Plus Size Swimwear Review: Chromat Tidal II Suit
Disclaimer: The lingerie in this post was purchased by The Lingerie Addict for review. All opinions are my own.
I’ve long been intrigued by the graphic colors and architectural lines of the lingerie and swimwear designs by Chromat. As a queer-owned company, they seem to embody a queer aesthetic that revels in unexpected contours and the sexiness of the play between coverage and sheerness. When, a few years ago, they expanded their size range and sent some fat babes down the runway rocking new designs, I was even more smitten.
Their latest line of velvet swimwear uses some of their classic shapes, such as a sculpted underwire swim top and a high-neck sleeved one-piece, in lush jewel-toned velvet. The decadent dandy in me loves the idea of velvet even on the beach, so picking just one suit was a challenge! For this review, I selected the Tidal II Suit in Magenta Velvet ($228, XS-4X).
Cut and Style
The Tidal II Suit is a one-piece swimsuit with a high neck, short sleeves, and a bikini-cut thigh. Most of the suit is constructed out of a raspberry-toned lycra velvet that is, in fact, swim safe! Seams down the front, over the breasts, and at the waist give shape and nod to the architectural construction for which Chromat is so known.
At the front, a triangle of black mesh offers a peek at the chest. This material is repeated on the back. In the larger sizes, the upper back from about the bottom of the shoulder blades up is fully mesh whereas on smaller sizes the back to the waist is mesh. The back also features a visible black molded-plastic zipper.
The inside of the suit is fully lined in swimsuit lining in matching raspberry. The lining feels substantial and adds to the structure of the drapier velvet. The color matching, too, adds a more luxurious feeling appropriate to the price point.
Fit and Comfort
My measurements placed me on the cusp between sizes 1X and 2X. Because my torso is on the longer side, I selected the larger size. The length feels just perfect. There is no bagginess around my waist and it stays in place in the back and above my thighs. The sleeves, too, fit snugly but not uncomfortably.
I would have liked a little more snugness around the upper part of the torso. In the description for the Tidal suit, Chromat suggests that in larger sizes the back is only partially mesh to allow an additional swimwear top underneath for support. I don’t love this. Fat folks deserve the same designs as skinny folks, especially when, as in this case, the design itself does not impact wear or support, just assumes the level of coverage we want.
For myself, I’d prefer a slightly snugger top with a full mesh back. My breasts are going to hang a little low unless supported by a full, fitted underwire, which is not my preference for the beach. No need to tell me I should want more support, Chromat!
Quality and Wear
The first suit I received had a small hole in one interior lining seam. I could see it easily being missed in product quality checks because it was only apparent when the fabric stretched. While it would have been easy to mend, given the price point of this suit I opted to email and ask for an exchange.
Chromat customer service was quick to reply and send me a return label. However, it took a week and a half – and a few messages from me checking in – after they received the return to send out a new suit. This was the only disappointment I had with the suit or company.
I received the replacement suit just in time to take it on a very brief trip to Honolulu, with just enough time for one dip in the ocean. Turns out you really can wear velvet in the water! It holds its shape well and the nap bounces right back after a good rinse and air dry.
The suit stayed in place well while frolicking around in the ocean, too. I could see this being great for going from the water to lunch, tossing a skirt on top. It would also work as a bodysuit and would look very hot under a tuxedo, for instance.
I’ll be honest: this suit is out of my usual budget. The fair wage production, sustainable materials, quality of construction, and the uniqueness of Chromat’s designs all go into making that price point appropriate. If you’re looking to splurge on a suit with high visual impact, this is a great choice.