Alsharifa Full-Coverage Swimsuit Review: Laguna


I finally went ahead and ordered another “full coverage” swimsuit since the one I have from some years back is a fair bit too big now. Obviously this isn’t quite as much of an issue as in regular swimsuits, but it was starting to be a bit annoying with the amount of extra fabric and the overall appearance, and I’ve been eagerly looking forward to a trip to the pool this year in a new one.

Decisions, decisions….

Last time I bought a full-coverage suit, which was several years ago, I ordered from Splashgear. I had a good experience with them and have used the suit quite a few times, but also after having used it there were some additional things I was specifically looking for in a suit this time around. I looked over their offerings to see what had changed in the intervening years (some improvements) but ultimately decided to try something brand new for comparison. (I won’t go into that much detail about the pros and cons of Splashgear swimsuits here, maybe in another review if folks are interested 🙂 ).

After poking around online a bit, I decided to try Alsharifa this time. They had a lot of information about their suits (including positive reviews) on their websites, which is always a plus. Also, their suits came in at about $100 for top and bottom (with shipping and minus the coupon I found with a quick search online). Though expensive, this was comparable to what I’d spent on Splashgear way-back-when for a complete suit (top, bottom, and headpiece) and it was also cheaper than a lot of the other Islamic swimsuits out there. Some of them are really pricey!

Among these, I have been seeing ModestSea get a lot of press lately in the blogging world. Their suits are some of the more attractive looking that I’ve seen, and I did consider them at length. But even with coupons, they were pretty expensive for me. Also, different full coverage options had various picky things that I didn’t like one or the other. I wasn’t keen on all-black/black-next-to-my-face (it’s really not flattering against my skin. Yes, I want to look good in the mirror like almost everybody 🙂 ) It makes me look extremely pale (alright, it highlights the existing extreme palidity and any defects). So the cute sailor suity looking ones that I kinda liked the style of the most were out. The full coverage options had a mix of different length tops and narrow vs. wide leg pants. I wanted the wider leg pants (no way can I do “skinny leg” anything, and I doubt I ever will regardless of if I lose any more weight!) combined with one of the longer tops (I also know that because of my height, the things that look “mid-thigh” in the pictures probably wouldn’t cover my rear, and the ones that look knee-length in the pictures transform to about mid-thigh). Also I liked the little brim hats… that was a nice feature on ModestSea. Both for sun blockage and because I don’t really like the way my head looks with any type of shrink-wrapped head covering. I like a little peak on regular scarves too instead of tight against the forehead. Obviously this isn’t very practical with a swimming headpeice since it needs to be tight to keep your hair in place, so the brim seemed nice to generally improve the look of the headpeice. Now, ModestSea did have a lot of mix and matching options but not so much with the full coverage pieces in terms of mixing tops and bottoms, and I didn’t want to get the complete bodysuit with a little dress over top. Didn’t care for the look, and I also don’t care for getting into full body suits (I have worn wetsuits before for whitewater rafting…. 😛 if you’ve ever struggled into one of these you know what I mean). Also the full bodysuits were very snug looking.  So out of the available options, the only one that really “fit” with what I was looking for was the Emma suit… and I wasn’t crazy about the price (and would have altered some colors too, in my mind). I noticed they sell the little caps separately, which is nice, but the individual ones don’t appear to have any neck coverage. Also the way the neck drawstring operates on the hoods that do, does not look terribly comfortable. It was also hard for me to picture how the ModestSea swimsuits would fit on me (too snug?) because I’m such a different shape than the models shown.

Also, one thing I was looking for based on my experience with Splashgear was some way to anchor the sides of the “tunic” part to the legs so it wouldn’t float up. I inquired about this on ModestSea a while ago but didn’t get a response unfortunately, so I don’t know if they do this or not. This unknown and the cost were factors in the “no” decision this time around, though I’m not writing them off entirely (and keeping an eye out for some more wide-leg-plus-long-top styles or huge markdowns). Maybe someone out there who has one can tell me about side ties/buckles?

This last item was one thing that tipped Alsharifa as a contender. They mentioned this on their site in detail, how there is a clip on each leg which attaches to the tunic. This seemed like a great idea to me. They also had a lot of information about how their suits repel water rather than absorbing it, for a lighter experience in the water (reviews appeared to confirm this).  There were several different “styles” of suits, though honestly I had a hard time telling which ones would be better or how they would fit differently, aside from the fact that I knew the petite one was not for me.

Alsharifa Laguna product photo in blue – The top is proportionally several inches longer than it looks in this picture on me, as they mention in their other purple photo.

Another factor that made Alsharifa attractive is that it didn’t look like the suits would require a lot of extra accessories to make them work. With Splashgear, I bought the top and bottom and hood (all available separately), but since the top does float up (to where the waist tie tightens it) a one piece regular swimsuit is necessary underneath, preferably in a color that doesn’t look horribly garish. I had a terrible time finding a one piece that fit properly to go with it, too. Also I had to buy a swimcap to wear under the hood to keep my hair in place. This isn’t that much but it adds up to additional cost, additional pieces to put on,  and worse, additional layers in the pool (not to mention more fiddle-faddle when you want to go to the bathroom). If the Alsharifa tunic didn’t float up due to the side buckles, maybe I could just get away with a bikini type suit underneath for support (which would not have to be coordinated either, since it wouldn’t show). The “hood” part on Alsharifa is attached to the tunic so that eliminated another fiddly bit that didn’t quite mesh together on separate assemblies (including ModestSea, this is the “roughest” looking part of the outfit to me and has an awkward cord hanging out in the pictures).  All in all it seemed like a sleeker assembly with fewer accessories necessary or parts that could separate, plus a handy way to keep the top and bottom together.

My Suit

Alsharifa product photo for Laguna pink and grey suit (the one I ordered)

I ended up choosing the “Laguna” suit, based on the fact that it had a loose cut and a longer tunic (some of the pictures, especially in blue, make it look like it has a shorter tunic, but clicking through it has a disclaimer that the tunic is actually “33 inches and should be at knee level for most”). Now, 33 inches is  not knee level on me but it’s tunic length (about the minimum that I consider a tunic, preferring a bit longer). The other long one was the “Riviera,” but I liked the Laguna’s color block options and disliked the all-black-with-contrast stitching look of Riviera. I initially thought I would go with the grape/plum combo (not sure which purple is which 😉  since whoever saw a grape like this) because I like purple and wear a lot of it. However, envisioning myself dressed head to two in bright two-tone purple, I thought it might be a little too “Violet Beauregarde.” I decided to go with the pink/gray combo instead, since both colors were flattering and the color contrast would break up the outline more and be less “giant purple blob”, even though I really liked the purple color.

