Three ways to make your swimsuit last forever

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 of her $350 "power jersey" suits, “these things last 25 years.”

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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.”

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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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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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

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.

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.