It’s not easy buying a swimsuit that fits you perfectly. Due to the way most stores’ return policies work, you cannot return swimwear that have been worn into the water, so there’s a lot of pressure on getting one that fits.
As a customer, this is a bit of a catch-22 because how else are you supposed to know a swimsuit is good for you until after you wear it into the water? But by then, you cannot return it, and now you are stuck with an ill-fitting swimsuit and your wallet is left a little bit lighter.
Rather than wail about how unfair it is, I’m sure you’d rather want to learn practical solutions to deal with this problem. If a swimsuit is a little too big, you can potentially shrink it down to size if you know how to sew or you expose it to some heat (at your own risk). As for swimsuits that are too small, you can try stretching them out.
How do you stretch out a swimsuit? You don’t actually need to do anything, really. Swimsuits naturally stretch out over time just through normal use. Even just the simple act of wearing it into the water (you don’t even need to be a swimmer) will stretch it out. We can accelerate this process by intentionally stretching it out ourselves, pulling and twisting it using various methods, to achieve a more comfortable fit.
Whatever you do, do NOT expose it to heat. That will have the opposite effect, which may be desirable if your swimsuit is on the larger side. If your swimsuit was small to begin with and you expose it to hot water or the dryer, it will shrink even more to the point that you probably can’t wear it anymore.
In this article, we will go over some simple ways you can stretch out your bathing suit so that it fits you better.
What to expect
Before we get into any of the tips, we want to manage expectations. First, we cannot guarantee that your swimsuit will stretch the way you want it to. It may stretch too much, unevenly, not at all, or it may even tear. None of this advice is recommended by the manufacturer and you do it at your own risk.
Second, it may take some time for your swimsuit to stretch. During that time, you will experience some discomfort because some of our tips require you to continue wearing the small swimsuit. Expect the swimsuit to dig into your skin, possibly give you wedgies, or in some extreme cases, it may fail to cover up your private parts. Whether you want to continue wearing an ill-fitting swimsuit is at your own discretion.
It’s up to you whether you are willing to subject yourself to these conditions to save a few bucks or if you would rather just buy a different swimsuit.
You may not need to do anything at all
It’s actually okay for a swimsuit to feel a little tight when you first buy it. In fact, when shopping for swimsuits, it may be advantageous to size down or buy true to size, but we would not recommend sizing up.
The reason is that swimsuits naturally stretch out over time. Hence, if a swimsuit is a little tight to begin with, it may be a problem that fixes itself as you expose it to wear and tear.
As long as the swimsuit is not so restrictive to the point of limiting your movement, digging painfully into your skin, or making it hard for you to breathe, then the fit might actually be reasonably good.
Like for many clothes, you might need to break in your swimsuit. You might have heard of the concept of breaking in shoes, jeans, even wetsuits.
To accelerate this process, you have a legitimately good reason to visit the pool or beach everyday. Wear it often, move around in it often, and get it wet. After a few days or a week of doing this, you will find that the swimsuit has stretched out a bit and it’s no longer uncomfortable.
How to stretch out a bikini top
In addition to wearing your swimsuit more, you can do something at home to help speed the stretching process.
For a bikini top, wear it and secure the straps. Next, place a broomstick under the strap that supports your breasts. Pull the stick away from you to begin stretching out the strap. This will cause the strap to dig into you which can feel uncomfortable, so stop if you feel pain, otherwise try to hold the position for three minutes. Next, do the same for the back side.
Do something similar for the shoulder straps. Stick the broomstick under one shoulder strap and pull upwards, then repeat for the other side. This stretches the strap away from you; you may need your other hand to hold the top in place depending on how hard you’re pulling.
Similarly, wear the bikini bottom and stick your fingers under the bands on the side. Then, gently pull the bands outwards to give them a nice stretch. If you have sewing skills or are willing to learn some DIY tricks, then follow the steps outlined in this video:
How to stretch out a one-piece swimsuit
Rinse the swimsuit in cold water. Now, we don’t normally recommend doing this, but wring out the water. Rinse it again and then wring it out again. This causes significant wear to the material and can possibly stretch it out.
Next, grab your damp bathing suit and begin gently pulling it out in every direction. If there are specific sections that are digging into your skin, such as the leg opening or the straps, then focus more on pulling those areas.
Finally, wear your damp bathing suit. Keep it on until it dries. As it is drying, the swimsuit will stretch out more and more until it fits your body shape.