Alsharifa Laguna purple suit product photo – Note the text about the tunic length. It actually came out close to as pictured here on me due to my height (5’9″).

Something I’ve noticed before is, when you go to a typical  pool here in the US, where everybody is wearing suits far skimpier, having some different colors instead of all one color is less out-of-place-looking and more swim-suity-looking.  I don’t know why this is. Maybe because other people have the color broken up by the fact that their arms and legs are in contrast with the suit part? Or my preference has to do with the fact that I don’t like to wear all one color in regular clothes either.

Shipping

I placed my order shortly after midnight on a Thursday (technically, very early Friday morning). Shipping was 10.90 (within the US), not exactly cheap considering this wasn’t a very big package (in comparison to other online orders I’ve made). However, it was very fast! The package was waiting for me when I got home from work on Monday :). So that was a good start. I like fast shipping.

Reading the instructions…

The first thing I noticed when I opened the package was a profusion of warning labels. There was a warning label on the inner plastic package itself with a STOP sign and washing instructions, and there were three sheets of instructions and warnings inside: My receipt (usual story), a care instructions sheet about how to wash and how not to used a Motorized Swimsuit Spinner (which I’m not familiar with, maybe for large amounts of suits?) coupled with “Warning! Warning!” (the spinner is bad for this suit) and another even bigger STOP sign about not getting the suit wet or it won’t be accepted for return. It went on to say that there are special tags to determine if the suit does get wet, and that you have to call (CALL!) customer service to obtain a “Returned Merchandise Authorization” or RMA number, or the return will be discarded (i.e. no refund).  Then there was another sheet with the return/exchange form, on which the warnings about returning it without an RMA were repeated. Luckily, this sheet also included an email address for the RMA vs. the other sheet which provided a phone number. I don’t think I’ve ever had to call a phone number to return an item I had ordered online, and didn’t feel like starting now, so I was glad to see the second sheet! And this was before I even got to the garment. However, the warnings said to read all the paperwork first (so I did). It also directed me online to additional care instructions, which I didn’t. :P.  The return policy also stated that the merchandise had to be returned within 15 days of date of package delivery. But also, the claim asking for the RMA had to be submitted with 7 days of package delivery for either exchange or return.

Some instructions!

At this point, I was beginning to feel a little alarmed. I’ve bought lots of stuff online over the years, and returned or exchanged some of it along the way. I like the companies that include a little pre-printed return mailing sticker for you for exchanges, but I’m not going to fault somebody for not doing so. But rarely (in fact I can’t remember a case) have I encountered a company that sounded so… defensive, I guess, about returns and exchanges and foisted all these warnings about it with instructions to read it before I do anything else!

It reminded me a little bit of this fish & chip place I went to last summer at the beach. I love fish & chips and I’m always looking for good ones, and the coast usually has some nice options it seems. I had looked up this little place in advance which had rave reviews, and after some extensive driving around (blindly apparently), finally located it in plain view on the main road. It was a tiny cafe, all red and white with a counter and tables and a succinct menu dedicated to fish & chips options. The food was amazing, as promised, and we all raved about it. The waitress/sole occupant was also perfectly nice. But what really stood out about the place at the time and even now, was the fact that there were little signs taped on every surface. DO NOT MOVE THE TABLES AROUND. Make sure you remember to lock the bathroom door! RETURN THE BATHROOM KEY TO THE COUNTER, DO NOT LEAVE IT IN THE LOCK. No rearranging tables or stools! DO NOT THROW PLASTIC BASKET INTO THE GARBAGE, WE WASH AND REUSE THESE. Absolutely NO outside trash allowed in the garbage bin… and so on. And so on. They were all reasonable requests, and I can only assume they had issues with this, but the little angry notes everywhere reminding you of proper behavior were, shall we say, a tad passive-aggressive, and were an unfortunate contrast in atmosphere to the great fish & chips shack which was everything a fish & chips shack should be in other respects.

Likewise, I do get the issue with the returns. I’m not trying to say they should be accepting swimsuits worn in the water, etc. The time allowance for processing a return (especially considering you have to contact them first to get the number) seemed a little short, when I think about all the things I have to cram into a typical week. But mainly, the warning signs and notices and return disclaimers repeated on multiple papers didn’t exactly inspire confidence. They must have had some bad experiences…. but keeping calm and reassuring about things such as the return policy is always good too :P. Although a master of verbosity myself, the piles of warnings on everything reeked of a certain panicky feeling.

Details, details….

Once I got through the assigned reading, I examined the suit, with now-heightened senses :P. The fabric felt nice and slick and of actual swimsuit material, with a sheen, but not too stretchy/clingy. (I remember long ago I ordered from some company I can’t remember the name of something that was supposed to be a swimming outfit… but was made out of some sort of thick polyester jersey knit. Horrible. I shudder at the memory. So when I say swimsuit material, I mean the sort of thing you might actually find in a swim shop). The pink and grey color were as expected, perfect in that aspect.

I pulled on the pants and felt a pop at the ankle. Around each ankle is a pullcord with a toggle, like you see on the drawstrings of some jackets. The two string ends are pulled through the toggle and knotted, so the toggle can be slid further up the cord to make the ankles gathered or loose.  What had happened was when I put my foot through on one leg, the knot must have come untied, because  one end of the cord came out of the toggle and shimmied up the drawstring hole out of sight. This was a problematic start. I felt around inside the drawstring tube/leg hem and determined that the cord hadn’t gone too far in. Unfortunately, I knew from experience with similar drawstring incidents before (frequently on pajama waists, it seems) that taking it off would probably worsen the problem. So I spent the first few minutes, before even examining the outfit, massaging the cord back out of the small hole. then I took the pants off and worked it back into the toggle and retied the knot. I then checked the knot on the other pants leg, it was also not too tight so I pulled it tighter to secure it. The cords themselves were not stretchy, unlike most cords I’ve seen on sports garments with this sort of drawstring toggle. I think using slightly stretchy cords might help prevent this issue… first there would be a little give putting your foot through, and second, the stretchiness of the cords usually means the knot stays tighter. Despite tightening the knots I was not at all confident that they wouldn’t loosen again without any tension on them since the cords were a little stiff.

