How to buy a bikini online that actually fits

  • Marie Claire is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
  • We’ve all been there

    Ok, so the weather has yet to catch up, but if the Met Office predictions for the next couple of weeks is anything to go by, summer 2016 is officially upon us. 

    There’s no denying our gusto for online shopping (in fact, official figures from the Office for National Statistics reported a 21.5% rise in online spending last month compared to this time last year), so pulling together your sartorial summer alias should be easy. But, when it comes to buying those all-important bikinis, things get a little trickier.

    Scouring the web for such an intimate piece of clothing is not without its challenges. As well as finding the perfect fit, trend-led cutouts, sheer paneling and complicated straps, simply working out your size can be a total minefield. 

    Fear not future beach-goers. We’ve compiled the ultimate guide to shopping for swimwear online, so when you go to check out our edit of this season’s most-wanted styles, you’ll be ready to click ‘buy’.

    1. Study the sizing charts extensively

    Begin by checking your own measurements (bra size, dress size and waist and hip measurements – you’ll need a tape measure for this), then cross-reference the site’s sizing chart as every brand has a different size run. Also, check whether the sizes are displayed in UK, European or US sizing (this will save you a massive headache down the line).

    2. Get friendly with customer care

    This sounds like an effort, but if you’re unsure about sizing, contact customer care and ask them about the brand’s specific measurements and whether they come up large or small to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting. Also ask them whether the fabric shrinks a bit in the wash, generally cotton and rayon do.

    3. Double-check the returns policy

    The best thing to do is to buy a couple of sizes to try on in the comfort of your own home (and away from the unflattering fluorescent lights of a changing room). But for this to be successful, you need to double-check the returns policy.

    Returning bikini briefs comes with obvious complications (those hygiene strips can be dubious), so make sure a full refund is given before making duplicate purchases.

    4. Adjustable straps are your friends

    Tie-side briefs and adjustable straps make life much easier, as you can customise the size to fit you perfectly. Or accommodate an over-indulgent beach picnic.

    Reading now