Swimsuit Tips: How to care for your swimwear

Finding the perfect swimsuit for the summer is just the beginning. Once you’ve settled on a design, you can keep buying a new swimsuit every year, or you can invest in some quality pieces to get you from season to season. Whatever your style or budget, here are some easy ways to make your swimsuit last longer.

I consulted Jennifer Hinton, co-founder and Creative Director of Carve Designs, for her top swimwear tips. Hinton started the Mill Valley, Calif.-based company with her friend Thayer Sylvester not long after returning from a surf trip to Mexico. So much for beach bumming.

What inspired you to launch a swimwear company?
We were in Sayulita, Mexico, in 2003 when it wasn’t built-up or Americanized at all. No one was at the beach when we went, and we were just waiting for the waves to come up. We started talking about doing a line of surf shorts and swimwear that was cute, sexy, and fit women. We were tired of Billabong, Roxy, and O’Neill branded all over our butts. So here we are seven years later with 105 items in the line when we started with eight.

What are the common mistakes that people make when washing their swimsuits?

People think that bikinis are made of steel, which for such a small suit is a lot to ask. That said, if you care for your bikini, it can last for quite a long time if it’s made with good material.

Obviously hand washing and hang drying your suit is optimal, but we know that people don’t do that. If you can, wash it in cold water in the washing machine and hang dry. The color will hold as will the fabric. Putting your bikini in the dryer is a total no-no.

Ocean water is better for suits than pools. Chlorine breaks down the integrity of the suit, but we know that not everyone swims in the ocean. Our suits can last up to four years if you treat it right.

How much time does it take for a suit to properly air-dry so you don’t have to resort to popping it in the dryer?
It depends on where you are. If you are in a dry spot, it can dry in 10 minutes, but if you are in a hot, humid spot, it can take a while — about an hour.

Are there any materials that dry faster than others?
Microfiber, which our board shorts are made of, dries a lot faster than most other fabrics. That’s why we use it for the shorts.

Any packing tips?
Reversible suits are best because they are two swimsuits (one sexy and one sporty) in one. When you bring a total of two suits, you can mix and match. That’s how we design the swim line, too. Everything kind of goes with each other. Our Bondi reversible top ($46) and bottom ($42) are among the best-sellers in the line.

What do you wear on the plane so you won’t freeze but can hit the beach as soon as you get off the plane?

I just got back from Bermuda, and on the plane I had a long T-shirt over leggings. I just slipped the leggings off when we got to the hot temperatures. I also like to travel with a nice cashmere wrap as you might need it at night time wherever you are.

Any other clever shortcuts so you can easily go from the plane to the beach?

We wear our swimsuits as bras. The Cardiff ($40) is as supportive as a bra, so we wear it on the plane. The fabric is comfy, and if you need to hit the beach fast, you’re already halfway there.

[Image Credit: Carve Designs]