Once the ankles were fixed, I examined the look of the pants on me. They were a little slimmer cut around the lower leg than I am used to (I usually buy boot cut, flare, or wide leg pants), but not tight. They were more fitted at the tops of the thighs, in a comfortable way, but this part would be covered by the tunic top. They were the perfect length, which was  nice (too short pants is often a problem for me). The drawstrings should eliminate any length issues in slightly shorter people, and if a lot shorter, the petite suit option might be best. The pants weren’t unflattering, and they seemed slim, functional for swimming, and concealing.

The pants also had a small internal pocket with an overlapping fabric edge, presumably to hold a locker key or other small item. I think this pocket would do better with a zipper as I’ve seen on some other garments of this type, otherwise there is a risk of losing whatever you put in there. Another option is putting the key or whatever in the pocket and using a safety pin to also pin the item to the pocket for added security.

When I unfolded the top I was a little disappointed because the first thing I noticed was that the hood had a lot of threads hanging out. At first I thought it was inside out, but then I noticed that they were just not cut or finished (in an oversight, I’m pretty sure). In light of this and the drawstring incident, I checked the other edges carefully.

My photo of the hood part of the tunic (showing loose threads)

Most of the seams were tightly finished and serged. Each cheek seam had reinforced stitching. However I noticed on one cheek, also, that the threads at the end of the line of stitching were loose instead of being tied off. Normally, I’m not really THAT picky about this sort of thing (and I do a lot of minor home sewing repairs), but on a stretchy swimming garment this is the sort of thing that could unravel quickly, and is a pain to fix yourself without being obvious/removing the flexibility of that seam.

Cheek seam with some threads that look like they want to unravel (note: this was taken before I actually tried it on)

Attached near the inside waist there were two long stretchy cords made of the shirt fabric, with a clip on the end of each. These corresponded to clips on the side of each pant thigh. The pants clips were attached well with a short strip of stretchy fabric, but remembering the drawstring incident and the other not-quite finished seams I’d seen, I checked the buckles carefully on the tunic too (which, in swimming, would receive some tension) and found some more loose threads :/. Again, prone to unraveling in spandex under stress.

Tunic buckles and strings detail

After examining the details, I tried the top on. The overall fit of the tunic top and headpiece was not so good, compared to the pants. The length was okay… it didn’t come anywhere near my knees, as I expected, but reached the tips of my fingers with my arms hanging down, about mid-thigh. I considered the length adequate when combined with the fit of the pants. In other aspects, however, the top didn’t really match my shape. It was a bit wider/bigger around than it needed to be, but everybody is a different shape so this might be okay for some (based on the pants fit, a size down would definitely have been too small). There is no doubt whatsoever that you would HAVE to wear a swimsuit, most likely with cup lining or light padding, because despite being very loose around the waist/hips, the top clearly outlines the bust area.  It was not at all tight there on me, rather it was due to the nature of swimsuit fabric and is an issue with pretty much any single layer of swimsuit fabric without some amount of padding or thickness between you and the fabric. Personally, I would wear something underneath anyway for support, but for anyone who thinks that their body type might get away without it… not in this garment :P.  Since I was already planning on this (though I was hoping to do so with a two-piece for several reasons mentioned earlier), this part didn’t bug me that much.

Incidentally, the website had a nifty little tool for determining size. It has a lot of different dropdowns where you can pick your different measurements and it tells you what garment size you would fit. I’m used to seeing charts but it was pretty nice once I got the hang of fiddling with it, and it was definitely accurate in my case with the pants. For tops, the site suggested laying a shirt flat and measuring armpit to armpit and using this as the base. I did this, with two relaxed-fitting tee shirts. The actual tunic I got was an inch bigger armpit-to-armpit than the garment measurements that I’d fed into the sizing tool (translating to two inches in total circumference). This doesn’t seem like much, but it also flared out a lot from the armpits so it was considerably looser than the shirt I measured from. However, that part didn’t really bother me. Several other things did.

My photo of how the tunic strap attaches to the leg. Note: The buckles and cord ar normally covered by the top: I am lifting the tunic top up there so you can see the apparatus and how loose the cord is. When the tunic hangs down naturally, it covers all this and also just covers the hanging loop of cord as well on me. The cord does not attach to the tunic at the edge like it kind of looks here either, it is much longer and attaches above the inside waist of the tunic.

First, the aforementioned clips. I clipped them to the sides and raised my arms. I could raise my arms all the way up, so there was freedom of movement for swimming int hat aspect. However, if (in relaxed position) I lifted the tunic edge above my waist as if it were floating up, there was a gap of several inches between the top edge of the pants and where the cord fastened to the tunic, so it didn’t look like it would actually keep the garments overlapping in the water, either when first getting in or with movement. I think this could easily have been solved by positioning the tunic end of the clip further down the tunic (below where the top of the pants waistline would be instead of so far above, and using a much shorter cord (or almost no cord, just buckle to buckle).  This would still allow freedom of movement, but it wouldn’t allow the top to go up above the edge of the pants. As it is, forget about wearing a bikini underneath, despite the side clips this would still require a one-piece underneath to keep the midriff area covered when the tunic floated up or shifted up while swimming. Since that was one of the main “selling points” of this style for me, this was quite a disappointment.  Especially since it seems that  a slightly different construction of the way the clips fasten the top to the bottom would have completely solved this problem. This might be less of an issue on a shorter person if they also had a shorter torso (because the tunic clips would then be positioned closer to the pants waistline), but it seems like the long cords would then be even more too long in allowing the tunic top to get far away from the pants while floating in the water.

The triangularish color block (created by the solid gray in the middle meeting the armpit color patches that connect to the arms) seemed off-center. No matter how I stood or shifted, it looked asymmetrical. Being well acquainted with my own peculiarities, I’m pretty sure this wasn’t me, but was the garment. The asymmetry was accentuated by the color patches, and would probably be much less noticeable (if at all) on a solid color garment, but these things bother me.

