It’s no secret that I will thrift pretty much anything and second hand swimsuits are no exception! By the time you finish reading, you’ll realize how smart and stylish it is to thrift swimwear for you and your whole family!

YES You Should Buy Second Hand Swimsuits
Just a couple girls at Gulf Shores Beach in our second hand swimsuits!

Is it okay to wear used swimsuits?

Let’s deal with this question right off the bat. Is it okay to wear second hand swimsuits? YES. It’s okay to wear used anything. Every thing is one use away from being used! It doesn’t really matter if you are the one to use it first. No one but you will know it’s second hand (unless you tell the whole internet about it on your blog!) just like no one knows what size you’re wearing or how much you paid for it. Finding a swimsuit you like is hard. Like most women, I am willing to pay pretty much anything for one I like – and B.T. (Before Thrifting), I did. I paid at least $100 for swimsuits that would last one or two seasons tops, and that was before I was in the pool year round. Now, all my second hand swimsuits cost $7 or less. So once again, YES, wearing used swimsuits is actually way smarter than paying ten times the cost for new.

YES You Should Buy Used Swimsuits
I literally wore this cobalt swimsuit out shortly after this solar eclipse hot tub shot! Good thing it only cost me $6!

Buying Second Hand Swimsuits

Thrifting a swimsuit is exactly like buying one regular retail (except the price). You should always try it on and keep your panties on when you do. Some wonder if you can catch STDs or otherwise come into contact with nastiness when you shop in a second hand store… As far as STDs go, it’s highly unlikely and in any case, just as possible in a thrift store as in a regular retail store. That little adhesive gusset strip is meaningless according to an apt Huff Post article. As for other ‘things’, it’s possible but just as possible in a thrift store as in a regular retail store! I am in my seventh year of thrifting and have never had any issues. I only thrift pieces or items that are in good condition, I only buy pieces that fit me and I always wash my hands or use hand sanitizer after leaving the second hand store or any store.  (Are you starting to get my point?!) One thing to note: the stock in thrift stores varies so you may have to check back frequently before you find the right swimsuit for you. It’s worth the wait!

YES You Should Buy Second Hand Swimsuits
After I posted this $4 hibiscus bathing suit on Instagram, someone let me know they had the same suit almost 20 years ago! I suspect this particular one was not worn during those years because it was in perfect condition – only buy second hand swimsuits in good condition!

How to Disinfect Second Hand Swimsuits

Whether you buy a swimsuit new or second hand, there is absolutely no guarantee that other people kept their underwear on in the fitting room. So, the first thing you do once you get your second hand swimsuit home is wash it! There’s no special way to “disinfect” swimsuits and no need for special disinfecting. Launder as usual – for me that means washing on cold with laundry detergent and about 1 cup of vinegar (put it in the softener dispenser of front loading machines). The vinegar is a natural softener and does double duty of getting rid of any smells – works like a charm on hockey gear and camping clothes that smell like campfire too! I don’t usually dry my swimsuits in the dryer but follow the care instructions on the suit and dry if you like. Even if it shrinks, you’ll only be out a few bucks!

Gallery of Second Hand Swimsuits

I have thrifted a lot of swimsuits over the years! Here is a “vintage” post from 20 pounds ago 5 years ago, “VV Boutique Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition!” My photography has improved thank goodness and I have let go of the swimsuit skirt in the current age of body positivity. Here is my current collection of second hand swimsuits with one missing – the new-with-tags Speedo suit I thrifted for swimming lessons a couple years ago. I’m just not in a Speedo swimsuit stage of life!

Yes You Should Buy Second Hand Swimsuit
I’m more in a relax-by-the-pool stage of life!
Yes You Should Buy Second Hand Swimsuit
My $4.90 black-and-white retro style swimsuit was the first to go in my Houston pool.
YES You Should Buy Used Swimsuits
I’ve had some fun in this swimsuit!
YES You Should Buy Second Hand Swimsuits
My most recent second hand swimsuit purchase was this black beauty I bought in May for $5.45!
YES You Should Buy Second Hand Swimsuits
The reason I wore my cobalt swimsuit out is because I wore it constantly last summer! I didn’t realize until it was too late how far gone it was!!!
Second Hand Swimwear
I have also had this $4 pink swimsuit for years and so far, no transparent back situation!
YES You Should Buy Second Hand Swimsuits
Who doesn’t want to float in a pink sprinkle donut in a pink swimsuit?!!
YES You Should Buy Second Hand Swimsuits
My current fave is this $6.56 Bond Eye swimsuit I wore yesterday to the Alabama beach!
It fits so well that it is one brand I am willing to buy from an online second hand store like Thred Up or Poshmark, without trying on.
Yes You Should Buy Used Swimsuits
Fun fact: I wear my red Sunday Afternoons SPF 50 hat to the beach and water park for a specific reason, and it’s *not* to be fancy, Marsha! I wear it so that my kids can easily spot me in the crowd! Brilliant, huh?!
YES You Should Buy Second Hand Swimsuits
Last but not least… I buy my kids’ and husband’s swimsuits and swim shirts second hand too! They each have a few suits and I usually scan that section in the thrift store and nab any in good condition. They wear them out fast!

