Now that Axa and Dominique have been using their new swimsuits (aka homeschool uniforms) for nearly four months, I thought it might be time to give you a real review.
As I’d hoped, these swimsuits turned out to be pretty great. They claim to be SPF 50, and I can confirm that after four months in the Tunisian sun, my little white boy is as white as ever, although he has a nice tan below the knee, where the swimsuit doesn’t cover. The fabric seems to be good quality. After a couple of hours in salt water every day this summer, the suits are as bright and stretchy as ever. The only odd thing is that the fabric does get full of sand for some reason. The sand is caught within the tight weave of the synthetic fibers, so if I stretch it (or shake the swimsuit), I get a little shower of sand. My children say the sand doesn’t bother them, but I find it a bit annoying to never be able to get it out. Still, it’s a minor point, and wouldn’t be a concern at all if you are using the suits in a pool. Or if your children are more interested in water, and less in sand than mine.
I am really glad that we got the matching hats. They are made of a different fabric from the suits, and are extremely lightweight, so swimming with them on is practicable. The lightness also ensures that they dry very quickly (much quicker than the suits), so they don’t keep the children’s heads wet for very long. They are crunchable, which makes them perfect for packing, although they’re also a tiny bit floppier than I’d prefer. Since we live next to the beach, Axa and Dominique almost live in their swimsuits. But they do live in their hats, which are the only ones we brought to Tunisia.
The only caveat I would share is the sizing of the suits. Axa (who turned six in February) has a size six, because I wanted the one-piece style, and that was the largest size it came in. Hers is a bit tight, and definitely won’t be wearable next year. Dominique (four in June) has a size five, which is just a tiny bit baggy on him, but I think overall a better fit. My recommendation would be to order a size up if your child is average for his/her age.
I ordered the suits directly off the manufacturer’s website, after having a disaster with a UK-based company. (They blamed the delay on Christmas storms, but it turned out that they had sent the suits to my US billing address rather than my Italian shipping address. By the time the mixup was straightened out, we’d moved to Tunisia. Thanks, guys.)
So I shopped around, and the official Tuga website had the best selection and price (especially after I googled around and found a random coupon code). Fortunately, we had kind friends who loaned us their AFP address, since we were already in Tunisia and I was sure it would be impossible to find a full-body swimsuit in a country without a large contingent of vulnerably light-skinned people. I was wrong, though. This is an everyday sight on our beach:
Hijab swimsuits! Is that cool, or what? However, I hadn’t considered beforehand that my awesome swimsuit purchase might be making my children look like tiny conservative Muslims. Hopefully nobody gets upset with me for making my daughter wear what looks like a hijab way before she’s old enough to choose for herself (let alone my son, whom people here tend to assume is a girl when he’s wearing his swimsuit).
Anyway, if, like me, you love the idea of full sun (and otherwise) coverage, but don’t want to go as far as a hijab, Tuga does make an adult line of SPF 50 swimwear as well, including some very stylish long-sleeved rash guards.
EDIT: I always give companies a heads-up when I do my (unsolicited) reviews, because I think it’s polite to let people know when you’re talking about them. Tuga liked this review, I guess, because they just emailed me my own coupon code. Just for being my friend, you can now get 35% off of any products at www.tugasunwear.com or www.sunbusters.com, by using the coupon code “casteluzzo.” Fun times!