The worst part was the fit of the neck. It was very tight. VERY tight. I had a moment when I first put it on where I felt like I was asphyxiating, before I managed to relax. I’m somebody who can tolerate turtlenecks, though I don’t really like wrapping scarves close around my neck, but the tightness of the neck piece was excessive, and I think, unnecessary. I have no reason to think I have a particularly large neck diameter, either, and the width of the garment would reasonably accommodate somebody several inches wider than me, who probably would not have an even smaller neck. The forearms were a bit snuggish, while the upper part of the arms were loose (the upper arm/shoulder is an area which is often tight on me in typical shirts). However, nothing on the entire garment was as tight as the neck. I could clearly see the outline of my trachea and feel it being constricted.  In addition to the tightness in circumference, if I did not slouch, a funny fold developed against the base of the neck from shoulder to shoulder in front of my collarbone, further pressing on my throat.

The neck… note that I’m not doing anything weird to flex my neck here, it’s just tight. It felt much tighter than it even looks here :P. At the top of the gray area you can also see where it sort of folds from shoulder to shoulder (compare to product photo, it fits the model differently here). If I rounded my shoulders this fold went away (I don’t have ramrod straight posture anyway, so maybe the fold has more to do with my shoulder width, though the shoulder/upper arm part of the garment seemed relatively roomy. Aesthetically the fold didn’t look that bad but it added to the uncomfortable neck feeling.

To test the hood, I had twisted my hair in a messy bun and secured it with a rubber band. Normally, I braid my hair and then wrap the braid in a bun and secure it with a wooden poker, but that doesn’t work well when swimming. I would braid it when actually going in the water though.

I flipped the hood up and put my hair bun into the “pouch” area at the back. I was prepared for this to look a bit weird, as I’ve worn swim hoods before, and I did look at the pictures on the site, but it looked even weirder than I was expecting. It might look better on somebody with short hair, although in that case there would be a deflated pouch there. There was actually plenty of room for even more hair in the hair pouch, it just ended up in an odd position.

Unlike the neck part, the hood part could have stood to be tighter. There is a “band” part of the construction which is pink (the back pouch part is grey on this suit) that runs all the way around the head: over the forehead like a headband and around the back of the head below the hair pouch. This part, however, with my hair tucked up out of the way, was not very tight. If I pulled it down to where I normally wear my scarf across  my forehead, the sides were baggy at my cheeks. If I pushed it up to where it fit my face better (though it was still not snug), it did keep my hairline just covered, but not very securely. It shifted very easily (I’m sure it would have slid back immediately if I swam under water or dove) and my hair wisps and bang edges started to poke out right away.  Considering how tight the neck was, I’m surprised this band wasn’t tighter to prevent slipping back over the hair or just moving around on top of the hair. I am used to tying a bandana on tightly as an underscarf to prevent my scarves from slipping around, so I could have handled some tightness across the forehead, moreso than around my throat. There was also no sort of inner tie or fabric section to keep the hair contained in the pouch (which would have been difficult to adjust with the hood connected to the tunic, admittedly) so combined with the loose head band/face-opening, my hair wispy bits were all in uncomfortable places and shifting around and sticking out within minutes. I think it would still be necessary to wear a swim cap of some kind with this type of hood, to keep hair both contained and covered. I did not try on my own swim cap with it, but one concern is: My current swim cap allows me to fold my braid up at the nape of my neck inside the cap and squashes it all down there pretty well, but it’s very tight to cram my hair underneath. I don’t think I’d be able to get my hair under my swim cap high enough up on my head for it to be under the pouch area of the hood, which is the only place the hood has a lot of extra room. If the bump from the hair in the swim cap wasn’t as high as the pouch area it would just be adding more neck constriction, so I think I could really only put my hair in the pouch if I didn’t have a swim cap on. It’s a conundrum. This may work better for people with different hair textures that don’t tend to wisp or move around once you put it up, or more hair volume to fill up the space and hold the hood in place (my hair is long but not particularly thick), or such short hair that you can put it in a swim cap without much “bump” in the back. Or maybe it has to do with head shape. My head isn’t small according to hats I try on (in fact, tending towards the largish side), but to fit this hood properly so it didn’t slip around or choke me I’d need a bigger head while simultaneously having a significantly smaller  neck.

My photo of the side view. I did not want to make my first appearance in this outfit (hence my unusual transparency…), but I think the side view is valuable in deciding whether or not to buy because it’s not really shown from this angle on their site. You can also better see the various different potential issues with the head part that I describe in the review from this photo. The headband looks like it is tight here, but it’s not, it’s shifting around and I kept tucking hair back in.

Conclusions…

All in all, I decided that between the not-very-functional side clips that don’t actually keep the top covering my waist, and the choking hood/poor head and neck fit, I would not be keeping the suit. The fabric and most of the manufacture does look good in most places (aside from the thread issues and pullcord issue, maybe they could use some more internal garment checks on individual pieces). I am not going to take the opportunity to wear this suit in the water to see how functional it is, since I want to return it, but it does seem like it would shed water well. The pants felt very light and comfortable. The fit issues I assume would vary from one person to another. Maybe I unknowingly have a very well-developed neck :P. Different body proportions might have a better experience, though without also having attention to the side clip and hood security, it’s still not the “one outfit solution” I was hoping for in this suit.

It was with some trepidation that I began the return process, considering all the warnings! I did obtain an RMA number, though I had to check with customer service again via email to make sure it really was an RMA number, since it wasn’t identified as such in the email (and there were all those warnings about having to have one!). First, I had emailed for an RMA number as described in the paper directions. The following evening, as I hadn’t gotten a response yet, I was on their site and noticed there was also a return form on the site. Filling this out auto-generated an email back to me with the RMA number right away (though the email called it the Confirmation for Return Request #) so I would recommend the website form over a regular email for faster processing of returns or exchanges.

