He Says/She Says: Swimsuits

He Says/She Says: Swimsuits

As soon as the winter thaw begins, Johnny and I start talking summer vacation. We both love the sand and sun so, if at all possible, a yearly trip to the beach is a must. For me, sometimes this also means a new swimsuit is in order. Even though I already have a couple of suits that *technically* work fine, after a couple of years, I feel the need to switch things up. I broach the topic with Johnny a bit like this:

So, before our vacation this year, I have to find a good swimsuit. 

What’s wrong with the one you have?

Well, it’s a couple of years old, and I just don’t really like the style anymore. And it’s not super flattering. Plus, I really want to try a one-piece this year.

Well, how much is it going to cost?

Ugh… always the cost! The problem is that, even on sale, the swimsuits I’m looking into aren’t cheap. I’ve never been one who feels comfortable showing much skin, so a tiny two-piece from Target isn’t going to cut it for me. And, let’s face it, I no longer have the body of an 18-year-old because, well, I’m no longer 18. So finding something that’s flattering is a tad more precarious. I want coverage and support and the cute factor (of course), and that don’t come cheap.

Men’s swimsuits, on the other hand, are a dime a dozen. They’re shorts that you wear in the water. And Johnny hasn’t gotten a new pair in at least five years. So I try that angle.

You know, you could use a new swimsuit, too. We should both get one!

True… I do need one. But you get one like every year. 

I didn’t get one last year, actually. You don’t know how lucky you are…

And then I explain to him that many women have several different suits for each day of vacation. And all I’m wanting is one new suit for the year. Of course, this tactic never works. He thinks about it and then says, “No, I don’t think that’s true.”

But back to the price.

So, Johnny, with 25% off, plus free shipping at J.Crew, the total comes to $90. 

$90?! I was thinking it would only cost $70 at the most

So, who’s side are you on? Am I crazy to spend $90 on a swimsuit? Or does Johnny not understand that you really can’t put a price on feeling good about how you look?

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  • Reply Dave Lalonde May 16, 2014 at 9:13 am

    $90 for a one piece swimsuit?? That’s expensive! I know the two pieces can be $30 bucks each but wow, I’m with your husband. I was thinking it should be no more than $70!

    • Reply Joanna May 16, 2014 at 6:17 pm

      You should have seen the price *before* the 25% off coupon! 😉

  • Reply zoe @ my unhoardED life May 16, 2014 at 9:22 am

    I have exactly the same problem! I’m built like Kim Kardashian unfortunately, so a lot of suits look terrible on me or I can’t get my hips into them. I swim laps for fun, which also means that I own two suits at any given time, one for fun in the sun and another for support and performance when I’m swimming a mile. I’ve never found a suit that fits my body for less than $90 in a store. The Victoria’s secret online swimsuits are pretty good, though. They and Lands End seem to have suits in the $70 range and are very good about returns. VS does make flattering, modest 1 pieces. I hope you find something you like that fits your price range!

    • Reply Joanna May 16, 2014 at 6:25 pm

      Thanks, Zoe! I hear ya. And Kim Kardashian’s figure is pretty darn cute, even if it is frustrating finding a flattering suit :).

  • Reply Little House May 16, 2014 at 9:43 am

    I’ve never been a fashion diva, instead comfort has always come first. A few years ago, I decided to switch to men’s / boy’s swim trunks over my bikini bottoms with a bikini top. It covers my slightly wide rear (which isn’t quite as large as Kim Kardashian’s, but I’m built similarly to her) and allows for more coverage from the sun (I’m very fair and burn easily). Pull on a t-shirt and I don’t even need to change clothes if I were to hop in my car!

    • Reply Joanna May 16, 2014 at 6:28 pm

      Great idea, mixing the feminine bikini top with the men’s bottoms. Very cute. Sounds like you’ve found a perfect cute + comfortable solution!

  • Reply Jodi T. May 16, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Think of it this way — if it costs $90 and you get two years out of it, it really was only $45. If you get a suit that you really don’t love for $70 or less (good luck) and end up getting a new one next year then you are losing $. PLUS if you have to be in a swimsuit (YUK) it should be one that you feel good in.

    PS. Swimsuits are outrageously expensive. I bought one a year or so back ON SALE and it cost that much — w/o shipping.

