Learn About Swimsuit and Bikini Materials and Fabrics

Most of us think that swimsuits are one of the simplest pieces of clothing out there. This is because once you take hold of your dignity at the beach, and you look good while doing it, you can consider that your mission is accomplished. However, swimsuits are way more than that because they put a fine line between utility and fashion.

Behind every swimwear lies a hidden layer of complexity. Keep in mind that right quality swimsuit should not just look great, it also needs to have stretchable, durable, and water-resilient fabric. This goes out for both men and women because most suits have a blend of different fabrics, such as natural and synthetic materials. Each of this kind of swimsuit fabric brings distinct qualities to the table. This is why in this article, we are going to name the fabrics that are commonly used in making swimsuits. So that next time you buy yourself a pair, you would have a guide on what kind of swimsuit fabric is the right one for you.


If you’re the kind of person who picks up a swimsuit off the rack, chances are it is mostly made with nylon. Nylon is a lightweight fabric that offers a lot of stretches and hearty moisture-wicking capability, which is why it is known for its speedy drying time. But on the other hand, nylon swimwear has a significant chance of fraying or fading after prolonged sun exposure.


Spandex is considered to be a great deal when it comes to modern swimwear, Even if it is typically not the sole fabric. Spandex is a part of a material blend that is soft and lightweight. It contributes significantly to the swimsuit’s stretchiness. This means that if you see more Spandex in the suit, it means that it is more shape-hugging compared to the ones with a lower spandex blend. This type of swimsuit fabric is commonly used in competitive swimwear because Spandex slims the figure. However, too much chlorine exposure takes a toll on its elasticity over time.


This is not commonly found in swimwear because it is not stretchier compared to other fabrics. Polyester looks like nylon, but it is heavier and not as that stretchable. This fabric earns high marks for durability, but it is considered to be a thirsty fabric, which means it absorbs more water over time. It has the tendency to weigh down your swim. On the other hand, modern polybutylene terephthalate, or also known as PBT, can reduce its absorbency, and it also speeds up drying times along with an amped-up elasticity.


Most of the new swimwear was made with wool or cotton. If you are aiming to nail the vintage look, then swimsuits that are made of this fabric is the right one for you. But even if it looks comfortable and retro-chic, cotton swimwear is not as form-fitting compared to other stretchier fabric options in the market. Plus, it also doesn’t have the ability to hold up well to chlorine. For if you want a more comfortable but curve-hugging middle ground, we suggest that you go look for a swimsuit that is made with cotton and blended with spandex or polyester.

Other Varieties of Swimwear Fabrics


Trends come and go, which means that the swimwear industry also further matures and evolves. This means that there are waves of new types of fabrics that are tried and tested when it comes to making swimwear. In fact, not so long ago, there was a trend of brands that worked with Neoprene and others shifted to using a lot of velvet on their swimsuits. Today, there is a significant demand for swimsuits that are made with textured fabrics such as velvet and ribbed.


Neoprene is a synthetic rubber that is excellent stability, great for insulation and has the ability to remain flexible even over varying temperatures. Given its superb insulation properties, Neoprene is commonly used for scuba diving suits. This fabric is thicker, and the way of stitching them is way more different compared to a ‘regular’ swimwear fabric. 


Ribbed textures are mostly made with a variety of knitted fabrics. The ribbed texture is used for swimwear is frequently made with nylon, this is because it can be made very compact and tight while it offers less stretch. 


Velvet fabrics are super soft, which is why they are mostly used for loungewear and robes. The velvet fabric has cut and evenly distributed threads, which gives it a very distinctive velvet/fur-like texture. A right blend of this fabric can work very well for swimwear, and it can give you a very luxurious look.