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Care Factor: How to Look After your Swimsuit

Would you ever dream of bunching up an expensive piece of clothing, throwing it into the ocean then stringing it up carelessly to dry? We didn’t think so. If you’re investing in proper swimwear, then think about your care game. Are you treating it as carefully as you could? Do you know how to prolong its life? Vogue spoke to designer Nicole Banning, who spent four years designing at Saint Laurent (then Yves Saint Laurent) and who now has her own line of luxury swimwear, about how to treat your swim right.

Think of it as ready-to-wear, or better

“Give your swimsuit the general love and care that you would to any garment,” says Banning. “Sometimes it’s so easy to throw your swimsuit in your beach bag and forget about it,” pointing out you should actually care for it more than you would your clothing as it's subject to far more wear and tear. “It is continuously exposed to harsh elements - the sun, chlorine, spas and the sea.”

What to avoid

Obviously it’s near impossible to keep your swimsuit out of the sun, but if possible avoid excessive exposure to light, sun and chlorine. Public heated pools tend to have a high chlorine content to keep germs in check, while spas have even more for the same reason as germs thrive in warm environments. The ocean or saltwater pools are ideal, and avoid rough surfaces. Place a towel down before sitting to keep the fabric smooth.

Keeping the stretch

One of the first things to go is the elasticity of your swimsuit which means the quality of the fit will diminish. Aside from the aforementioned factors to avoid, the easiest way to keep the stretch, Banning says, is to start with a good quality fabric. “The biggest factor when dealing with maintaining elasticity is the product that you are starting with. If you invest in a good swimsuit and give it the love it deserves, it will last the distance.” Banning uses only Italian Lycra that is 10 times more resistant than a standard Lycra.

Forgo jewellery

A bracelet, a ring or a necklace can continually catch on fabric particularly on already textured fabrics so when you’re going swimming Banning suggests leaving your jewellery at home.


Always rinse after use with fresh cold water and leave it to dry flat in the shade to keep it in top form. When storing swimwear, Banning says folding it and storing it in a drawer is sufficient as hanging is unnecessary and can stretch it needlessly.