I received the swimsuit in this post free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
Black bandeau bikini, 10DollarMall (now $5, available in sizes S and L)
Above water, an amalgamation of muted chattering and splashes is audible. Swim cap and ear plugs snugly in place, I pull my goggles over my eyes. The scene is immediately tinted a focused shade of blue--the blue of a cerulean crayola crayon, the blue of the F2 filter in vscocam, the blue that is clean and crisp, with slight green undertones.
I inhale, and dive beneath the surface, propelling myself off the wall with a kick.
Beneath the water, it is still, calm, fluid. I find peace in this moment despite my inability to breathe, despite being submerged. With each stroke, I reach for the light at the end of the lane. Its warm rays fuse with the blue water to produce a turquoise glow, reminiscent of Gatsby's green light in F. Scott Fitzgerald's iconic novella.
Like Gatsby's, this light embodies my dreams as well. Once I reach each end, I change course and swim again. Towards another bright destination I am always striving; effort, dedication, and challenge fill me with purpose. They push me to grow.
* * *
This post is a plunge in more ways that one--in a literal sense, I plunge into the water for each swim. Figuratively, I plunge because this is the first post in which I expose so much skin, in which I become even more vulnerable to judgment. When 10DollarMall contacted me, I chose a swimsuit not so that I could prance around wearing little, but because a $10 swimsuit of good quality is a rare gem.
Does this black bandeau set live up?
Yes, and no. I found this cut to be the most flattering I'd ever encountered--I ordered Medium after reading the model specs under the description, and everything fit just right. I felt safer using the removeable straps on the top, but I would've been comfortable going without as well. The bottom stayed put without feeling restrictive.
Why the no? I decided to wear the suit for 4 swim workouts to see how it would hold up--after all, I was most curious about the quality. In each workout, I completed at least 20 laps. Within a few swims, the bottom began to pill (adjust screen to brightest for best view):
In comparison, the Orca athletic swimsuit I purchased around the same time and that I've worn more often has seen minimal fuzz.
The final verdict? Barring shipping, I would've been happy to pay $10 for this set. The pilling isn't ideal, but it isn't a major aesthetic flaw, and I expect quality to correlate with price. Including shipping, however, I'm not quite sure I'd fork over $17 for a suit that shows signs of wear so quickly (and because I'm so cheap). Luckily, several cuts are now on sale for $5, including this one.
Overall, I give this set and the site a 4.5/5. The webpage was easy to navigate and offered helpful details such as model specs. Shipping was speedy, and the product exceeded my expectations for the price, minus cost of shipping.
* * *
On a separate note, I'm also in the midst of another plunge: the start of sophomore year. Uncannily enough, my advisor compares beginnings to getting in the water for a swim--you know you can swim and enjoy it, but taking the plunge can be uncomfortable and daunting.
My toes have just hit the water, and I'm already overwhelmed, but I'm ready. Ready for the water, even if it's cold. Ready for another challenging, crazy, fun, and fulfilling year of college.