I hope I’ve sufficiently demonstrated why you should buy second hand swimsuits! You’ll look great and save a ton of money that you can put toward other things – like family vacations! Happy swimming!

xoxo Nicole

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Yes You Should Buy Second Hand Swimsuit


  1. mrsyeo01

    Yep. Totally worth buying second hand swimmers. My current swimmers retailed for $250AUD and my sun hat retailed for $350AUD. Together they cost me less then $20

    • nicole

      THAT is what I’m talking about!! It just doesn’t make sense to pay retail! Well done and thanks for letting me know!! The score is sweeter when it’s shared!

  2. Pam Scott

    I have bought some really nice swimuits this summer at thrift stores and garage sales. I have paid no more than $2.00 for one. It’s so nice to have several instead of one. Last year, I paid close to $75 and that was buying it on a summer sale so I only had the one suit to wear.

    • nicole

      TWO DOLLARS! That’s awesome! And you’re absolutely right, B.T. (Before Thrifting) I only had one swimsuit at a time and got bored of them. I love having variety, and that’s only possible because I buy them second hand! Thanks for sharing! xoxo

  3. Jennifer Fleischman

    Since I too have been very supportive of Thred Up this year I wanted to give others a head up!!

    They started charging a restocking fee of $1.99 per item on Jun 15. I asked why their customers weren’t notified and got this response , “Our goal is to give customers access to the widest variety of secondhand pieces at the most affordable prices imaginable. To keep our prices low, we do need to apply certain fees to our services. While these fees may change over time, we have the best interest of our customers in mind every step of the way.” My problems with this are

    1. I can’t understand why one of the several emails I receive from them daily wouldn’t have notified me.

    Their response, we added a note to the item page and that’s all they felt was necessary. (I never even saw it)

    2. With at home thrifting and so many brands having different sizing not to mention the type of fabric effects fit, it is nearly impossible to select items that fit without first trying them.

    This new fee simply doesn’t make it worth thrift shopping on line for me anymore.

    • nicole

      I did not know about this, haven’t shopped Thred Up in a while. I agree though that part of being transparent and ethical is ensuring any changes like that are abundantly clear, especially when you can go to a thrift store in person and find things for $2. I have less hesitancy about Poshmark because there are notes about condition and fit, and you can always message the lister. It’s too bad there wasn’t something similar on Thred UP. Stick to bags I guess! Thanks for letting me know.

  4. That pool is gorgeous, I’d live in swimsuits if that was my backyard, I can see why you would need multiple pairs!

    I have bought new-with-tags swimwear from a thrift shop (which had a higher price than retail but at least I kept it out of landfill and the charity benefitted) but will now consider the others.

    Love the hat!

    • nicole

      Thanks! I feel pretty lucky. Also as a Canadian in Houston, I think I might perish without it! I have thrifted NWT swimsuits too – you never know what you might find! And absolutely YES, there are other compelling reasons to shop resale not retail besides the bottom line – as you listed! So worth it! Thanks for commenting!

  5. Thanks for sharing this! I just ordered a beautiful bikini from poshmark for $9!! It’s a Victoria secret and she said it had been worn once. I was originally just going for the tip but she threw in the bottom. I’m so excited but was a little worried too. I decided to list all of my old swimsuits on there and they all sold too! So there must be a lot of us that are starting to catch on. I just can’t justify $100-200 every year on swimsuits and I am wry active in mine so they tend to wear out pretty fast.

    • nicole

      AMEN to this. Most of my suits are thrifted and it makes so much sense to spend less since they don’t hold up well. Thank you for reading and commenting!