    • Reply Joanna May 16, 2014 at 6:31 pm

      Thanks, Jodi! I love your logic. I ended up getting the suit I wanted using some of my personal spending, and I LOVE it. So much better than getting one I’m not thrilled about.

  • Reply Rob May 16, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Hey dude – sorry bud but I’m with Joanna on this one. Speaking from experience, if you want to be happy you have to keep the ladies in your life happy too! Just wait till Sal wants $$$ for her first bikini! 🙂

    • Reply Joanna May 16, 2014 at 6:32 pm

      Ha, If Johnny can help it, Sally will be wearing turtlenecks and pants to the beach until she leaves home!

  • Reply TT May 16, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Ugh… We have this exact conversation every year. I’m definitely on Johnny’s side. However, I’m always going to let her do it, because I want her to feel like a million bucks, but I usually put up a fuss and then eventually “cave” in the end while getting something out of it. “Ok, you can get it if I can get –fill in the blank–.” Usually, what I am asking for is also not *needed* (used video game, new tool, a book, etc.), but priced well below any of her swimsuits.

    • Reply Joanna May 16, 2014 at 6:35 pm

      Haha, good to hear other couples have this same dilemma! Johnny usually ends up caving, too :).

  • Reply Nic May 16, 2014 at 11:31 am

    I understand the need for a swimsuit that gives adequate support and coverage. I understand buying a swimsuit of good quality so it doesn’t fall apart after 3 wearings. I don’t understand the need to buy one every year or every other year because it’s not the style anymore.

    I invest in a good swimsuit in a classic style, and replace it when it wears out. My most recent swimsuit lasted me 5 years. I’m on Johnny’s side for this one.

    • Reply Joanna May 16, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      Very smart, Nic. This time around, I tried to focus on suits that wouldn’t go out of style. I like the way you think!

  • Reply Diane May 16, 2014 at 11:39 am

    Sorry, Johnny! I’m with Joanna on this one. A new swimsuit every other year is not going to break the bank, even if it’s $90. She wants to feel good & look good in her suit and quality swim suits are expensive. The cheap ones can be cute, but they offer no support.

    You’re both fairly frugal with most things, so when something is important to one of you, I say do it. Life is about relationships & experiences, and trust me, this relationship & the beach trip experience will both be better if Joanna is happy in her swimsuit! 🙂

    • Reply Joanna May 16, 2014 at 6:37 pm

      Thanks, Diane! I knew other women would understand this dilemma. Guys just don’t get it :). And FYI, I took the plunge and got the suit and LOVE it.

  • Reply Shay May 16, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Work out a compromise, I say, take Johnny’s offer of $70 and find $20 else where. An extra $5 from groceries, $2 from auto fuel, $7 from rolling change, and $6 from selling something on ebay or craigslist!

    • Reply Joanna May 16, 2014 at 6:38 pm

      That’s exactly what we did. I actually spent some of my personal money that I’ve saved up, which helped make up the extra $20. Thank goodness for compromises!

  • Reply Alicia May 16, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    You are so right. Bathing suits are expensive, and you need more than one (what if your only suit isn’t dry by the time you need to wear it again, gross!). I tend to stock up at the end of the season at Victoria’s Secret, but I also live in San Diego and will wear them pretty much year round. Splurge on a new suit and plan to keep it for 2 years (although that’s a compromise I would conveniently forget by next bathing suit season).

    • Reply Joanna May 16, 2014 at 6:41 pm

      Totally, Alicia. You’re smart to buy a suit at the end of the season. I hope to remember that the next time around!

  • Reply kelsey May 16, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Suits are so hard. I think it depends on how much you will use it. We live in Iowa and I work full-time so I only go to the pool a few times a year and we vacation at the lake one week. I got a cute two-piece suit (with high-waisted bottoms) from Asos for $54 and will probably use it for three years before I get a new one.

    • Reply Joanna May 16, 2014 at 6:42 pm

      Good call, Kelsey! My sister who lives near us has a pool, and we’re hoping to take a couple of beachy vacations this year. Your suit sounds super cute! I love the look of the high-waisted two-pieces!

