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Land's End offers swimsuits built for performance (and with a generous return policy, should anything go wrong). All suits available at LandsEnd.com.
By
TODAY contributor
updated 5/23/2011 2:04:00 PM ET 2011-05-23T18:04:00

Everyone's had that dreaded moment when you realize that the swimsuit you once loved is sagging, threadbare and tattered.

But that bikini can last forever (or at least until you're sick of it), with these three simple swimsuit secrets.

SECRET #1: Spend a bit of cash

“Unfortunately,” quipped designer Norma Kamali to TODAY.com of her $350 "power jersey" suits, “these things last 25 years.”

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How old is too old to wear a bikini?

The thing is, swimsuits that run in the $100-or-less price range will last you a season or so, while those from premium brands can last for years. So if you're willing to invest upfront, you could actually get a lot of bikini bang for your buck.

Shopping for style matters, too: If you're spending the dough, opt for a classic suit that's going to weather trend cycles. "It’s an amazing swimsuit that people look and feel good in,” explained Kamali of her "Bill" style, made of a high-tech polyester made in Japan. “When people get older, they tend to stay with the same style. I’m happy that the suit lasts long.”

Video: Are you really saving at retail outlets? (on this page)

Another plus to investing in a Kamali number? Durability — no matter what. “I’m wearing a (power jersey) skirt that is 18 years old and I throw it in the washing machine,” she said.

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Get in swimsuit shape — with the right software

SECRET #2: Wash your suit right away

No matter what the price, taking care of your swimsuits will prolong their wear.  

“How long your suits lasts depends on a number of options from where you wear it to how often and what your routine is when you do wear it,” explained Michele Casper, swim spokesperson for Lands’ End. 

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Original~ 398720_A710_f_43aa6_d_
"AquaTerra" top ($39.50) and skort bottom (54.50) at LandsEnd.com.

Because sun, sand and pool maintenance chemicals can be damaging to suits, “We recommend that you rinse your suit immediately after wearing to get the chemicals off,” she said. “To hand wash it in a mild detergent is even better. There is no reason your suit should not last six months to a year.” French brand Eres also recommends washing swimwear in something mild, like baby shampoo.

SECRET #3: Buy for performance, not fashion

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High-performance suits are aimed at consumers who train in a pool or regularly swim for exercise. They're also built for longevity: Lands’ End has its AquaFitness collection, Tyr has Durafast suits and Speedo offers its Endurance line, which are all touted to last longer than the average suit. The trade-off comes with styling — these suits are basic at best — and fit, as most are made with the more durable, and chlorine resistant, polyester. However, Lands’ End’s Casper added, “All suits will begin to breakdown over time.”

The bottom line is that if you’re go to the pool or beach a couple times a week and take reasonable care of your suit by washing it out, there’s no reason your Lands’ End swimsuit or comparably-priced number shouldn’t last “a full season at least,” Casper admitted. However, she added that Lands’ End stands behind its suits, which range from $39.50 to $109. “If there’s a suit that does not stand up to your expectations, you can return it for another, period.”

It’s almost as good as having a suit last 25 years.

Courtesy of H&M
H&M's bikini separates are $4.95 each.

If all else fails, find an inexpensive number — and buy a bunch of them

Hit H&M stores this summer to find its cheapest suit ever. Just $4.95 each for a bikini top and bottom (the chain's most expensive suit will run you $17.95), you can buy a suit — or 10 — and just wear them in a rotation.

While H&M doesn't expect the suits to wear out ("If the care instructions are followed, these suits will last as long as the customer loves them and wants to wear them," said a spokesperson), even if it did, who cares? Pack another away for the summer and you'll be good to go.

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Video: Budget-friendly beachwear

  1. Closed captioning of: Budget-friendly beachwear

    >>> this morning on "today's style" beachwear on a budget. from cover-ups to floppy hats you don't have to spend a fortune to be fashionable at the beach. kate has the scoop on where to find the best beachwear without breaking the bank. good morning.

    >> good morning to you.

    >> the trend has to be color this year.

    >> it is. we saw it for spring, but in summer, who doesn't want to wear color ? especially at these price points points. you're wearing a great color .

    >> thank you very much.

    >> and it goes beyond the beach now. you can throw it over a tank and wear it with jeans. this is calypso for target. it's about $29. it's adorable.

    >> but to really save money do the dress.

    >> this is called the two-timer. it's by roxy. and this is the tresz you could wear to the beach but if everybody wants to go out to lunch you throw it on.

    >> cute under a jean jacket.

    >> adorable.

    >> also color in sunglasses.

    >> this is an interesting way to add color to the look. these are $28. kate hudson has been seen wearing them.

    >> really?

    >> the big trend in hollywood --

    >> that makes me want to put on a pair. everyone wants to be kate .

    >> i do.

    >> she's beautiful.

    >> she is.

    >> i don't measure up, but, okay, fine. sandals, lots of color .

    >> exactly.

    >> and fun. but you don't have to have color wearing.

    >> finally flat sandals are in. they look good with the maxi dresses and skirts. at people stylewatch we love this version from mix-it. this is jc penney and it combines the ethnic trend. you get color , a flat sandal and boho chic .

    >> the whole ethnic trend has been going on for years.

    >> it's a summer classic. summer is when you want to wear it. designers can't get enough of it.

    >> let's talk about it.

    >> beyond the beach. these totes are so adorable. yes, you will want them at the beach but you will want to take them out with you all day long.

    >> totes are the thing. we don't want to use plastic bags.

    >> also in summer you don't want to run home to change or grab something. you want to find a bag you can throw in everything and be outside all day. this is from five below. it's $5. that's a good one, right?

    >> pretty good.

    >> how about these floppy hats? hats can be expensive.

    >> they can. these look good but offer a lot of protection. they have wide brims. this is from rumor. uh love the hat. i love the raffia edge. this is from stephanie greenfield. it looks like it costs more than it does. and this is from the gap. i love the chain detail.

    >> it doesn't feel heavy. probably keeps it in place. that's terrific. jewelry on the beach. not fancy. durable jewelry. but this is a way to up the game.

    >> a super cute trend. friendship bracelets are so wonderful. they add great color to your wardrobe. it's a little bit of the boho reference and you can customize the look. grab a few from one designer, a few from another. make your own style. these are from five below also. they are a dollar each.

    >> i love these. the little silk ones are bright. the teenagers will love it. the young people .

    >> but you can go swimming in them, too.

    >> they don't bleed.

    >> exactly.

    >> scarves. they are great protection and cool. they have the same ethnic feel.

    >> exactly. you're adding color to the wardrobe. it's easy if you were in a white cut-off and tank top you could add this for color . this is from rumor, old navy.

    >> very stylish. kate 's helping us

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