Friday, May 31, 2013

Post-Memorial Day Swimwear Extravaganza!

It's swim season ladies! And you know what that means? ... Hours and hours of scouring the internet for tznua swimwear! Here are my top picks for what to wear into the water this summer!

Pareo Cover Up by Coolibar

I found it. I found a skirt made out of swimming material that wasn't from a frum site. I thought it was impossible. I really did. But here it is. The Pareo Cover Up by Coolibar. I'm just as shocked as you are to find that this exists. Unfortunately, it may not be the best for swimming in deep water because it's so narrow, but you can definitely do some wading in calm water in this one. It would also be really cute to wear to the water parks! At $59.50, it's not inexpensive and still needs undergarments (swim tights and/or bikini bottom based on your personal preference), but for an item that's as difficult to find as this is, I think it's a great deal.

Coolibar offers free shipping on orders of $150 or more. It also provides a free bucket hat on orders of at least $100. The bucket hat is cotton, so not for the water, though.

Resort Swim Shirt by Coolibar

Coolibar also offers 11 tznua rashguard options, ranging in price from $65.00 to $89.50. One interesting option is the Resort Swim Shirt for $85. At 25" long, it's 1.5" longer than a normal rashguard. It also has a more relaxed cut for those who are worried about swimwear being too tight-fitting when wet. It seems to be a great option for tznua clothing wearers who want to get wet without sacrificing modesty.

Cabana Life Rashguards

There's been a proliferation of rashguards this year available on commercial websites. This is an awesome development given that only two years ago it was nearly impossible to find rashguards for women. Now, even Tory Burch has gotten into the rashguard mix (but most of us don't want to spend $175 - $250 on a rashguard). So, if a mixture of relatively affordable and super cute are your goals for a rashguard, look no further than Cabana Life. Cabana Life's Palm Rashuard is beautiful. It's print makes me want to go to Palm Beach or Hilton Head and just sit at the beach. It just looks expensive. But, at $68, it's affordable for a rashguard that has care in its design. I really like it, and it's going to take a bit of will-power for me to not buy this right now.

And if my favorite rashguard doesn't float your boat, so to speak, Cabana Life offers 21 other tznua rashguards with prices ranging from $50 to $72. Even Oprah likes them!

Just for kicks, here's a picture of Oprah's favorite, which is $54. It's my second-favorite!

Athleta Rashguards

One retailer that has consistently sold rashguards is Athleta. To be honest, I was nervous when Gap acquired Athleta that they would get rid of certain item categories, like rashguards. To my pleasant surprise, Gap has kept Athleta's rashguards and expanded the number of styles available. Gap has also opened a number of Athleta stores across the US, so you can even try Athleta merchandise on in-person. They also offer returns on items after you wear them if you don't like them (like Nordstrom and J.C. Penney)!

Atheta's old-faithful rashguard style is the Ruched Guard. It is always available in at least a few colors and the price ranges from $49.99 (for sale colors) to $69.00 (for regularly-priced colors). It also can provide extra length by adjusting the strings on the side.

J. Crew Rash Guard

Even J. Crew's gotten in the rashguard act. They offer 10 tznua styles, so you can feel like a First Lady when you go swimming. I really like everything they offer, and with prices ranging from $47.60 to $210.00, there's a rashguard for every budget. (Note prices will rise on June 3rd to at least $68.00, so go shopping while they're on sale.) For a style under $50, I like the Polka-Dot Rash Guard in Navy.

Polka-dot rash guard

Lands End Swim Shirts and Rashguards

Last but not least for today, are the rashguards from Lands End, a store where I can find almost anything tznua, as long as it's not simchawear that I'm looking for. Lands End has 8 options, and with their current swim sale (40% - 60% off), prices range from $20.40 to $23.40 (Misses sizes), making these rashguards the most affordable of the bunch thus far. As an aside, I have ordered these before and I did not love the material for myself. But, they do get excellent reviews from other Lands End customers and Lands End  has an excellent return policy where you can return the item at any time if you don't like it.