  • Reply Heather May 16, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    For situations like this, we would do a compromise. We would set an reasonable budget for the swimsuit, and if I end up wanting one that is more expensive than that budget, the extra cash would come from my personal allowance. That just means fewer books for me next month, but if I want it bad enough, I’ll make that sacrifice.

    • Reply Joanna May 16, 2014 at 6:44 pm

      Nice, Heather! That’s what we ended up doing. I used my personal spending to make up the difference. So glad I had some personal spending!!

  • Reply Becky @ RunFunDone May 16, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    $90??? Totes with Johnny on this one! That’s insane! I think that you should be allowed to get a new swimsuit this year…in November when swimsuits are on clearance. I used to get a new swimsuit or 2 every year, though always for less than $10…but I decided that I had to stop that, and now other than the Speedo I had to buy when I started triathloning, I haven’t bought a new swimsuit for 4 years or-so.

    • Reply Joanna May 16, 2014 at 6:45 pm

      The end-of-season clearance is a great idea. But I need one now! Luckily, we found a compromise. And kudos on getting suits for less than $10! Impressive!

  • Reply Mrs PoP May 16, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    I live near the beach and have a pool, so I am mostly with Joanna on this one. I have 4 cute bikinis and a one piece for laps, but only one of the bikinis was full price – incidentally also J Crew, and I got it in 2004. So Johnny, they last if you have other swimsuits to rotate with. After 10 years that one is just starting to show it’s age and it has gotten a ton of use.
    The rest of my bikinis have all been $25 or less, mostly from clearance racks at the outlet at the end of the season. The lap suit is speedo from the clearance rack, too – since I’m not picky about color/pattern when I’m doing laps.

    • Reply Joanna May 16, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      Glad to hear your J.Crew suit has lasted. I ended up taking the plunge, and I LOVE the suit. And I’ll have to steal your idea of looking at the clearance racks at the end of the season… very smart.

  • Reply Tarynkay May 16, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    I am with Joanna on this one. There is nothing worse than being on the beach, trying to enjoy your vacation while you are tugging at a cheap swimsuit that doesn’t fit properly. Especially if you are also chasing down a toddler. You don’t want to be tugging and chasing. A good bathing suit is like a good bra- not cheap, but it makes all the difference. It is frustrating, b.c it is such a small amount of fabric, it seems incredible that it can cost so much. But it is all about the engineering that goes into it. That is what you are paying for (for the kind of suit that Joanna is talking about, if you are paying $90 for a string bikini, that is a whole other thing.)

    • Reply Joanna May 16, 2014 at 6:49 pm

      Thanks, Tarynkay. You and I are on the same page 100%. It does make such a difference with a toddler. I don’t want something falling out while I chase her around, ha!

  • Reply Nicole May 16, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Oh no, I’m Team Johanna on this one for sure. Bathing suits are just not something you skimp on. You a) recently had a baby, b) need something you feel comfortable and can wrangle said baby in, and c) need something of decent quality that will last. A skimpy Target 2 piece is just not going to cut it. $90 is a perfectly acceptable amount to spend.

    • Reply Joanna May 16, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      Thanks, Nicole! I was hoping other girls would get where I’m coming from on this. I took the plunge and got the suit, and I’m thrilled to have found something that I feel confident in post-baby! Totally worth it.

  • Reply Karen Nazzy May 16, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Rewind back to how many wears/cost it will be for this $90. If you pay that much for something and only wear it twice, then the cost per wear is high- but if you spend a lot of time with Sal in the pool this summer the cost would be low. Also, Joanna had a baby since the last swimsuit and a new mama feeling super comfortable in something flattering is a win for everyone else. #truestory

    • Reply Joanna May 16, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      Very true story. And the number of times we go to the pool is partially dependent on how good I feel in a swimsuit. I went ahead and got the suit, and I’m thinking Sal and I will be spending a lot of time in the water this summer :).

