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If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “Swimsuits are so expensive,” you’re not alone. You might still be surprised to learn that there are actual factual reasons to why this is the case. Sure, designers want to make as much money as possible, and although that is a factor, it’s not the main reason why you dish out hundreds of dollars to look cute on the beach each summer. The reasons are everything from the type of material used, to innovation and designs.
You'll buy it.
Yep, it is your fault (our fault) that a car payment costs the same as an expensive suit. Companies know that we will want the latest and greatest designs and technology, no matter what industry we’re talking about.
If you’re a fan of makeup, you might understand this example. I have a makeup company that I am OBSESSED with. Every time they come out with a new product, specifically new eyeshadow palettes, I have to have it! The same is true for some people with swimwear and swimsuits. Every year there are new styles that all the influencers are wearing. Just like the eyeshadow palettes, I lose my mind and buy all the swimsuits. Because we are willing to buy the next best thing, the prices stay high.
Look good, feel good.
Swimsuit shopping is one of the hardest things for most women. Women are critical of their bodies. And guess what? No matter who you are, the part of your body that you may want to change is probably on full display while in a swimsuit. Designers know our insecurities, which is how they know how we'll shop for a flattering swimsuit. Which in this case, isn’t a bad thing. They take extra care to make sure the bottoms will fit your curvy/bubbly/skinny/flat butt! Although it’s challenging to create, they do the same thing with your top half. If you have a swimsuit that looks good and feels good, you will channel those same feelings. Feeling confident and sexy is something most people will dish out hundreds of dollars for without a second thought.
Swimwear has to fit well.
NPD Group, a company that focuses on insights into all aspects of retail, conducted a survey on swimsuits. They found that the way a swimsuit fits is much more important than any other factor. The way a swimsuit fits out ranks comfort, style, quality, and even price. Yep, you read that right. Fit beats how much a swimsuit costs in the eye of the consumer. With this information, you can bet your bottom that companies will jack up their prices if they know they have a solid product on their hands.
In 2017, swimwear sales reached 4.6 billion dollars. Analysts believe swimwear sales will only get higher with the cost of suits, and the technology that will make them fit and look better than ever before.
You need a new one every year.
Designers know that every year customers are wearing new bathing suits. Women will throw out their old suits and buy some new ones. If this sounds like you, don’t worry; there is no judgement from this writer! I do that exact same thing. There’s just something exciting about a new swim look every summer. I’d be kidding myself if it was just ONE new swimsuit each year. I buy multiple new suits every summer even though the old ones fit just fine and my bank account is screaming, "NO!" Companies know this, too. Every year they create new styles, and create new fabrics to satisfy our need for something new.
Fashion keeps changing.
If you’ve watched the Summer Olympics, you’ve seen swimsuit fashion and innovation in action! Each year the body suits swimmers use have new technology and designs. The tech and designs are always innovating because humans have a need to be better, faster, and stronger! These new designs worked so well in the 2012 Olympics that they had to be banned. That’s right, the technology was so advanced that records were being broken every day and the Olympic committee banned them.
Although it’s not to the Olympic level, innovative designs and fashion are happening in normal people’s lives as well. There are specific types of material you can use to keep you warm in cold water, or specific designs that truly make your butt look the best it’s ever looked. Haven't you wondered how the best one piece swimsuits to buy in 2018 were such a cornerstone in the market? And it will only get better from here, but the cost of innovation is cash.
There are more customization in the industry than ever before.
In this day and age, we can customize everything. You can customize your cars, your home, your phone, your office, and now you can create a suit. This customization comes at a price. Look at vanity license plates, for example. Every state in the United States charges extra for anyone who wants a vanity plate. That’s because it’s outside the realm of what’s massed produced and available. That is similar to swimsuits. With more custom options, the prices are going up. Now you almost always have to buy the bikini top and bottom separately. Because we are humans and not perfect alien creatures, sometimes our bust is an A cup while butt is an XL. Or Vice versa…Small butt, huge boobs. Swimsuits that aren’t sold in pairs cause the manufacturer stress. They have to essentially guess on how many of each size and style to print. That, invariably, raises prices, and causes you to pull out the credit card.
Swimsuits are made from pricey materials.
If the type of materials my grandma’s swimsuits were made of were used today, it’s safe to say swimwear would be cheaper. In the 40s and 50s, bathing suits were made of rayon jersey and cotton blends. I'm not saying that is preferable, just a fact; thank goodness, that is not the case today.
Nylon, lycra, spandex, neoprene, and polyester. These are the main materials used for swimsuits. These are also very expensive. When comparing spandex prices to any of the non-stretch material prices like cotton, it’s easy to see why swimsuits are automatically a little more pricey than your fav t-shirt.
Manufacturers need specialized equipment to handle stretchy fabrics. That equipment is more expensive than others, so the cost of it is handed down to us, the consumers, who are buying the product.
You don't want a cheap one.
I’m going to take you on a journey back to your childhood. Remember when you were younger and shopping at Limited Too? School was almost out and you were at the mall, shopping for summer essentials under $100 you would love. You walked through the swimwear section and then spotted the most perfect swimsuit ever. It had flowers and sequins and rainbows. You just HAD to have it. For the first few swim parties it was ah-maz-ing. Then it started falling apart. It stretched out, the beautiful rainbow print was peeling, and just one sequin was hanging on for dear life. Ah the good ol’ days of cheap swimwear. That swimsuit didn’t cost too much to buy and it definitely didn’t cost much to make. Nowadays, you can’t afford to have a swimsuit that stretches out. As women, we need the support in multiple areas.
Swimsuits are multi-purpose.
When you go to the pool or revel in the sand and salt at the beach, sometimes it’s a casual day. You want to get the perfect tan, or you want to show off the summer bod you’ve been working on so diligently for the last few months. When that’s the case, you have a specific type of swimsuit in mind. Or maybe there is going to a be a volleyball or spikeball tournament happening at the same time. Plus, you also have a few friends bringing the boogie boards and skimboards as well. What swimsuit do you wear for this special occasion? Designers now make swimsuits that are perfect for all of these scenarios. Swimsuits have multiple functions. They have to stay put when a wave pummels you, or when you dive on the sand to save that spike. The amount of time it takes to create that perfect suit is worth a few extra bucks.
The Pink Tax is a significant factor in women's fashion.
The same reason you pay for bags because you don't have pockets and spend your paycheck on feminine hygiene products is because you are buying the Pink Tax.
The Pink Tax is often described as a gender biased price discrimination. It was coined with the color pink because anything of that color would cost more than anything of another color.
Over time, it has progressed into full on gender discrimination, as many products made for women are much more expensive than the same product made for men (i.e. razors, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, swimsuits, etc.). According to Vox News, women's razors on average cost 11 percent more than men’s razors, and shampoo marketed towards women costs 50 percent more. Therefore, it makes sense that swimsuits would fall under the same price discrimination.