Feedback is always welcome in general, but it’s super-welcome on this post! Especially if you have a suit brand to recommend, since I’m still looking. Just like regular non-full-coverage suits there is no one perfect suit that “suits” everybody! They all fit differently, as hours in changing rooms will attest. If you’ve tried any of the brands I’ve mentioned, or any others that I haven’t (I know there are a ton of options out there these days), please share your thoughts! 🙂

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About qatheworld

I review various and sundry items of life, thereby helping you to seek out positive new experiences and escape the less savory. I also perform a quality review of the other issues encountered in my general life.
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39 Responses to Alsharifa Full-Coverage Swimsuit Review: Laguna

  1. amy says:

    Assalam Allaikoum Sister,
    I recently saw your blog through the shukr site and enjoy your reviews. I was also thinking to get full coverage swimming suit this year. Have you seen the ones they have on east essence, i liked their price, however no returns at all. I really don’t want to spend too much as i probably would wear only a couple of times if at all, this summer on beaches overseas. Good luck in your search.

  2. qatheworld says:

    Hi Amy! Thanks for commenting and I’m glad you are enjoying my reviews 🙂 I have purchased from east essence before, so I looked over the swimsuit options you mention. They definitely have a good price, and they do have some kind of shirt-to-leg attachment mentioned! Despite no returns, at this price once you subtract shipping both ways you wouldn’t get that much back even if you could return (for instance on Alsharifa, despite returning I lost almost $20 on shipping, because like many sites they do not refund the original shipping and I had to pay for return shipping myself… and their original shipping was kinda high).

    A couple things make me hesitant on the east essence suits…
    1) Although east essence does tend to have good prices, the garments often don’t fit me too well, have construction problems, or are of fabric I don’t like the feel of (ill-fitting can occasionally be gotten away with in a bargain-bin abaya especially if you are bridging sizes for a short period of time… I found them useful this way during pregnancy because there were few things I could wear and I was constantly expanding, yet didn’t want to spend a lot on things that wouldn’t fit later :P). However it would be much more of a problem on swimsuits). In the past it’s been kind of hit or miss, with enough misses that I haven’t ordered from them that recently.

    2) One of the things I do like about east-essence is their customized lengths, but it doesn’t look like they offer this on swimsuits, and I’m pretty sure these pants would be too short for me. This is one of the reasons I didn’t re-order from splashgear… though the pants are now too large for me (and look fairly bunched up when on), the smaller ones are also shorter, and they’re already on the short side so I don’t want to go any shorter.

    3) I’d kinda like something that’s not almost all black, which seems to be rather rare in the islamic swimsuit world, though not as much as it once was. Couple this with the fact that I’d be out a fair amount of money if it didn’t work out, and I haven’t gone down that route yet.

    However, these are primarily things that might not be an issue for some other people (though fit/fabric with swimsuits, you pretty much have to try on). Also, they do have some big sales and coupons sometimes which could help with the no-return issue because you wouldn’t lose as much money. If you do decide to try them, please be sure to let me know how it works out! P.S. I took care of the name on your comment 🙂

  3. amy says:

    Thanks for the editing, I haven’t decided to buy any yet – if i do get this or any other one i will let you know. I also am tall and have issues always with things being short. Take care -good luck in your summer wardrobe purchases!

  4. shereen says:

    assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh and jazakum Allah khayrun for your review!

    you wrote in your review that the splashgear swim pants are too short on you, but they offer three different lengths (25 inches, 27 inches, and 30 inches)–which length did you try?

    • qatheworld says:

      I actually have the “hawaiian print” pants (resort pants) which are sized a bit differently, they have a 28.5 inch inseam. Plus, I bought them several years ago and now I probably need a small (I can still wear them since they have a drawstring waist, but the amount of bunching is uncomfortably excessive in the water… and the top is WAY too big, I’m operating with a rash guard instead). The small in the hawwaiian style has a 2 inch shorter inseam which really won’t work for me since it’s already very short. I think the ones you are talking about are the sport stripe pants, which I actually don’t like as much (I really like the Hawaiian ones actually). I considered trying a different combination from splashgear since I do like many aspects of the suits, but combined with: I’d have to go with a different pants style that I don’t like as much in order to get reasonable length in my current size, and that I was looking for a different style of top (without drawstring waist and where the “skirt” part wouldn’t float up as much), I decided to look around a bit more.

  5. sum says:

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    JazakAllah khair for your brilliant review, I am also looking for the ideal Islamic swimsuit. Have you seen modestkini or veilkini? What other ones have you considered and disregarded and why?

    My husband has said he’ll teach me to swim this summer in the sea (we live near a few beaches) so I really want to buy something suitable.

    The splashgear one looked good to me, but I’m not too sure now with all the extra things that need to be worn, a review on their one would be most appreciated.

    • qatheworld says:

      Wa alaikum essalam! 🙂 thanks for your comments! I am thinking with several questions about splashgear I should definitely do a more comprehensive review of their suits, so look for that coming up soon :).

      I looked over the modestkini site (http://www.modestkini.com). Like several other suit options I looked at, these ones have tight leggings, and I’m looking for something with looser trouser legs but still swimmable, just not tight to the skin. They do have a different option of “micro polyester” which looks more like water-repellent raincoat material and is not stretchy/skintight, but I’m not really a fan of how that looks or how I anticipate it would operate in the water. I also saw similar styles to this on some other sites (which I’m afraid I don’t recall the name of now) but just browsed over them for that reason.

      The ones at http://www.veilkini.com I didn’t look at before, but looking them over they actually look a lot like the alsharifa suits (perhaps cut shorter on the top). I kind of wonder if they’re the same? Alsharifa does include “veilkini” in their site description, but a spokesperson would probably have to confirm if they’re really affiliated. Also, their site sends you to hijabgirl.com for US orders, and it doesn’t have any suits available at the moment, so I might be a bit hesitant of actually ordering from them from the US.

      Some other sites that were under consideration were primomoda.com (which I have not ordered swimwear from before, but have ordered other clothing in the past) and of course the classic burqini from ahiida.com (main issues there being the cost + high shipping/return from Australia, though I’ve also considered them in the past). I also browsed through a lot of other islamic swimsuit pictures online looking at pictures, but I didn’t keep track of all of the ones I looked at :). One of the things I am kind of looking for was not all one color/not all black with accent stripes or something so the ones that fell into that category I just skimmed over. In addition I was looking for things I thought would look okay on my body type (no skin tight pants, longish top, long enough pants/top for my height, and preferring pants connect to top in some overlapping way so I wouldn’t have to wear a full suit underneath, which seems to be expected with most of them).

