In exchange for an honest review, I received these tan chiffon shorts and this maroon scalloped bikini from Zaful, an online retailer. All opinions are my own.
Before shooting these photos, I pranced over to the kitchen to grab the pineapple my family had bought during our last grocery shopping trip--I wanted to be cheeky and match the real thing to the print on my shirt. Unfortunately, my dad had just sliced and refrigerated the fruit the night before, so that meant no pineapple for these review photos. Moral of the story: sometimes things don't turn out as you hope or expect, and this lesson applies just as well to my experience with Zaful.
When I first received Zaful's collaboration inquiry, I immediately began scouring their site for versatile pieces--I always try to select clothing that I would buy myself and could see myself wearing often. The website was navigable and crisp, so there was no trouble there. I especially liked how some listings had model stats, like this dress, so you could measure potential fit beyond numbers.
But about that dress--this is where my pineapple lesson applies first. I originally selected the shorts, the bikini, and the dress, but I instead received the shorts and two sets of the bikini. Though I didn't place my order through the site--I did it by email with the outreach coordinator--I was nonetheless disappointed to receive the wrong items when I had clearly listed three separate pieces. Since this was a collaboration and not a normal purchase, I assume (and hope) that the site would be more deliberate in making amends. Their wrong product policy promises to provide a solution as long as there is proper documentation. As for me, I received an apology and the promise of receiving the dress in a future collaboration (though to be completely honest, most companies don't want to continue collaborating after my candid reviews, and that's totally okay).
On a brighter note, the shipping was speedy for an Asian retailer, clocking in at just five days through DHL. If an order totals over $30, shipping is free.
If I had to pick a favorite between the two items, I'd say that these shorts win. Here's the breakdown:
I liked versatile tan/beige tone of the shorts, as well as the fun bow sash. The frilly waistband, however, mystified me--it looked so much better in the website photos (pineapple lesson part two). So, I instead opted to tuck the extra material in, making for a much more streamlined look.
After taking a gander at the size chart, I ordered a size small, and the fit was just right. While many Asian retailers run small, fit wasn't a problem here. Pay close attention to the charts, reviews, and model stats (if available), and you should be good.
I also had few comments here--the shorts were double-layered so I felt comfortable wearing them as is (I usually wear spandex under flowy shorts), and still light enough to suit summer. Stitching was also careful and strong, which is important for chiffon material.
When I first stumbled upon these shorts, they were listed around $15. Now, they're $20.49. Had these stayed on sale, these would've been a solid 4.5/5. Because I happen to be one of the most frugal people you'll meet and because of the funky waistband, I'd say value is this piece's greatest deficiency.
When shooting photos for a blog review in a bathing suit, start doing yoga?
I'm a huge fan of the flattering color and trendy scalloped trim--it's what originally drew me to the suit. I was disappointed, however, with the design of the bottoms. The scalloped trim for the leg holes (there has to be a more elegant phrasing of this haha) ended up bunching awkwardly on me, so I again tucked in the funky trim (pineapple lesson part three). As you can see, the trim also sometimes ends up curling in on its own in the waistband, so there's another aspect of the appearance I don't love.
I ordered a size medium after reading reviews, and the suit fit me well. The chart for this piece, however, was incredibly confusing. Bust measurements were in the twenties, which is totally unreasonable. After measuring the set itself, I think I know why--instead of listing the human measurements for which each size would fit, the site listed the actual piece's measurements. This was inconsistent with Zaful's other clothing and swimwear listings, so the chart really threw me off. I attempted to contact support using their online chat feature, but after waiting for over five minutes, I called it quits and instead contacted the outreach coordinator. Since the suit had no clasps, sizing was especially important. So, if you're also perplexed by questionable measurements, try your best to reach out to customer service and consider whether the chart may list the actual piece's stats.
This is the suit's biggest area for improvement--as you can see in the last photo, the scalloped trim isn't always smoothly-cut. While this hiccup was in the crotch area and therefore not very visible, it's possible for these imperfections to show up anywhere. In the first suit I received, there were no problems, but in the second, there was that jagged trim. I also expected the suit to be made of more durable material--instead, it's made of a slightly-shiny cloth that's vaguely reminiscent of costume material and is a bit itchy after longer periods of wear.
Another important note: the cups in the top aren't removeable, and they easily shift about. Be careful if you're being active while wearing this suit, and be sure to check cup placement after throwing this in the wash, because the bikini top may come out with a strange hump in the center.
As an $11.35 trendy bikini set, this is still a pretty good deal, flaws and all. It's not the most comfortable suit to wear, but it's one of my favorite cuts. As long as I'm careful about the drooping trim and very mobile cups, I'd be happy to wear this on my beach outings, and I even plan to take the bathing suit with me abroad.
The final verdict for Zaful? I'm a fan of the site's trendy, quirky pieces, the helpful model stats, the affordable prices, and the quick shipping. I caution you, however, of the sometimes-perplexing product details, the potentional order gaffes, and unexpected aesthetic realities.
If you have any questions about my experience, feel free to shoot me an email--I'll do my best to be helpful. Happy shopping, or happy saving!