to allow for movement without exposing your thighs. Because of the time and labour involved, swimwear is more expensive than everyday clothing.
To help you understand why they are so expensive and what you can do about them, we'll break down these elements.
The most frequent justification for expensive suits is that designers strive to set their goods apart from competing brands.
When someone presents himself in a suit in public, it promotes them! Their need for attention drives designers to incorporate more distinctive characteristics like decorations or distinctive textiles.
Everyone is thinking about swimsuits now that summer has here. However, if you're anything like me (and perhaps not alone), you have trouble finding a swimsuit that matches your body type.
Most women are unaware that swimwear has historically been created with the "average" body type in mind.
Because they simply don't fit well, many of us are unable to wear them. Additionally, it's sometimes incredibly pricey even when we do locate something that fits our body shape!
However, there are solutions to these problems! This blog post will cover why swimwear is so expensive as well as how to still enjoy the sun without going over budget or worrying about fitting in.
Let's get going!
1. Well, Do You want to Look Good And Feel Comfortable While You're Mostly Naked Or Nah?
With swimwear, less is frequently literally more. I mean more money. For essentially water-ready shorts, designer labels will demand hundreds of dollars for men's trunks.
And how much does women's swimwear cost? Why do clothing made of of little material cost so much money? As it turns out, there are many additional factors contributing to swimsuit prices.
We looked far and wide for solutions with Michael Leva, a former senior vice president of Victoria's Secret and co-founder of Sea Star Beachwear.
2. There’s A Reason Some Women Pay Hundreds Of Dollars For Inches Of Cloth
Women have a summer routine where they enter a store, choose a colourful swimsuit from a variety of vividly coloured cousins, look at the price tag, then quickly put the suit back on the rack so it doesn't immediately charge their credit card.
Women's swimsuits, the go-to attire for summertime getaways and steamy poolside days, can easily cost $100 or more. Therefore, how can a little number of fabric squares, threads, and clasps fetch such a high price?
Women's swimsuits, although being revealing, are intricate clothing items whose costs are connected to the difficulties of worldwide production, seasonal selling, and designing for a variety of activities and body shapes.
According to Kent State University fashion marketing professor Nancy Stanforth, creating even a basic swimsuit is just as difficult as creating a dress. Designers must advance current trends while carefully taking cost into account.
According to an NPD Group survey, fit is more important to women than comfort, style, quality, and price when choosing a swimsuit. A swimsuit should ideally compress in certain areas while displaying others.
The wearer will be at ease and confident because it won't ride up, come undone with the first wave, or jump off the diving board.
Customers are more judgemental of their bodies because they are wearing less clothing.
It's more difficult to develop a suit that feels nice, is innovative, and fashion-forward because we're working with a smaller canvas, according to swimsuit designer Karla Colletto of Karla Colletto Swimwear.
Added to the cost of swimwear is? They are elastic. Stretchable fabrics, which transformed women's swimwear in the 1960s, cost more than many other types of fabric (such the hardy nylon or cotton used in men's swimwear).
Additionally, special equipment is required by producers to handle the spandex, lycra, and other materials commonly seen in women's swimwear.
Due to its extensive use, swimsuit material is extremely costly. These materials, along with other swimsuit parts like underwires, must be able to withstand a variety of activities and environmental factors like water, chlorine, sand, salt, and sun.
According to Samara Fetto, "The item's technical stability and ability to survive swimming, sunbathing, etc. are just as vital as how fantastic the style appears." She oversees the swimwear department for the online clothing store ModCloth.
Swimsuits only stay on store shelves for a short while, which drives up the cost of clothing. Additionally, because the peak period for consumer demand only lasts for a few months of the year, designers have less leeway in determining how quickly they can have clothing produced abroad and sent back to the United States.
They receive lower production discounts due to the constrained timeframe and smaller volumes. Designers whose limited-run suits are produced in smaller quantities must pay more. Colletto, for example, has taken the uncommon step of producing her outfits at her Vienna, Virginia, factory in order to avoid the hassles and expensive expenses of manufacturing elsewhere.
Although seasonality may add a few dollars to the cost of your new bikini, it's not as difficult to find a suit off-season as it formerly was.
Before the introduction of online shopping, buying a swimsuit meant making a trip to the department store anytime between the last snowfall and the first blast of air conditioning.
While Americans are hoarding winter coats and snow boots, online retailers may offer bikinis to Australians planning beach vacations. Online retailers can also provide a wider range of sizes, especially plus sizes.
At ModCloth, "plus-size swimwear has been a significant growth potential, and we have experienced incredible success with it," says Fetto. The extended shopping seasons and wider selection of sizes haven't, unfortunately, resulted in lower prices for consumers.
