Why Are Bikinis So Expensive?

Remember this the next time you weep over that price tag.
PHOTO: Nick Onken

Living in the Philippines means you’re never too far from the beach, which is frankly a very good reason to OD on swimsuit shopping. But seriously, who else has felt cheated while looking through bikinis and doing a double take upon seeing their price tags? We know we have. 

As it turns out, there's a valid reason why bikinis are expensive—and that's because your teeny-tiny two-piece actually takes longer to put together than other garments. "Essentially, the fabric has to relax between steps, and every machine has to be set for each new style,” Michelle Copelman, designer of Solid & Striped (you might have seen her Americana-themed maillots on Gigi Hadid and Taylor Swift), told E! News. That’s not without additional details like trimming and embellishment, which are outsourced from places with the kind of special machinery designed to make these things.

And if that suit you’ve been coveting happens to be manufactured in Western Europe, expect to pay more—the best swimsuit fabric apparently comes from this region. Labor costs also come into play, as something made in the States (where strict labor laws are in place) would be more expensive than a bikini made in sweatshop-like conditions.

Of course, as with all things, you get what you pay for. If you want a swimsuit that can withstand a surfing lesson as opposed to just a few selfies on the sand, you really would have to shell out more.

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