One style to consider is the Stripe Crewneck Swim Tee Cover-Up in White/Black Stripe.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Gymboree's Little-Known Adult Clothing Line, Shade

You may not know, as Gymboree has an oft-overlooked and oft-ignored women's clothing brand called "Shade." The store sells misses and maternity sizes, with most clothing items being on the relaxed-side; think Ann Taylor Loft meets J. Jill. Nothing is too exciting, the regular prices are relatively high for what the clothing is, and Gymboree spends absolutely no time or money marketing it (unless, of course you count one Facebook post in December 2011).

Shade has 8,523 likes on its Facebook page, which isn't too shabby, but isn't great, either. (Note that Gymboree's Facebook page has over 437,000 likes.) But, many of those who like the page liked it before Gymboree purchased Shade. See, Shade started in 2004, joined Facebook in May 2010, and by the end of 2010 had closed. Gymboree bought it and reopened it as an online-only store in mid-2011. And then ignored it, as I perceive it.

Why would we be interested in Shade? Shade was founded in 2004 by two Mormon women in Utah who got tired of not being able to find modest clothes (sound familiar)? They designed a few basic shirts and their sales increased by 30% per month for awhile. Even non-Mormons liked to find shirts they didn't hang out of on top and didn't show plumbers' cracks on the bottoms! Holy cow!

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, they closed toward the end of 2010 and Gymboree bought them and brought them back with only making "minor" alterations to Shade's basic design style (read: lower necklines and some alterations to swimwear, I believe reading awhile ago). So, in a bid to get more customers by having more styles, they may have alienated the brand's most loyal customers while not making much of an attempt to get new customers to replace them.

Now here comes the Tznua Fashionista part of the whole story: The website currently looks like it's having a fire sale. Like, the clothing is dirt cheap. With free shipping and free returns. I don't know what this means for Shade's future prospects; Gymboree hasn't said they're closing the site or anything like that publicly. But, based on my infrequent visits to the site, it seems to be treated like the step-child of an indifferent step-parent.

Because of the irresistible prices I just placed my first order. Here's what I bought for a total of $27.32, including tax. (Still not quite sure where that tax is doing there.) There are more tznua clothing options on the site that I didn't buy because I didn't love them for me.

Note: Please pardon these less-than-crisp images. That's how they are on Shade's site, no joke. When I say the site doesn't get the attention it deserves, I'm not kidding. When you're on there, read the descriptions and see what doesn't make sense. I just have to shake my head.

The Drawstring Maxi Skirt

At $11.99, this item is a steal. It only comes in "Black." It says it's shiny satin, but it has a drawstring, so I'm not sure if I'm supposed to wear it for nicer occasions or if it's casual. But you know what? I don't care. It was $12 and it's a 40"-long skirt!

The Stripe Boatneck Slub Tee

This pretty little shirt cost the budget-busting amount of $5.99. I would have preferred to try it in a small, but it was sold out, so I settled for the extra-small. It says "free returns" anyway, right? (Note to my friends reading this: if it doesn't fit, feel free to try it on if you want to buy it off me before I return it.) I bought it in the "White/Fawn Stripe" color. The "White/Peach Stripe" color was already sold out when I found it.

The Slub Polo Shirt

The last item I purchased was this polo shirt for $7.79. It has buttons all the way to the collar, so it can be closed to the neck for super tznius-ability. Or, you can live dangerously and leave a few buttons unbuttoned. But if you go this route, here's a warning: it may lead to mixed dancing (the horror!), and we all know what that leads to... yeah, less reading of my blog. So, keep needing to search for those super-tznius clothing items we all love to hate to go shopping for! Anyway, I bought it in "Whisper Blue" because "White" was sold out

One final note: I have a newish general policy of not posting sale clothing and clothing in limited sizes on my blog. These items generally get short snippets on Tznua Fashionista's Facebook page instead. This warranted a blog post because of the nature of the discounts and how little-known the brand is.