However, according to Christine Schmidt, author of The Swimsuit: Fashion From Poolside to Catwalk, swimwear has historically been accessible to all, much like swimming. Just like you don't need to spend all of your saved money on a trip to the French Riviera to escape the heat, you don't need to.
A swimsuit could be made at home using a store-bought pattern in the 1920s, or you could buy one from one of the elite French fashion designers' just launched collections.
The swimwear market, which generates $3.5 billion annually and is expanding, with 70% of sales going to women's swimwear, is currently flooded with competition.
Even the most basic of suits—the tiny black bikini—is sold for less at stores like Target and H&M than it would at Victoria's Secret or 10 times as much with a Dolce & Gabbana label.
Lower prices and more justifications to spend time at the pool result from increased competition. Just remember to wear sunblock.
3. Seriously Though: All That Money For Nylon Or Lycra Or Whatever?
That's not how it works, cabana boy. First of all, according to Leva, there is a general rule that the larger an item is, the simpler it is to create it at a cheaper cost. In other words, scale economies!
But the swimwear market is full of smaller firms producing smaller amounts, which will always cost more, outside of fast-fashion mall chains and big-box department shops.
So, there you go. Additionally, they purchase less swimsuits than other clothing items like T-shirts.
4. Okay, But A Bikini Is Just Triangles And String, Right?
Good ones aren't! This is quite significant. Leva claims that all well-made swimsuits, especially those for women, are engineered, including "the lines, the fitting, the inner structures." Fit is important in a bathing suit.
Consider the fact that, aside from underwear, it is the item of clothing that individuals feel the most self-conscious wearing. This is because a swimsuit's fit, cut, and profile have a disproportionately large impact on how you appear because the majority of your body is exposed.
Look at the difference between, example, the "Bond, James Bond"-like look of an Orlebar Brown swimsuit and a long-inseam, stovepipe-leg swim short made by a major footwear manufacturer.
The other exudes sex appeal, or at least gives the impression that you are at least somewhat aware of what looks nice on a human body, whereas the former looks like a couple of goddamn church bells. Naturally, you'll be responsible for paying the difference as well as some other expenses that we'll discuss later.
And don't forget about the women wearing bikinis; a bad one may ride up or droop, doing the opposite of staying in place. Bikinis are designed to display some things while hiding others.
It costs time and money to engineer the fit, and for both men and women, the fit is what distinguishes inexpensive from costly swimwear.
5. Fit And Production Size, Got It. Why Else Are They Expensive?
market trends now! Leva notes that sustainability is the current fashion buzzword, and the majority of venture capital funding for fashion is focused on potential new brands.
For example, customers will pay more for a product made in Italy using recycled fishing nets than for one produced in a sweatshop in a badly exploited nation.
The body positivity movement is another, and it's still growing. Finally, a specific group of women have been underrepresented in swimwear for so long that they will undoubtedly spend a little bit more for a swimsuit that has been carefully thought out and is engineered to make them appear better.
6. What About The Materials?
Let's say you've ever worn a budget bikini. If so, you are probably well aware of its abrasiveness, as well as that of cheap liners, elastic waistbands that eventually stop expanding, and nylon that doesn't feel soft at all.
While men's suits can be made of many different materials, including cotton and seersucker in addition to nylon, women's suits must be made of specific materials in order to fit properly.
Durability comes after all of that, as nicer suits will show in the future. Similar considerations apply to good boardshorts, which are made to resist the demands of surfing, including paddling, prolonged sitting, being flung around in whitewater, and peeing.
Any respectable suit, whether for men or women, must also be resistant to UV rays, chlorine, and seawater. Bonus points if the same material has a plush or opulent feel!
7. What’s With Those Crazy Expensive Swimsuits, Though?
Given that some of those are from high-end brands like D&G or Tom Ford, their price will be obvious.
However, women's swimwear has its own pricey brands, such Norma Kamali and Eres, one of the priciest in the world; a suit may cost you up to 600 dollars.
But Leva adds, "When you see an Eres outfit, it's incredible." It enhances the wearer's appearance. Additionally, they make use of pricey fabrics like exquisite-to-the-touch crepe yarn that resembles double-faced satin. A whole luxury of fiction, he claims.
8. Still Not Convinced That That Isn’t An Insane Amount To Spend On Swimwear, So Tell Me, What’s The Best Value In Swimsuits?
Leva claims that performance labels like Speedo are to blame (keep in mind, these brands make much more for men than just the Olympic-style racing briefs that everyone calls "a Speedo").
The performance is a pretty good bargain, according to Leva, who adds that the company has been at it for decades and that their engineering and fabric development are excellent. Everything there makes sense. He does, however, regret one aspect of this swimwear market:
There isn't a lot of a fashion element or a fashion house inside performance companies. He believes it would be lucrative if they did. But he adds, "Very few brands, even successful ones, like to venture outside of their comfort zone.
