The Best Time to Buy a Swimsuit

Think August for Big Bargains on That Bikini or Chic One-Piece

Bathing suits on wall in store
••• Eri Morita/The Image Bank/Getty Images

If your old swimsuit is getting a bit faded and stretched out or you are just looking for a new look, it's tempting to scoop up a cool new suit as soon as they hit the racks in March or April, when thoughts are turning to the warm weather to come. But if you buy your swimsuit at the start of the season, you might end up spending nearly double what you could pay by just waiting for a few months.

Inside Skinny on Buying a Swimsuit

  • Shop in August: You will get the best prices on swimwear in August because that's when stores are eager to clear out their summer inventory to make room for fall shipments. Even online shops mark down their products significantly to make room for new lines. By waiting until August, you can get 40 to 70 percent off the original retail price. 
  • Settle for May: If you just cannot wait until the end of summer, May is the second best month to buy swimwear. With the sudden burst of warm weather, retailers often offer competitive sales to lure shoppers in to start their summer purchases, plus swimsuits are often marked down during big Memorial Day events.
  • Avoid June and July: Of the entire year, June 8 is considered to be the largest swimsuit-buying day. Bikinis, in particular, fly off the racks, so retailers tend to keep prices high throughout June and July. During the hottest months in the middle of swim season, people looking for a new suit are eager to buy whatever suits are available, so stores have no reason to discount them. 
  • Select Separates: Many swimsuits are now sold as separates, which is a great option for women who are different sizes on bottom and top. But it can also be a great way to mix and match and get a great bargain. If you have a great black bottom you want to keep, you can zero in on matching or complementary tops to make it seem updated rather than buying a whole new suit. 
  • Be Open to Different Brand: While you might rely on the same stores or brands every year, it may be worth breaking out of your comfort zone. Many stores have refocused their efforts on creating stylish and affordable swimwear that holds up to regular wear. Other brands have launched lines that meet specific needs, such as for women who are active on the beach or women who want a bit more support and control up top. 

    Bottom Line

    If you can wait until August, that is when you will almost certainly get the best buys. But just about everything with a potential upside gain comes with a possible downside loss. Same with swimsuits in August. There's a risk that you won't find what you want since the selection by that time is waning. You have to weigh that risk based on how easy it is to find your size, how easy it is for you to find a flattering suit, and how particular you are about style; these are all issues that are affected by how much selection there is. You might have to make compromises in August on the suit, if not the price. If you absolutely cannot wait to purchase a new bikini for a summer cruise, May is the second best time to find a suit without going over-budget.