  • Reply Kara May 16, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    I dunno. I have 3 suits, all of which I got at end of season clearances from places like Land’s End. One is a functional tank suit with a racer back for actually swimming for exercise. One is a retro style with a tie behind the neck – it’s definitely a “be seen” suit. And one is a black tank with an illusion neckline – functional for swimming but also “dressy” (if you can say “dressy” about a bathing suit). Suitable for fancy resorts, etc. I probably paid somewhere between $50 and $70 for the two nicer ones and around $40 for the plain racer tank. I’ve had all of them for at least 5 years.
    I honestly do not see the need for a new suit every year or every every other year. And I’m not some skinny miss; I’m a little overweight with boobs and hips and stuff that I want to disguise as much as anyone. And I like to look good. So I’m not saying sacrifice looks. I’m just saying that unless you live at the beach or swim every single day … I just don’t see the need.
    I guess that means I’m on Johnny’s side in this one. 😉

    • Reply Joanna May 16, 2014 at 7:00 pm

      The end of season clearance is a smart way to go. And you’re totally right… the “need” factor is debatable! But we found a compromise using some of my personal spending money, so we both ended up happy in the end. Win-win! 🙂

  • Reply Hannah May 16, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    I get at least two new swimming costumes each year and try to spend around $60-70 each time but when you live in Australia, the entire spring/summer/early autumn is spent in the water! I think it’s so hard for women to find a suit that fits, is flattering, doesn’t ride up, shows the right amount of skin ( or not!) that its way more important to be happy with what you’re wearing, than trying to save that $20.

    • Reply Joanna May 20, 2014 at 12:59 am

      Thanks, Hannah! Agreed!! And I love seeing it referred to as a “swimming costume.” 🙂

  • Reply MomofTwoPreciousGirls May 16, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Hmmm I’m kind of on both sides. Men’s bodies do not necessarily change the way a woman’s can ESPECIALLY after a child. Things never go back to the same places! I had the WORST time trying to find a swimsuit that I felt remotely comfortable wearing when we went on vacation (I had no choice bc my one tub of summer clothes disappeared somehow…I LOATHE summer clothing shopping so this was really necessary for a trip to Florida). I bought a one piece that was $90 before coupons and sales. However, it ended up being about $50. So I don’t think that you have to spend $90! Definitely places that have less expensive options!

    • Reply Joanna May 20, 2014 at 1:01 am

      True, I could most likely find some on sale at cheaper places. If I’m being honest, part of it was that I just really loved the suit! Glad we figured out a way to make it work! 🙂

  • Reply Melanie May 17, 2014 at 12:27 am

    I got two new Victoria secret bikinis this summer to the tune of $160 total w shipping and all. (After trying to find cheaper at stores with the separate sizes as my bottom is bigger than my top 🙂 )They fit awesome and I’m so happy I went for quality I’ve cheapest price. So yes, suits can cost that much as Joanna found. Hand wash them and hang them dry and you’ll get years out of them! For someone like myself or Joanna who doesn’t splurge often-you gotta know when it’s necessary to splurge a bit-bathing suits definitely qualify for some women. So glad you got a suit you love!!

    • Reply Joanna May 20, 2014 at 1:03 am

      Glad you found some suits you love, too, Melanie! We’re both gonna be feeling good this summer! 😀

  • Reply Halsy May 17, 2014 at 7:28 am

    $90 is a lot to spend Ina bathing suit to me personally but if it makes you comfortable and happy and is in the budget I see nothing wrong with it ! Also good quality items often last longer and through multiple fashion “seasons.

    • Reply Joanna May 20, 2014 at 1:03 am

      Thanks, Halsy! I’m glad we were able to splurge on it! I think it will last me a few years!

  • Reply Kasey @ Debt Perception May 17, 2014 at 9:46 am

    I’m leaning towards Johnny’s side on this one. I’m not the kind of gal that needs a new suit every year, The 3 I have are at least 3 years old now, one is more than 5 (I don’t swim much). If you’re actually going to wear this suit for more than one year, then I guess it’d be worth it to spend a little more.

    • Reply Joanna May 20, 2014 at 1:04 am

      I really love it, so I think I’ll be wearing it for many years to come :).

  • Reply Ashton May 18, 2014 at 12:49 am

    I wouldn’t spend that much, but a comfortable swimsuit is a necessity. If I’m not comfortable in my swimsuit, I won’t be able to have fun, I’ll be too self conscious. I really hate spending money on something I wear so little, but family fun comes with a price sometimes!! Lol

    • Reply Joanna May 20, 2014 at 1:05 am

      Totally. And same here. If I don’t feel comfortable in my suit, I’ll just opt for wearing a coverup the whole time, which kind of defeats the purpose of a suit in the first place!