9. So With Swimwear, You Kinda, Mostly Get What You Pay For?
Yes, if you're willing to spend money on a suit that won't harm you or fall apart and makes you look decent.
The economies of the swimsuit industry, the time and labour that go into the crucial fit, together with the materials — whether they're for comfort or luxury, durability or even performance — it all adds up.
Lucky you if the lining doesn't harm you and you look nice in a cheap bikini because these things usually cost money. But since it's the only thing hiding your flaw-filled, virtually naked body in public, the price is pretty much justified.
10. Pros & Cons
Is it just us, or does the cost of swimwear seem to increase every year? Even while high-quality suits have never been inexpensive, statistics indicates that the most widely-sold brands today sell for an average of $263, if not more. This makes us question why swimwear is so pricey.
After all, swimsuits need a lot less fabric than other garments, and they must also be produced much faster. I guess not quite. We spoke to specialists in the subject, and it became evident to us that the solution is complicated, as with most things.
Please continue reading to learn what experts have to say about the price and manufacturing of swimwear. At the conclusion, you may shop a couple of our favourite sets.
The data scientists believe that popular construction techniques used today, like crochet, are becoming more sophisticated and time- and labor-intensive, especially if they are handcrafted.
The creator of It-girl-favorite, albeit now-defunct, line Giejo, Gabby Sabharwal, agrees. Although swimwear may not need a lot of fabric, there are other technological considerations that make it more expensive and labor-intensive to design.
This covers every aspect, including the usage of elastics and wires as well as unusual stitching and boning techniques. Keep in mind that swimsuits need textiles that are resistant to chlorine and water, which complicates the design and production process.
Finding a fabric with the proper amount of stretch for the pattern might be particularly difficult, she observes.
Sabra Krock, the design director of Everything but Water, adds, "[Swimwear] needs to work effectively and can't pinch bow, or bulk." She praises European swim fabric as the best, made with yarn that is thinner but durable enough to withstand everything that nature throws at it.
She adds that everything from the trims to the hooks must withstand the abrasion of chemicals, salinity, and extreme heat. However, it's not just the fabric that must last. When you put in cherished features like macramé, ruching, and hardware, the price only goes up.
We think that the root of price hikes is this high-fashion take on swimwear—a more-is-more mentality, if you will. Along with that, the emergence of social media influencers and bloggers has made swimwear a more desirable category, which some claim has benefited more from social media than any other.
How therefore can you be certain that the bikinis you're purchasing are pricey? Check the label, advises Sabharwal. "What substances are employed? What country created the swimsuit?
What are the recommended care steps? In America or Europe, she advises searching for suits made of polys, nylons, and some spandex that can be hand- or machine-washed.
Krock contends that "you do get what you pay for." "Cheap suits fade more quickly, pull, pill, and become saggy when wet. On the other hand, a more pricey suit is well worth the investment and will look great for years with good care."
11. Here's the Answer
Here are five summertime occurrences that I can pretty much always count on:
- Super-fun barbeques on Saturdays
- Long weekend beach trips
- Weeknights that are warm are ideal for dining outside in the West Village.
- Endless large glasses of iced tea with mint and...
- Total, mind-blowing sticker shock while buying swimsuits
Ladies, be serious. Tell me that situation five hasn't occurred to you.
Why do the price tags on these flexible, one-season clothes, which are so little you could wrap them up and fit them into your pocket if necessary, frequently reach the $100 or $200 range?
Why is a black one-piece with a designer label so much more expensive than a $20 black tank suit from a mass-market retailer?
There are four key reasons swimwear can be so expensive.
- Swimsuits need to fit well, and that's hard.
According to fashion designer Karla Colletto, "the clients are more critical of their bodies since they wear less."
"Since we have a little canvas, it's harder to design a suit that feels nice, is inventive, and fashionable."
Since the fit of swimwear is so crucial—truly, none of us would purchase or wear a bathing suit that didn't fit like a glove—designs and patterns require more time and labour to develop, implement, and perfect.
- Stretchy fabrics are more expensive.
Spandex and Lycra are just more expensive than, example, cotton or nylon.
- Resilience and performance.
Swimwear should also take resilience and performance into account.
The construction of your new swimsuit needs to be able to support things like metal and plastic clasps, straps, ties, and other construction elements—like, say, underwire or padding—in addition to being able to withstand a season full of sand, salt, ocean, dirt, sun, chlorine, and constant exposure to the elements.
- Supply and demand of a one-season garment.
Designers must determine the most effective and cost-effective technique to produce swimwear because the majority of it is sold in the summer. As a result, it only appears on store shelves for three to four months of the year.
For many businesses, this entails working with domestic rather than foreign facilities and forgoing production reductions typically associated with larger orders.