    • shereen says:

      salamaat, sum.

      regarding the splashgear suits, you actually don’t have to wear much. you only need to wear a bathing suit underneath the splashgear outfit and it is recommended on their site to wear a one-piece bathing suit or a tankini. a bikini (or underwear) might show the torso if the shirt happened to be pulled up. also, if a woman does cover her hair, she can choose either the swim cap or the full swim hood. …i don’t know why qatheworld wrote that she had to wear a swim cap underneath the swim hood. that should not be the case as the swim hood is tight-fitting and covers well. in fact, i would think that it is too tight to wear anything under the swim hood, so, i’m not sure how qatheworld did it…

      in any event, there is not much to wear under the splashgear swimwear, just a bathing suit of choice and a swim cap or swim hood, if you wear hijab.

      • qatheworld says:

        That is basically why I wore a one-piece swimsuit underneath on the splashgear suits (and would have to on most of the other suits I’ve looked at too)… the top doesn’t attach to the pants so it does float up and have gap at the stomach between the pants and shirt. Also, the bathing suit was to provide support/less reveal at the bust of course since there’s no inner support. I have a full coverage swim hood, but it is one of the older ones with a single seam, so the construction of the new ones might be different. It showed my hairline and my hair tended to “escape” around the edges of the face, hence the swimcap (also, I had a lot of hair to wad up at the back so the swimcap probably helped contain that too). I end up with several inches of swimcap showing at the “hairline” of the hood, again this is single seam hood and I see that there have been some changes. Whether or not you need a swim cap under the hood of any of the suits I’ve tried probably has to do with how well your hair stays contained in general and how much hair you have. I wear an underscarf with my ordinary hijabs as well for this reason, however, I am hoping to find a hood that works well for this purpose on its own so I can reduce the amount of “gear.”

      • shereen says:

        oh, yeah, the splashgear swim cap was originally a two-panel design (with the single seam down the middle on top of the head) AND it was made of the stretchy nylon-spandex fabric. splashgear has since changed to a less stretchy (but chlorine-proof) polyester fabric, and the swim hood is made of 3 panels now (so the middle, single seam is gone) and the fabric is not as stretchy. i am not sure about your situation, but i think the newer hood might be better than the original nylon-spandex version and may not slide back as much to reveal the hairline.

    • qatheworld says:

      The Splashgear review is now up, here and on the Splashgear site! (Many thanks to Shereen for that!) I hope it may prove useful to you 🙂 https://qatheworld.wordpress.com/2012/06/30/splashgear-full-coverage-swimsuit-review/

  6. Victoria says:

    Assalam mualkum i would try http://www.alrashika.com i tryed it and loved it much better quality and the price is half of the price at alsharifa/

    • qatheworld says:

      Wa alaikum essalam, thank you for the suggestion! Which style did you try from alrashika? Also, I did not see a way to actually order on their website, did you buy online or at a retailer?

      • victoria says:

        i bought the sports style in yellow. You are right the site was down for a short time but is now back up.

  7. amy says:

    Assalam Allaikoum
    Hi everyone again. Thanks Victoria for the suggestion of Alrashika. I ordered the tikki style, it is navy blue with light blue arms and a silver design on front. I also dont generally wear black hijabs for the same reasons you mentioned, i do wear a lot of blue and browns. I liked the way the pants looked on this style – they didnt look too fitted or tight. I ordered it on Monday afternoon online, I’ll let you know how it is when it arrives. Shipping was only $2.00., they had google pay, paypal and pay with check. Take care.

  8. amy says:

    Assalam Allaikoum
    I received the suit. Overall, I liked the design and color (it does look almost identical to the one posted above – except pant style different) However it was not a comfortable fit for me, tight throughout the top -really not modest, so i am returning it today. i am leaving to travel early next week so i don’t think I’ll try to get another size. I am not sure if i went up a couple sizes if the top would fit looser or if that is just the cut. Also, the pants were just a straight pant (which i didnt mind) slightly reminded me of pjs with a button on the side that attached to the inside of the top. I am 5’8/5’9 and the pants fell to my ankle -bordering on too short but ok. The top fell mid thigh on me. I called about returning the suit they were very friendly and accommodating.
    So hope something in all of the above is helpful.
    Enjoy your summer

    • qatheworld says:

      Great info to contribute, thanks for updating us on this suit style, Amy! 🙂 It is good to know that Alrashika is easy to deal with on returns, especially since swimsuit sizing can be so difficult!

    • shereen says:

      salamaat.

      actually, you do not want the pants of the swimsuit to go past your ankle for safety reasons. in the water, the swim pants will actually end up covering your feet if they go past your ankle, and you won’t be able to kick properly, which makes it a potentially dangerous situation. so, if the swimsuit pants hit the ankle, then that’s good. i don’t know why some women think that when the pants hit the ankle that it’s “too short” (??), but at the very least, full coverage swimwear is not the same as street clothing and should not be treated as such.

      wa assalaam.

    • Victoria says:

      Hello Amy i just reordered not to long ago, they really worked all that stuff out this year it fits perfect i love it you should really give them another shot.

  9. amy says:

    Thanks Shereen
    hadn’t considered that – good to know
    amy

  10. Meghan says:

    This is a response from the Alsharifa Company.  In spite of all of the warnings to contact Alsharifa when there is something wrong with a swimsuit, the author simply went ahead and did a review using an apparently defective item.  We are not shy to say that our defect rate is about 1.2 in 500.  When you buy a bottle of medicine, if the seal is broken, or something is not right, you should contact the seller or factory for replacement.  Instead, the author takes a defective item and puts it in front of the world as the truth. This explains why we have all these warnings, and yet in this very case they were not followed.  This review is far from fair and put our product in a false light.  The average buyer’s experience is not what you outlined.  Yours would have been different too, on average.  You cannot draw a line through one point.  You need at least two points; I.e. you should have evaluated two or more swimsuits.  The very positive reviews on the net should have tipped the author that the situation is an exception.  It is unfortunate this piece is out. 

