Swimsuit Fabrics 101: A Comprehensive Guide

Answering Questions About Swimsuit Fabric

If your business carries swimwear, you might start running into questions you never thought to ask. What kind of fabrics are you investing in? What's the best option, and what's the ideal way to take care of these fashionable pieces so that your customers get the maximum value out of their clothes? Swimsuits are complicated enough when you’re only dealing with cut and pattern, but the world of fabrics is no less, and maybe even more, critical than either of those for comfort, hygiene, and fit. Take a deep dive here, get all the answers you need, and take that with you to your next seasonal stock-up. By knowing these straightforward and easy-to-remember facts, you can offer a better customer service experience and carry better quality items, putting you ahead of your competition.

Synthetic Or Natural… What’s The Difference?

Most suits these days are made of synthetic fabrics, but it wasn’t always this way. Before the industrial revolution, canvas, cotton, and even wool were popular choices of material. There are plenty of reasons why manufacturers and consumers prefer synthetic materials. These fabrics are stretchier and absorb less water than natural fibers, which means they tend to keep their shape better. They’re also lighter, dry faster, and don’t wrinkle. The best part though is fabrics like nylon and polyester are highly absorbent of UV rays, meaning that they do a better job of protecting sensitive skin from the blinding sun.

The challenge with synthetics is mostly their environmental impact. The fabrics can be ecologically expensive to produce and may not break down naturally if not disposed of properly. If you or your customers are interested in a more environmentally friendly option, hemp has become the most popular natural fiber for making swimsuits today. Hemp is a sturdy fabric that imparts cool tones and laid-back vibes to any garment but tends to not fare well in particularly hot water, like a jacuzzi.

Nylon, Polyester, & Elastane: The Big Three

While most swimsuits on the market today are made of synthetic fabrics, not all poly-fabrics are created equally! Each type of swimsuit material has different properties and deserves your attention. 

Nylon is the most hassle-free material. In terms of fit, nylon is stretchy and sleek. It is shrink resistant and can hold up to repeated washes because it doesn’t lose its elasticity in a pronounced way over time. The challenge with nylon is that exposure to chemicals like chlorine, a common compound in swimming pools, can eventually deteriorate the fabric, causing colors to fade and to cause pilling. However, well-made swimwear, like we carry at Swimsuit Station, will last many seasons.

Elastane is another great swimsuit material. Super stretchy, it tends to be more expensive and is often combined with other synthetic materials. Elastane dries quickly because it absorbs very little water, which also means it has low pilling. However, that also means it isn’t very breathable. Elastane is therefore great for bikinis and smaller-area pieces where fit is prioritized over coverage. Elastane is also sensitive to heat. If it’s not laundered correctly, in gentle cool water, it can become loose as the fibers may break down.

Polyester is hands down the best material, blending the best of both worlds. Cheaper than elastane, it’s still very stretchy and smooth, though not as much as nylon. Competitive swimwear and sports suits are made out of polyester because they hold up better to abrasion and friction. They are also chlorine and heat-resistant, making polyester the greatest all-around fabric. You can wear them when you’re relaxing on the pool deck or the seashore, you’re swimming for cardio, or just splashing in the shallow end.

Taking Care Of Your Suits – Where Do I Even Start?

Making sure your customers know how to take care of their purchases is important. If swimwear isn’t taken care of properly, the materials won’t last long. Fortunately, taking care of swimwear is generally not difficult. Protecting the fabric from chlorine deterioration is as simple as rinsing off the suit after swimming in the pool. Letting the swimsuit air dry flat will reduce stretching and wrinkling, maintaining a crisp look, like new. Making sure you don’t put your trunks in the dryer or expose them to too much hot water in the jacuzzi, no more than 15 minutes at a time, will ensure that the fabric stays stretchy and sleek. Finally, protecting your suit from rough edges, like avoiding rough concrete or abrasive textures will reduce pilling and keep the material smooth. 

Offering The Best Isn’t Complicated!

 Now, when your customer asks about your swimwear materials, you can be confident that you have accurate information. We know you want to carry the best materials, best fits, and most resilient fabrics. Find them all at Swimsuit Station. Don’t miss an opportunity to be a subject-matter expert and steer your buyers in the right direction.  When you project confidence and know-how, shoppers trust you, and that’s the first step in making meaningful connections that will promote returning customers.