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Sunday, March 3rd
Everyone knows Old Navy. They're a go-to store for most wardrobe staples from jeans to tees and likely have at least one retail location in your area.
Basic selection of swimwear
Swimsuits at Old Navy are relatively basic, and their results lists don't always match up with the product category. For example, under boys' swimwear comes up with 39 corresponding items - but some of those were flip-flops and slides, along with a handful of options for board shorts, swim shorts, and short- and long-sleeve rashguards. The selection for women's swimsuits was much broader, with almost 450 options and most of them swimwear (not shoes or related apparel, though you'll see those too).
You probably won't find any swimsuits here that are over $60. Old Navy is known for being affordable, and their swimwear won't break anyone's budget. The most expensive designs we spotted were in the Secret Smooth Plus-Size line: regularly priced at $59.99, on sale for $56.97 and with an additional 25% off taken at checkout. (Are we the only ones who get a little irritated when plus sizes come at a higher price than the smaller sizes in the same design?)
Filters can help you find swimwear quickly
If you want to narrow down the possibilities, make use of Old Navy's filters. They vary depending on who you're shopping for (men, children, etc.) but in general you'll get filters for category, size, color and price with a few others thrown in. We wish the thumbnail images gave a bit more information, like available colors or the average customer rating - but you'll have to click on individual items to see those details.
Free size recommendation tool
Old Navy is one of two retailers in our review that uses the True Fit system to help you get a swimsuit that fits well the first time. You create a user profile that can be applied across multiple stores, and you'll get recommendations for sizing and an idea of how any given swimsuit will likely fit.
In-store locations = more options
Because Old Navy has many in-store locations throughout the country, some aspects of shopping are easier here. First, you can order online and pick up in store if the swimwear is in stock near you. That's a good thing, because you will only get free shipping if your order is at least $50 and you're a member of their complimentary Rewards program. Returns can be made by mail or in-store within 45 days of purchase. Just be sure that your swimwear still has the tags attached and the hygienic liner hasn't been removed.
Big retailers get lots of complaints
Shopper impressions of Old Navy (and the swimsuits they sell) aren't 100% positive. The company has a "D-" from the Better Business Bureau, but that extends across the entire brand family that includes Gap, Banana Republic and Athleta too. The BBB said that's because there were 14 complaints that didn't get a corporate response, out of more than 1400 filed there in the three years prior to our review. For such a big company with a significant online and in-person retail presence, that doesn't seem that awful to us.
Swimwear may have quality issues
But, looking through reviews on swimsuits didn't leave us overly impressed. A lot of customers commented about poorly-made apparel: seams coming apart after just a wear or two (or even when still brand-new), shrinkage after one wash, and so on. Don't get us wrong: there are still plenty of swimsuits with lots of positive customer reviews. There just seems to be a higher-than-average amount of swimwear that doesn't hold up after actually being worn for swimming!
Good but not great for swimsuits
That's the main factor in a "just average" rating from us: Old Navy is okay for basic swimsuit options for men, women, and children, but there are retailers bringing in much more positive feedback from shoppers.
Let's face it: most of us really don't like shopping for swimwear, even when we have hundreds of options right at our fingertips. Standing in front of a changing room mirror, under harsh lighting and with barely enough room to turn around, is not exactly a recipe for a mood-boosting retail experience. What if it didn't have to be that way?
Good news: it doesn't! You can buy your next swimsuit online and try it on in the privacy of your own home, no fluorescent lights required. Snap a photo and text your friends to see if they like it, use a filter to see how you'd look wearing it at the beach - it's really that easy.
But wait. Do stores really let you return swimsuits if you don't like how they look or fit? Yes! Of course, you usually have to keep the hygienic liner in place, the tags attached, and return it in unworn, unwashed condition in order to be eligible for a refund.
Better yet, many top online retailers of swimwear make it easy to get the right fit on your first try. How? Some provide tools that take your measurements and your feedback on how certain brands fit you (e.g. too small, too large, true to size) to give you an approximation of how any particular trunks, bikinis or one-pieces might fit. Also, look for detailed customer reviews: they're usually sortable by height and weight so you can choose ratings from shoppers with your same body type, and many times they even include candid photos.
There are a lot of online swimwear retailers to consider, from household name brands you already recognize and love to lesser-known stores with plenty of trendy and classic styles you might not find anywhere else. Where should you shop? Here are some factors to keep in mind to help you pick:
TopConsumerReviews has evaluated and ranked today's top online retailers of swimsuits. We're confident that this information will help you find the perfect apparel for your next trip to the beach or pool!
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