    Some metrics and facts:
    1. Since 2006, only 4 swimsuits were returned due to neck size issues.  This is almost 0% given the number of units sold.  The neck and hood design have a great track record, or we would have designed them by now.
    2. Asymmetric fit.  This is the biggest evidence you were dealing with a defective item.  If you need to write a review, email us to send you a new swimsuit.  We use a digital pattern, 100% symmetric.  Your sample was off, 1 in 500 is like this.  Extra threading is rare. 
    3. Length of strings.  You can put a knot in the middle of a long string to make it shorter, very simple.  Every product has a design point, the author should not assume or insinuate that every swimsuit will fit perfectly on each person in the world, this is impossible. 
    4. Alsharifa Design vs others.  Our simple design is intentional.  We are more experienced than the other new entrants into this market. Any swimsuits with zippers, external tie backs or strings, etc may not be allowed in some pools depending on municipality and town ordinances.  To our knowledge, our swimsuit is the most compliant in the USA and Canada.  We have worked with many cities including Montreal in Canada which has special life saving requirements.  

    We thank you for taking the time to review the swimsuit, and invite you to redo this evaluation using a statistically better swimsuit; one that mimics the experience of the average buyer.

    • qatheworld says:

      Thanks for your feedback! It is always illuminating to hear from the manufacturer. I didn’t consider the swimsuit defective (the threads were obviously an error, but not one that particularly bothered me… if I had kept the suit I would simply have trimmed them).

      Certainly I imagine that not everybody would have the same experience as myself, especially as regards to fit, since sizing any clothing but especially swimwear is a very personal thing 🙂 everyone has a different body and will fit differently. But, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to comment on my own experience of the one product I bought, and I think it’s fair to review a product as received without specifically asking the manufacturer if a better one is available for review purposes (for that matter, requesting another example for review seems less likely to demonstrate an “average” experience). I buy many different kinds of clothing online and sometimes return for various reasons without assuming the product is defective just because it doesn’t fit me quite right. If I had thought it was merely too large or two small I would have tried a different size, but I could see there were several factors that wouldn’t work for me. I am glad many customers are satisfied with the suit, they also may find my feedback relevant depending on the specific features they are looking for :). I think it’s important to mention both good and bad points in a review for a balanced view of any product.

      If I bought a medicinal product as you say and it didn’t perform as expected, and I were reviewing that, I would certainly want to mention my experience including possible defects and whether or not it solved my problem, even if the product obviously worked for many other people (and, even if I returned or exchanged it). In fact, such responses often bring to light either improvements or warnings for people with sensitivities to particular products and I find them quite worthwhile to research when weighing the pros and cons of any treatment, or being on the lookout for possible side effects. Obviously, swimsuit shopping doesn’t present quite the same risks but the analogy holds true 🙂

      Regarding the string length, I did consider shortening the cord as I often make minor clothing alterations as needed, however based on where the clips were attached to the top it looked like it would still have resulted in midriff exposure for me in the water. As I mentioned in the review, this may vary depending on height and size, but it wasn’t worthwhile to try in my case since the rest of the suit wasn’t right for me based on several different factors.

      • Meghan says:

        Thanks Anon! The reviews on Swimsoutlet.com (a resller of alsharifa) mostly deal with sizes being true to size or care issues. This is something to be expected from a reseller that does not specialize in Islamic Swimsuits. They resell at least 100,000 products, any company with a swimsuit or swimwear accessory. So the size chart design there, care sheet, and service are different than dealing with alsharifa directly. Unlike denim pants, etc. swimsuits require special care. Instead of these 3rd party (service related) reviews, please view the 100% positive feedback on our ebay page (includes a real testimonial to alsharifa service and great products):

        http://feedback.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewFeedback2&userid=alsharifa_com&ftab=AllFeedback&sspagename=STRK:ME:UFS

        and the 100’s of direct feedback at alsharifa.com as provided by the buyers (97% positive.) You can find this under the respective product listings, or under the general reviews pages.

        These are better reviews statistically since they are based on the highest number of transactions / sales of these products. Swimoutlet sales of these products are an insignificant % of the global sales.
        ————————
        And to the readers of this page, there is a lot going here, for example, Victoria who apparently tried “alrashika” swimsuit… well, she did not just try it, she is no other than the owner’s daugther (hi Victoria!) so she is not an unbiased commentator. The truth of the matter, alrashika swimsuits will soak in 7 seconds in water, it is made from 100% Chinese polyester. This swimsuit is marketed exclusively at Dearborn, Michigan area dollar stores.

        You can see the fabric reviews here using video (seeing is believing):

        http://shop.alsharifa.com/categories/Islamic-Swimwear/#keypoint

        Alsharifa swimsuits are the world’s best, because they are not designed by fashion designers only – amongst the makers of the swimsuit are aerodynamic and chemical engineers, people that patented the composition of the swimsuit fabric, which is unrivalled when it comes to water resistance, a key element for the Muslimah swimsuit. It is extremely difficult to have a water resistant swimsuit, but alsharifa got it!

        A quick response also about the Veilkini brand and why hijabgirl, for example, do not have the inventory of it (per above statements.) Alsharifa Company is the Trademark holder of Veilkini, this brand is not marketed in the USA, it is for use outside of the USA. These products do not contain USA-made products. Only the alsharifa brand has this distinction. You can check the Veilkini brand trademark here:
        http://tarr.uspto.gov/tarr?regser=serial&entry=85031579&action=Request+Status

        Every company that carried Veilkini brand swimsuits – without license from the trademark holder, through import into the USA from the Middle East, have been notified to liquidate their inventory.

      • anon says:

        Meghan, dear, you are not doing your company much of a service. You come across as very very defensive. Just a friendly suggestion to chill. Also, a friendly reminder that Alsharifa is by far NOT the first company to market so-called Islamic swimsuits, and it’s a very arrogant statement to make that “Alsharifa swimsuits are the world’s best”–are there any objective measures to back up your grandiose claim? Of course not. I think you should not overreach, especially when one can visit the websites of several makers of Islamic swimsuits and find very satisfied customers there as well. I suppose each company believes they offer the “best” product.

        Once again, please don’t take my comments as an attack, but just as a friendly reminder to be more civil and less defensive. You also wrote “It is extremely difficult to have a water resistant swimsuit, but alsharifa got it!” Again, a quick look around the internet shows that other companies “got it” as well, not just Alsharifa.

        It comes across as if you are taking things too personally, which does not reflect professionalism. In addition, each company can always find ways to improve their product–including Alsharifa, based on some of the product reviews–which ultimately means there is no absolute best Islamic swimwear out there. You just need to calm down.

