Shopping for a swimsuit is a tricky business. The thought of stripping down and exposing yourself to the harsh lights that laugh at your every dimple is daunting, to say the least. Perhaps that’s why I have hung on to my tried-and-true swimsuits for a few years, even when they are clearly past their prime, preserving them and treating them with great care so that I can avoid the process just one more year. But all the gentle care in the world can’t change the fact that I need a new swimsuit – and fast, because the weather is warming up quickly. Isn’t there another way to shop? …
The answer is: yes! You can shop for a swimsuit online. I have never considered online swimsuit shopping; like many other women I simply braved those harsh fluorescent department store lights and small, cramped dressing rooms – hoping for the best. But this time I wanted to try something different and the thought of shopping in the comfort of my own home was enticing. I also wanted something specific: a swimsuit from the Lisa Curran Swim collection. I met Lisa last fall when I interviewed her and was inspired not only by her personal story but also by her desire to design the highest quality swimwear for women of all shapes and sizes … Lisa Curran Swim is known for its great style, luxurious Italian fabrics and solid fit: go-to’s when it comes to shopping for a swimsuit. At this stage in my life, a good fit and flattering color are the most important things to me. I have always preferred wearing one-piece swimsuits, so when I went online to the Lisa Curran Swim website, I moved directly to one-pieces.
Shopping online turned out to be a completely positive experience; there were, however, important tidbits that I learned along the way. I must share them with you:
– have a contact person you can call and ask questions about sizing. And don’t be afraid to ask anything! There are no wrong questions and some retailers encourage you to ask questions; some even offer live chats*. Shopping for a swimsuit is a lot like shopping for a bra; taking your measurements (with authentic seamstress measuring tape) is imperative and you must try everything on since each one is unique. Karie helped me with sizing and color, and when I did find a swimsuit I liked, it was Karie who recommended that I go up two sizes from my regular dress size, since my swimsuit of choice had heavy shirring detail in the front and back and ran small (honestly, it was hard for me psychologically at first to go up two sizes but my swimsuit fits so well that it’s worth it).
– consider ordering your swimsuit in a few different sizes so that you can choose the best fit.
– read the customer reviews whenever possible. Customer reviews are incredibly helpful when purchasing a swimsuit – they can give you added insights you may not have considered.
– keep an open mind to new styles and colors.
– make sure you understand the return policy!! This is so important. Many retailers will work with you until you find the right swimsuit and some are especially user-friendly (see below). Just know who these companies are.
My final selection? I chose the Clare One-Piece in the salmon color. It fits like a dream and the color is really flattering. And my mother’s name is Claire (a good sign) – and even more good news? It was on sale. There is now a new swimsuit in my drawer and I’m happy. Thank you, Lisa Curran – and online shopping!
*In addition, consider these experienced, user-friendly retailers: J.Crew’s risk-free swim (free shipping and free returns on their swim collection) and Land’s End swim resource guide or 800 number live chat with a representative.