Recessionista Chronicles: Swimwear Savings


Time to think about bathing suits.

The best month to buy swimwear is at the end of August, when beach season is drawing to a close. But with spring break approaching and even non-students (especially East Coasters like me) considering warmer climates in the midst of one cold winter, a lot of folks are in the market now for bikinis, swim trunks and suits.

Designer bathing suits a la Diane Von Furstenberg and Burberry can cost hundreds of dollars, but for the budget-wise there are plenty of ways to spend less on chic swimwear right now.

Get Crafty and Customize Your Suit
Customize a less expensive (or old) suit and you'll have a one-of-a kind outfit that does not look cheap.

During an eavesdropping session at a bead store in New York, I overheard two fashion forward ladies selecting cool beads for their H&M bikini tops and bottoms that they’d brought into the store. Ingenious, especially with many hot summer styles out of J.Crew (Stock Quote: JCG) and from Tory Burch boasting beautiful, colorful jewels and beading.

The savvy swimwear ladies at the bead store probably spent no more than $20 on their solid colored bikini tops and bottoms at H&M, but after gluing on a few tasteful jewels or beads (for no more than $5) their finished looks would no doubt appear far pricier, as well more stylish and unique.

Stores like Michaels and Wal-mart (Stock Quote: WMT), in addition to your local bead shop are great places to find colorful add-ons to your bathing suit. This is also a great way to spice up old bathing suits and make them look like new.  

Mix, Match and Save
For two piece bathing suits, it’s always smart to stock up on interchangeable tops and bottoms that you can mix and match, so three bikini sets may actually turn into nine different beach outfits. I like to hit up Target, (Stock Quote: TGT) which carries very affordable styles that no one, minus the fashion elitists (read: snobs), would ever recognize, let alone care, that it isn’t from Neiman’s.

Stalk the Discount Racks
Inventory at TJ Maxx (Stock Quote: TJX), Marshall’s, Filene’s Basement and Loehmann’s is always coming and going, so if you want to find a steal  you need to be persistent and start examining the racks weeks before your beach trip.

There are steals to be had, such as a current season Ralph Lauren (Stock Quote: RL) navy blue one piece suit my friend snagged before I had the chance to at Marshall’s.  She paid $25, compared to $125. (Whatever. I’m over it. There’s always next time.)

Accessories Can Upgrade Your Look
Another way to look more together is to accessorize your outfit with a necklace, a cool beach tote, straw hat, simple sandals and/or a fun wrap, all for when you’re just lounging around and taking a swim break.   All these items can be found at affordable prices, between $10 and $25, and you may even have some already in your closet.  For affordable beach totes check out, and Old Navy (Stock Quote: GPS).

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