Eco-Friendly Swimwear

Last week I shared the staple contents of my waste-free beach bag, and mentioned my swimsuit partially made of recycled nylon. This week, let's talk more about that eco-friendly swimwear. (Although, if you live in South Louisiana, with this incoming tropical storm, swimwear may be the last thing on your mind...or we'll all be wearing it by Friday.)

So typically, one does not spend part of their September and October obsessing over finding a new swimsuit. But when you're about to get married, and your honeymoon is in Hawaii over the Christmas holidays, then you find yourself in that situation.

The swimsuits I had were a few years old (and had already been to Hawaii), so I was jonesing for something new, but I didn't want to pick up yet another cheap, ill-fitting suit from Target. I decided that Hawaii would be a good reason to do some research and find eco-friendly swimwear companies.

I'll be honest, I wasn't even sure at the time what I would find. What exactly would make a swimsuit eco-friendly? I learned that most eco-friendly suits are made with recycled nylon or Econyl, which is a fabric spun out of recycled fishing nets. Many companies also use a fabric made with recycled PET material, aka, plastic bottles.

While shopping, my criteria was not difficult, or so I thought: cute, not ridiculously expensive, and covers everything. What I found was a lot of expensive suits that didn't cover everything. Yes, I know Brazilian bikinis are popular in Hawaii, and yes, I take power yoga twice a week, but I was spending most of the vacation with my in-laws. I also knew that my gym's swimming pool is not a Hawaiian beach.

After some searching, I ended up with a printed suit from Odina Surf (update March 2020: it appears that Odina Surf is no longer in business) and a solid one from Vitamin A Swim. I love the high neck halter style of the Vitamin A suit above, and I love the print and colors of the Odina Surf suit below. And I love that both tops have the same style criss-cross back, so at least my tan lines will be somewhat consistent!

What I didn't do on purpose was pick suits from two different companies that color coordinate almost perfectly, but having the option to mix and match the pieces makes them even better.

What I've Learned

You will spend more money than if you'd just go to a department store, but you'll support a smaller business that is committed to sustainability practices. And chances are, you're getting a better quality suit too.

You may have to make some adjustments to make the suit exactly how you like it. For example, neither bikini top I got came with liners, so I improvised and used some from other suits.

When You're Shopping

Read up on a brand's sustainability focus and commitment. Many of them have a page dedicated to the practices they follow and/or materials they use.

Read the product descriptions closely. For example, Vitamin A has many pieces made with their EcoLux fabric, but not all of them are. My halter top is actually not EcoLux, I believe due to the mesh section, but the bottoms are.

Follow the size charts, but contact customer service if you still have sizing questions. Sizing was one of the hardest parts of suit shopping, and I had to make a couple exchanges, even though I did follow the size chart. And make sure the company will take returns! Some items are marked final sale.

Now go forth in your eco-friendly swim suit and do yoga on a beach somewhere!


These are some of the brands I came across while searching for suits last year, and some I've started following in more recent months:

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