The Recessionista’s Take on Summer Swimsuit Styles

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Pictured: Swimming star turned swimsuit designer Esther Williams in her studio with one of her designs. I love the vintage vogue touches from her collection.

Summer is officially here and swimsuit season is in full bloom. Recently one of The Recessionista’s readers wrote to me with some interesting questions about summer swimsuits and how the recession many affect their design and manufacture. Following is my take on the how the current economy will influence the swim suit styles for women.

Q. Will women be buying ‘safer’ swimwear in a soft economy since they will likely be wearing it closer to home, at the backyard pool or swim club, instead of on a vacation at a resort?

A. My take on this is that we are seeing a return to the conservative one piece suit. We are going from roaring 20s” let the good times roll wear” to more frugal, less flashy wear in general. Swimwear will follow this overall trend. I predict lots of Ann Cole one piece suits from TJ MAXX and Marshalls and Gap swimwear (on sale for $16.00-$29.00 bucks on Check out the swimwear in the new Matthew Williamson H&M collection to see more examples of this. He has great one-piece suits, with cut-outs for detail.

Pictured: An Ann Cole one piece suit

Pictured: Check website Smart Bargains for great swimsuit discounts

For a great looking vintage looking suit, check out Los Angeles’ very own Esther Williams’ suits. She has recreated the great vintage styles from the 40’s and 50’s for alot less. And who knows better about a great suit, than the former queen of the MGM swim pictures? I know my fellow blogger, NYC Recessionista also has talked about how great the Esther suits are.

Pictured: Back to the Future: Esther Williams’ Classic Sheath Swimsuit on sale at her website for $79.00.

Pictured: Esther Williams’ Suit in Fuchsia. This style comes in a variety of colors and floral prints.

Click here to see an example of one from Gap I just bought. Those who know me, know my favorite exercise is Aqua aerobics. So, I stock up on suits at good prices as I go through them quickly.

Q. Do you foresee the suits being made with more or less fabric?
A. I think lower in the back, but higher in the front (like the Gap swimsuits). About the same amount of fabric, but covering the body in a different way–less low cut, breast baring, maybe not cut as high on the hip either like the Gap suit.

Q. Do you forsee fewer designer suits at affordable prices?
A. No, the designers are available for less, so you can still have them. I just bought a $112.00 retail Miracle suit for $29.99 at Marshalls. And by the way, I love my Miracle suit. It works and is very slimming. I also saw designer suits at Loehmann’s and Macy’s for deep discounts. Designer suits at discounters will sell briskly. When we are lucky enough to find a good one, at the right price, we are not going to let go of it!

The high-end Norma Kamali $300.00 suit will continue to be attractive as an investment piece. When I meet Norma at her store in New York, she told me that she had research that showed her high-end suit can last for 20 years. However, if you are just looking for a stylish suit with the Norma Kamali design, remember her swim suits are coming to Walmart soon (this month to be exact) for $15.00 to $20.00 US. Check out Norma’s new eBay store for her high-end swimsuits at discounted prices. I love the idea of buying direct from the designer at a discount.

Check out her one piece Neon-poly jersey swimsuit selling for a starting price of $150.00 at her eBay store!

Clearly, whether you’re on a stay-cation, a fur-cation (enforced furlough) or at a swanky resort on a traditional vacation, there are some great swimsuits out there for good prices. We’ve come along way baby. Check out a swimsuit from the 1920s to see what I mean.

Pictured: A 1920s Bathing Beauty

Since 2008, Mary Hall has been the author of The Recessionista Blog, which is read by thousands of regular readers in over 160 countries. An internationally recognized expert on the art of the living the good life for less, she has been a commentator on local, national, and international radio and TV shows. Her advice has been featured in over 2,000 media outlets, including The New York Times, Reuters, Life & Style magazine, ABC News, NBC News and now The Huffington Post, among many others.