Sadly Calavera swimwear is no more.
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Calavera Swimwear is an American surf bikini brand with a mission to provide active women in, on, and near the water, a bikini that stays on at an affordable price. The owner Anna, has a story many of us can relate to. Burnt out on work, she took a well-needed vacation, tried surfing and fell in love. Calavera Swimwear is the love child of Anna’s passion for a high-performance bikini and her desire to still look feminine in the surf.
It’s almost too pretty to surf in!
I was really excited to test Calavera’s bikinis. I have heard about them for a while but had never actually seen one (she does not stock in stores, preferring to by-pass the retail mark-up model and keep prices affordable for us girls).
Testing the Reversible Halter Top in Aztec print ($69) and Core Lifeguard bottom (Brazilian cut) ($35)
Why I chose this style?
Instantly I was attracted to this bikini. The colours are gorgeous… Aztecs meet the ocean (this style available in only one other print option). I was also really intrigued by the design of the back of the bikini. Normally I would never recommend surfing in a halter neck as they tend to put unnecessary pressure on your neck (see my article the do’s and don’ts of surf bikinis). This design, with the unique ‘halter-top’ back strap, appeared to have found a solution to that issue. The bikini top also offers full coverage, something I need with my fuller chest size in bigger surf.
What I loved
The Halter Top – not actually a halter neck
The design of this bikini means there is no pressure on the back of you neck. I can not stress how awesome this is! The unique design allows for a high neck and full coverage without tight straps. It was incredibly comfortable to wear. Note the thickness of the shoulder straps – perfect!
The double cross-back
The unique crossback design held the bikini solid in place. As I tightened the adjustable back strap, it pulled the bikini in from all sides: across the ribs, across the breast and up high by the collar bones. It was solid in big surf. Did not move an inch.
The double fused spandex material
Like the back detail, the fabric is also really unique. Not thick and cumbersome like some neoprene, but not thin like lycra. The fabric gave the bikini extra shape, holding me in place as well as providing a little extra padding and warmth.
The print and the colours
I received so many compliments in this bikini. It sure was a head turner. Such a beautiful print and colour-way, almost too pretty to wear surfing and get covered in wax!
Non-elastic string in the bottom
Having a rope-like tie instead of an elasticated draw-string meant that I could get the bottoms really tight and they stayed put. I didn’t have to worry about breaking any thread in the drawstring when tying it tight (many draw strings are just folded bikini fabric sewn into a string with regular thread, which not only cuts you but also breaks way too easily). The bottoms did not move all session.
The option of full coverage or Brazilian bottoms
Personally, I prefer a Brazilian bottom as opposed to full cover. It is great that Calavera offer the choice f both coverage options. The Brazilian bottoms are not too high cut, so perfect if you just want to get rid of some tan lines on your bum!
What they could do better
The mesh fabric may not be durable enough for surfing big waves
I was devastated when a friend pointed out a very small hole in the mesh of the bikini top. After my first surf in pretty heavy waves, two small holes had appeared in the mesh at the seam with the spandex. While the mesh is designed to make the thick fabric more breathable, the bikini top I tested (may indeed be a one-off faulty item), was not durable enough to survive the stresses of repeat duck dives and pressure on the mesh from my body pressed against the surfboard. Anna from Calavera said she had not heard from any customers with the same issue so it is very likely my item was faulty, with potentially not enough allowance on the seam. She kindly offered replaced the item (they have a great returns policy) and one is currently in the post for surf test 2!
Would love more colourway options in the halter top design
There are only two colour options whereas in the Core Glam top there are six colourway options (I think the Core Glam is their best seller).
Overall impression of Calavera Swimwear
Calavera Swimwear is really challenging the traditional bikini with innovative designs and new fabrics. I loved the double fused spandex material, and how it was cut with that unique cross back, halter top design. The other bikinis in the range look great with thick bands by the ribs and two eye-lets for a double-cross back, just like the halter-top (check out their competitor range). The halter-top is the absolute perfect bikini for surfing, especially if you have a fuller chest like myself. Hopefully my replacement top will stand the forces of a big swell. I will update this article after surf test 2!
Price is average for a good surf bikini at just over $100USD for a bikini set. Good returns policy – you need to cover return postage (pretty standard no returns on sale items). Free First Class UPS shipping to anywhere in the USA for orders over $35USD.
– Use code Calavera&SStoked to get a 12% discount off your first order.
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