10/16/2020 by Sarah Ottino - Not sponsored
I am a very frugal shopper. Like, so frugal that my entire family was shocked when Whole Foods became my favorite grocery store. Student debt, car payments, rent, and other bills prevented me from spending a lot on fun stuff like bikinis and apparel these past few years.
Since I've always had the "let me get the most amount of stuff for the least amount of money" mentality, I had been buying bikinis from websites like Wish and Zaful since they were dirt-cheap. The result? They felt and looked dirt-cheap. They would come in the mail from China after 4-6 weeks wrapped in a ton of plastic. They wouldn't fit correctly, I would have to sew them to make adjustments, and I could almost guarantee the ocean would destroy each of them. I would make them work for a while, but have to trash them when they would fall apart after barely one season.
This year, I decided it was time to do things a little differently. Living in Airbnb's and only traveling with only two suitcases, I couldn't afford the space to bring 10-15 cheap bikinis to go through. So I had to finally splurge for quality over quantity.
We have been doing a ton of outdoor activities like swimming in rivers and lakes, jumping off rocks, surfing, paddle boarding, and kayaking this summer. My two-year-old string bikinis from Pacsun and Billabong have been adorable and fashionable, but man were they annoying! Do not try to surf in a string bikini. It will fall off if you're not constantly paying attention and adjusting it. I needed something that would stay in place and also last more than a few months.
That's when I started the hunt for a practical, comfortable, and hopefully sustainable bikini. Switching to a vegan lifestyle and learning about the detrimental effects that animal agriculture has on the environment has really opened my eyes to the importance of sustainability and zero-waste practices.
Sustainability is a fairly new goal for many apparel companies since the problem of plastic waste has been gaining more publicity and awareness. Many companies have jumped on board with this and have made eco-friendly and recycled materials a cornerstone of their brands, making apparel out of water bottles, fabric scraps, pineapple leaves, and even fishing nets. I started digging into brands like Reformation, Londre, Jessica Ray, Wolven, and more.
The brands mentioned above all offered adorable suits and great sustainability practices, but the styles weren't what I was looking for. I had my heart set on a solid forest green bikini for months, and had never been able to find the perfect one until I stumbled across the Vitamin A Swim website.
The Vitamin A bikinis are made from "EcoLux™ — the first premium swim fabric made from recycled nylon fibers.... [and] several more sustainable high-performance fabrics along with eco-conscious textiles like organic cotton, linen, recycled cotton and Tencel®. All materials are certified to meet the global Oeko-Tex standard for safe textiles."
A few more bonus features are that their packaging is completely zero waste. According to their website, "Our mailers are 100% recycled, recyclable, and biodegradable. Made in the USA. Each of our garments comes in a flap and seal bag that’s 100% biodegradable, recyclable, and backyard compostable. Here today, gone in a few."
And yet another bonus, they "proudly donate a portion of sales to environmental organizations working to protect our oceans."
So they instantly checked off all my boxes. Except for price. Sheesh. Over $200 for a top & bottom combo. That's more than I've ever even considered spending on any apparel item!!!
I added 3 items to my cart and my heart dropped at the $300+ final price. So I scoured the web for some discount codes. The best I could find was 10% off when you sign up for their newsletter, plus 3% cash back when you use the Rakuten plug-in. So I bit the bullet and hit "purchase".
My order arrived to San Diego in just two days. I had gone with the green Moss Top, green California High Leg bottoms, and the white Sienna Top. I figured I could wear the bottoms with either top, so I got 2 bikini styles from 3 items. Both tops fit perfectly, though I did have to exchange the bottoms for a larger size (they run small). Vitamin A will not charge you a return fee if you purchase a replacement item within 12 hours, basically offering free size exchanges.
I'm happy to say that the price was worth it. And coming from a frugal spender, than should mean a lot! These are my new go-to bikinis, and they have held up beautifully during outdoor activities. They are very comfortable, soft, durable, and the eco-rib style is very flattering. The Moss Top has held up during rock-jumping, river swimming, and surfing small waves. The dark green color does not get stained from brackish waters. It stays in place and I love the adjustable straps. The California High Leg bottoms don't stay in place as well, and they ride up a bit during long walks, so I may try one of their other styles of bottoms soon. But I do love the cut, and it looks great with the sides either on your hips or pulled up a little higher.
The Sienna Top is very comfortable and flattering as well, though I didn't realize that pads were not included. I had to cut slits in the inner sides and insert my own. For the high price, it killed me to have to cut into this top, and I feel like they should include pads (especially for the white color...). The benefit is that the sports-bra style top is great for surfing and running on the beach.
I did consider going with a one-piece since that seems like the best option for our active outdoor lifestyle, but unfortunately every one-piece I've ever tried on makes me look like a 9 year old girl going to swim practice. I even tried a few cute ones from Wolven but ended up returning them, though I may buy some leggings from them since their recycled materials are SO soft. So sporty bikinis are my best bet.
I'm hoping Vitamin A has a great Black Friday or Christmas sale coming up so I can slowly begin to replace my other cheap bikinis and donate them before they fall apart. The Vitamin A suits feel so durable I know that they'll last for years, and the simple designs and solid colors will never go out of style.
✓ Recycled materials ✓ High workplace ethics ✓ Low carbon footprint ✓ Low water use
✓ Made in the USA ✓ Sustainability practices in their factories & offices ✓ Recycled packaging
✓ Fair work environment ✓ Free exchanges ✓ Free shipping on all US orders
✓ Biodegradable/recyclable/compostable plastic ✓ Gives back ✓ And of course: Animal friendly
Cost: I got 3 pieces for $305 total
Subscribe to their newsletter for 10% off your first purchase, and get 3% cash back on Rakuten.
This post is completely unsponsored and is not a paid advertisement. I was not given free products or discounts for this review. There are no affiliate links and I do not work for the Vitamin A brand.