  11. anon says:

    Meghan, I just visited the ebay link you provided in your post, but I could not find any reviews about your company’s swimwear. All the reviews I saw were about a) your transaction service, b) tunic tops, and c) skirts, but I did not see any reviews about your swimwear (perhaps I missed them).

    So, when all is said and done, it does indeed look like the Alsharfia SWIMWEAR reviews at the swimoutlet.com are worthwhile and valuable for anyone who is shopping for an Islamic swimsuit. Also, at the Alsharifa website, I only counted 12 reviews in total posted about the swimwear products (http://shop.alsharifa.com/pages/Alsharifa-Reviews-and-Testimonials.html#swimsuits).

    • Meghan says:

      Here’s a response from one of our customers from this morning who used the swimsuit, not just maliciously and reckless reviewed a defective item when told not to to put alsharifa in a negative false light for whatever competitive objective : “I ordered the Laugna Grape/Plum and it arrived within 3 days. It comes with an exchange form and how to take care of the items. Very professional and nice and smooth transaction. Perfect.

      If you were like me, do lots of research to determine which one is the best for a decent swimswear. You should stop searching now since THIS IS THE ONE.

      I just love it, love it, love it. It is light in the water, loose enough but trendy. I was worried about the weight in the water but this is not a concern at all. Now I can back to the pool with my children which i miss most since I started wearing my hijab. I really want to show my girl that you can be active and at the same time be modest. As a convert, one of the hardest thing is giving up lots of outdoor activites in the summer – cycling, swimming, hiking. Now I am back to swim and my children, they are even more happier than me.

      The price, yeah, it may be a bit pricy. But think of the length of the quality fabric, I think it is worth the money. (Hey a binkini cost more than $50, consider the tiny piece of coverage. Cheers.)

      • qatheworld says:

        My goodness…. malicious? reckless? I have no interest at all in putting your company in a “negative false light” nor any “competitive objective” in the swimsuit industry, just looking for a suit that works for me. I have to say I’m a bit taken aback by your reaction, I thought the warning labels were over the top already but this is getting a bit out of hand. I stand by my review as an honest appraisal of a suit, which I don’t have any reason to think was particularly defective. Certainly the random thread issues were not the reason I returned it, as I mentioned in the review. I invite you to re-read the review, as I really don’t think I created a negative false light, but mentioned both good, bad, and neutral points about the suit to provide general info to consumers. There is a lot more negative light that seems to coming from your responses here…

      • Victoria says:

        Hello Meghan first off i want to let you know you are very rude! You have never meet me so how do you know me there is more the one person named Victoria. You are scaring people on this board by being so rude. No body is insulting your brand in any way I don’t understand why your are making fun of every brand out there you don’t see Nike make fun of Adidas. I am going to let people know how rude you are and redirect everybody over to alrashika.com.

      • Heba A. says:

        Dear Victoria – when you direct people to a competing website, then you have some affiliation with that site, you are not an unbiased party to this discussion. So we are clear on this, you are Victoria Nada, and your father owns Alrashika, so you write one paragraph and in conclusion go to alrashika (free advertising while defaming someone else!? This is libel and maybe illegal.) Alrashika buys its product directly from China on alibaba and uses polyester fabrics that does not resist water, it is not modest on the pants and is available for sale in the Detroit area mostly at Dollar stores. This is what you promote to the world?! A $25 cheap swimsuit sold at $69 and gets destroyed after 2-3 uses. Alsharifa swimsuits are made in the USA and have patents and trademark registrations over the technology used in the fabric for water and chlorine resitance, with collaboration with the DuPont company for special substance for the performance it advertises. Please find a different sandbox to play in and stop defaming other entities.

      • anon says:

        Heba, a) there is nothing wrong with free advertising; b) I fail to see how Victoria “defamed” anyone or practiced any “libel”. Do you know what those words mean? Victoria only repeated what qatheworld and shereen wrote about their observations of Meghan’s behavior on this forum. There is nothing defamatory or libel about telling someone that they are rude.

  12. Alrashika customer service says:

    Hello Meghan,

    Victoria, is a past customer of alrashika.com, i do not appreciate you insulting are brand Directly. We have never said anything negative about your brand. Alrashika is still a newer company we are only a year old that is why we are only local rate now. Are material is the exact same as yours so you cant see we have cheap Chinese material.

  13. Assalamualaikum,

    At first, I beg your pardon if my post is not related to your discussion.

    I am manufacturer and Garment Sourcing agent.
    For the first time I have received Muslim Swimwear orders.
    I have received only measurement and fabric swatch to submit costing and sample.
    Did not receive any original sample or professional Tech-Pack that we usually receive to make Jackets, Trousers etc.

    In the measurement I understood every point EXCEPT “Jaw Line” for hood which is 10″.
    I will remain grateful if anyone can help me to understand this “Jaw Line” measurement.
    Thanks in advance.

    Warm Regards,
    Mohammad Sirajul Islam (Siraj)

    • qatheworld says:

      I’m not a swimwear manufacturer myself, just a reviewer, but if I had to guess I would say this is probably the measurement along the jaw from ear to ear, since the hood would cover the neck and part of the underside of the chin/jaw. How this would be interpreted would depend on the design of the hood (for example, I’ve tried both one and two-piece swim hoods and they cover the neck and ears differently). However, this seems like the most likely measurement… on me the measurement along the jaw if I follow the edge of my jaw from the base of the earlobe down to the chin and up to the other ear, is about 10.5 inches so very similar. Likely the hood wouldn’t follow the exact edge of the chin but it would have to go across there, so this is probably the model’s measurements, not the garment measurements, to give an idea of how big the hood should be so as not to be choking the throat :).

      • Hello,

        Thanks a lot for your reply. Understand your point and you are absolutely right. Fortunately I got a technician and he told me the same that you have mentioned.
        He helped me to determine the correct Jaw Line measurement for our Garments. And that is is similar to your idea/advice. Thanks again.
        We are now making Proto Sample to submit to Customer for approval.
        Once we made it, I will post a Picture to show you 🙂

        Warm Regards,
        Mohammad Sirajul Islam (Siraj)

      • qatheworld says:

        That would be great to see, thanks! 😀 Glad you got it sorted out!

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