Even though it seems as though summertime is miles away, now is the time to select your swimwear for the season. You want to be ready the very first opportunity you can go out! Not only that, but if you are planning a vacation away from the cold, you’ll find a great swimwear selection awaiting you at retailers everywhere. But how to choose the right suit? And once you’ve found your ideal, how should you care for it? Salt and sand, chlorine and sunlight can really wear out swimsuits quickly, so it pays to invest in a good quality swimsuit or three and then take care of them.
We recommend established brands that are known for good quality. If your child is old enough, have a conversation with her, and choose an age-appropriate swimsuit that you will both like. In spite of all the fuss about styles on the market that are not appropriate for children or that may encourage body-image issues, there is a wide selection available of cute swimwear for girls that is both functional and age appropriate. Both one- and two-piece suits can be great looking without being too “sexy.” If she is participating in aquatic sports, she will need a sporty suit. But she may also want a swimsuit that’s simply cute for hanging around the pool or on the beach. Most girls that swim often will need more than one suit, so she can choose different styles. Make sure the suit will be easy to get on and off (even when wet!) and think about what kind of fasteners it has so that you will be prepared to help her with ties and clips in the back if she needs it. Suits should also be lined – it doesn’t matter how much skin it covers if you can see right through it. Additionally, the lining gives the swimsuit extra structure and adds to durability.
If there are no special considerations, a swimsuit can be chosen on looks. If your child is tall and thin or short and stocky, a two-piece will always fit better. Don’t be afraid to go up or down two or even three sizes – it’s important that it fits. Two-piece suits are an excellent choice for infants and toddlers too, as it’s much easier to get swim diapers off. Kids that are potty training will have a much easier time with a separate bottom also. Good fit also keeps all her parts covered (!) and will actually help your swimsuit last longer. No sagging or pulling means she will be comfortable and look great. If she’s modest about showing her tummy, a tankini style gives you the versatility of a two-piece with the look of a one-piece.
If she likes ruffles & bows, there are plenty of suits that will “suit” her. Kate Mack, Ciao Bella and Frankie & Daisy are known for quality swimwear with plenty of decoration. And Lilo Tati and Seafolly have cute suits with smaller ruffles. For the sporty girls, Seafolly makes high quality suits with simple embellishments and a smooth profile, Les Tout Petits specializes in simple European designs in gorgeous prints. EBTP is even stocking some great-quality boys’ swimsuits and rash guards from Tiger Joe, by Seafolly.
Seafolly is another EBTP favorite. Seafolly’s women’s line of swimwear from Australia has been around since the 70′s and boasts a very loyal following. High quality and stylish in design, Seafolly’s suits are eminently practical while looking great, and have translated very well into smaller sizes for girls. This year, Seafolly introduced Tiger Joe – boys swimwear and rash guards in American and Australian styles.
Now that you’ve found the perfect suit – how should you care for it? We get this question all the time, and we’re happy to say that it’s not difficult at all.
Salt, sun, chlorine and sand really can wreak havoc with the shiny, stretchy and netty fabrics in girls swimwear. The most important thing is not to leave these damaging elements in contact with your suit for prolonged times. Each time you take the suit off, rinse it in fresh tap water. We recommend looking for a sink or shower at the beach or pool, as fresh water is usually available. Simply rinse the suit out right away to get rid of sand, salt and chlorine. If there isn’t a fresh water source available, make sure to rinse out suits as soon as you get home, then hang them or lay them flat indoors or in the shade to dry. I like to hang them in the shower, so I don’t have to worry about the drips. UV light is hard on fabrics, and lycra/spandex is no exception. A quick hand-wash with liquid detergent and hang it up is the simplest, easiest way to wash your swimsuit. If you would like to machine wash it, we recommend turning it inside out to protect the outer fabric from rubbing against other items and the machine itself and using the delicate cycle. Don’t put your swimsuit in the dryer – the heat will damage the elastic in the fabric and the straps over time, and it may become very twisted with other items and stretched out.
In order to keep your suit fresh and also make sure you have a dry suit to start with, buy more than one if you will be swimming daily or nearly so. Suits that never get a chance to dry out will have a short life indeed. Anyway, who doesn’t like choices?
Girls will want to play outside the water too. Why not invest in a good coverup, flip flops and sun hat to keep her covered and comfortable when she’s not swimming? These items make it easier to get from home to car to pool/beach, protect her from the sun, keep her from getting chilled when wet and look darling.
Flops and coverups can be cared for in the same way that the suit can, though they will not get nearly as wet. Many companies make coverups to match their swimsuits, and some even make hats & sandals. Keeping it all together and easy to get dressed & undressed also means less effort for you to keep everything together (!) at poolside and lessens the possibility that a stray sock or t-shirt will get left behind. Did we mention that it looks great?
Don’t forget your sunglasses & sunscreen!