  • Reply Anneli @thefrugalweds May 19, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    I’m probably not the best person to chime in for this since I have a drawer full of swimsuits. To be fair, I’ve told my husband I basically buy a pair of swimsuit every year. This year is the first year that he’s made me go through it so that I can donate those that I no longer use. 🙂 So I donated 4 pairs – and I still have enough to go on vacation for 2 weeks without repeating the same swim outfit! (OK, I have a problem! LoL)

    I do love getting great deals – like getting my $130 worth of swimsuit for less than $40 at 6pm.com. I think if your swim spends are factored into your clothing budget, you are fine! 🙂

    • Reply Joanna May 20, 2014 at 1:13 am

      You’re my kind of girl! And I just read your post about the a-mazing deal you got on a new suit. Nice!!

  • Reply Shelley May 20, 2014 at 10:01 am

    I totally understand. I have to buy the swimsuits with the built-in D cups and they are usually expensive.

    So what I do is go try them on in the store, and then buy the brand/size I know fits on Ebay. I’ve bought my swimsuits on Ebay for the past three years with zero issues, and pay about half price for a new w/ tag item.

    • Reply Joanna May 20, 2014 at 11:08 pm

      Oh, interesting! I never would have thought to look into eBay! Very smart.

  • Reply Slinky May 20, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    I’m with Johnny on this one. I think you can make a valid case for having a cute suit, a functional suit, and optionally one or more wetsuits depending on need. After that, you wear it until it doesn’t work anymore. So yes, more classic styles are good. I rather regretted the pink/black plaid and polka dots after a couple years. I just bought a new one piece for about half what you paid because I was down to zero wearable swimsuits and one wetsuit. I may pick up a new bikini at the end of next summer before our planned Caribbean vacation so that I have two regular suits to alternate. Until then, I’m good on swimsuits, thanks!

    • Reply Joanna May 20, 2014 at 11:09 pm

      The one I got this time around is navy and white, so I’m thinking it will last a while! And way to go on finding a one-piece at such a reasonable price!

  • Reply Newlyweds on a Budget May 21, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    if you feel super confident in that $90 swimsuit then it’s worth every penny. I haven’t bought a suit in like three years, but I LOVE the ones I bought. I think I paid $50 for one on sale that is a red retro one-piece that I still get tons of compliments on. And then I have a navy striped bikini that I got on sale at Banana Republic for like $20. Still, if I found a suit I loved I’d spend way more than $90. However, there is no way I’d buy a suit online. It’s one of those things I have to try on.

    • Reply Joanna May 22, 2014 at 1:09 am

      It was definitely a gamble buying online, but with free shipping and returns, I figured I’d give it a try. So glad it worked out! And it’s nice being validated on the $90 :). Thanks!

  • Reply Emily May 21, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    I’m glad you bought it and love it! That isn’t crazy for a quality suit. I lost weight this winter and now have to get a new one too. No hitting up clearance racks this time of the year! Plus with child wrangling you need something to keep everything where it belongs. Kids pull and tug on straps. Comfort, style and function? Score.

    • Reply Joanna May 22, 2014 at 1:13 am

      What an awesome reason to buy a new suit! And I know what you mean — I’d love to wait to get a suit on clearance but I need it NOW. Good luck finding your perfect suit, Emily!

  • Reply Marissa June 23, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    I’m glad you were able to get the good suit. As a swimmer, a proper suit is worth it’s weight in gold. $90 is a bit much for a practice suit, but for a nice beach vacation it is pretty cheap price to put to not exposing yourself in the ocean foam (did that once, never again will I wear a walmart suit). I typically go swimsuit shopping around September-October, when they are on sale and go for more classic styles. Also if you are traveling buy them in non tourist areas and you’re bound to get a better price. I got my last swimsuit in Utah while I was visiting my sister and it was only $75 for a $120 suit that I loved in Florida.

    • Reply Joanna June 23, 2014 at 11:32 pm

      I need to remember that for next time. Buying in the off season is the way to go!

  • Reply Mary July 8, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    Get the swimsuit- you deserve it!

    • Reply Joanna July 9, 2014 at 5:24 pm

      Thanks, Mary! I did!! 🙂

  • Reply MARTA SU April 20, 2016 at 4:59 am

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