If you’ve been procrastinating on that summer swimsuit purchase, you must not delay any longer. No, really. After today, the pickings are bound to be much slimmer. Lyst, an search engine for online shopping, predicts that June 8 will be the “most popular day of the year to buy swimwear online,” based on search traffic, 2014 sales patterns and the number of swimsuits that have been uploaded onto the platform in the past two weeks.
Unsurprisingly, searches for high-waisted two-piece swimsuits are up 124 percent, while one-piece searches are up 56 percent. According to Lyst, 2015’s most popular styles include Prism’s “Honolulu” halter neck one-piece ($278), Lisa Marie Fernandez’s “Mira” bikini ($400) and Solid and Striped’s “Anne Marie” tank ($150).
All beautiful options. But they don’t come cheap. In fact, Lyst says that the average spend on a piece of “designer” beachwear on the site is $174, up 32 percent from $132 in 2014.
I find this figure nearly unbelievable. Even as a person who spends a lot of money on clothes — more than any normal, sound-minded human should — I can’t help but wondering, why are women willing to spend so much on swimwear?
I should say that I am not a frequent swimsuit wearer. I hate the beach, but I love to swim. I don’t go to the pool as much as I’d like to each summer, but I probably wear my bathing suit at least five or six times, and usually closer to 10. I am cognizant of the fact that there are people who go swimming every weekend — and maybe every day after work? — so the need/desire to own multiple bathing suits is not unfounded.
Yet it still baffles me. While I don’t buy a new swimsuit every year, I spent a good chunk of time this spring hunting for one. I found my ideal match — Marysia Swim’s scalloped-halter one piece — via a Club Monaco marketing email, but the $315 price tag was prohibitive. No cost-per-wear calculations could convince me $315 was a sound price for a piece of nylon. For me, items like outerwear, knitwear, dresses, shoes….etc., etc., etc….are terribly easy to justify. If you take good care of them, they truly will last a lifetime. But a swimsuit, which is intentionally ravaged by chlorine and sea salt? I just can’t make that okay in my head.
While there are obviously plenty of people who disagree with me — hence the existence of these gorgeous things — I have a feeling I’m not alone in my search for a nice bathing suit that doesn’t chip away too much of my annual clothing budget. I ended up going with tried-and-true J.Crew’s strappy V-neck tank with a tie back. (I chose navy, but it’s available in 11 very pretty colors.) It was 30 percent off $88, so I really couldn’t say no to it.
However, if you are eager to try something other than J.Crew, but aren’t ready or willing to blow your shoe budget on designer beachwear, you may want to check out Bikyni, launched in May 2015 by former Reformation exec Jude Al-Khalil. Bikyni is sort of the Warby Parker of swimwear. Everything is made in the U.S. from Italian fabrics, but the direct-to-consumer model means reasonable prices: $95 for a bikini top and bottom set or a double-strap maillot. (Additional bikini pieces are $50 each.) The two-pieces can be mixed and matched and come in a bunch of great colors and fashion-y silhouettes. To be sure, Bikyni is an exciting new option, whether you currently own zero swimsuits or a dozen. I might even buy two swimsuits this summer in support of its practical mission.