The past few weeks I have had the good fortune to be able to test drive two pieces from the Hydro Chic swim and sport line. They contacted me to review what they have to offer from the plus size division which fits up to 4x. They sent me the Plus Size Rash Guard Swim Shirt ($78) and the Plus Size Swim Ruched Skirt ($76)
Hydro Chic has a unique niche providing modest swimwear and active wear. According to their website, their mix and match pieces provide sun protection in the water but the same pieces can also be used as active wear out of the water. The comfortable high quality swim material is light weight, quick drying and has a UPF rating of 50+ (colors, stretching, age, washing can reduce this number). All of their pieces are designed for in and out of the water. Hydro Chic ships throughout the US and internationally at an additional cost.
My Hydro Chic swim/active wear came individually wrapped in plastic with the Hydro Chic logo. Each piece was tagged with garment instructions (very small print) to prolong the life of the fabric. As expected, like swimwear there are instructions to hand wash, not leave in plastic bags wet, dry flat, no bleach, avoid contact with lotions etc.
Both pieces have cute details; like the stitching and mini arm pocket on the top:
And the adjustable ruching on the skirt:
At the time of this review I have worn the top three times and the pants twice. The first time I wore the top was for a walk on the waterfront. It is still winter here so I had to put on a winter coat, scarf etc over top. It was surprisingly warm in the cool weather which was great. Near the end of the walk I felt a bit chilly and damp. The other times I wore both pieces while working out at home (treadmill, heavy bag, step). I found both pieces to be reasonably comfortable for my workouts but I have divided further thoughts into pros and cons for each item.
Pros for Top
The top is comfortable to wear. The v-neck does not restrict or bind. I love the 3/4 length sleeves, the mixture of bright colors with neutral navy, and how soft the fabric is. It is light weight, does not bunch, and appears to be well made — it is well stitched inside and out with no picking or raised areas.
Hydro Chic tops come with a padded sport bra that you can wear underneath for water sports or wear your own sport bra. I wore the bra once on my walk and will probably just save it for water activities because I do not like the added warmth (the padding makes sense for water activities).
Cons for Top
I would have loved to have had at least four more inches in length on the top. It kept riding up and I constantly felt like I had to pull it down because my abdomen was exposed. I will add however that I am almost 5’9″ so this may not be an issue for a shorter woman.
When the pads get wet in the bra they are noticeably wet — definitely could not not go from one event to another without changing the bra.
As someone who is incredibly fair even in the summer I appreciate the added sun protection for outdoor activities although I found the literature that this is decreased 50% depending on color of fabric and how much it is stretched over skin a bit confusing.
Pros for Skirt
The skirt with attached capri pants is easy to slip into and comfortable to move in. The built in capri pants provide extra comfort, modesty and support. These light weight bottoms are incredibly cute and I love the side string ruching.
The skirt is well stitched with no frays or picking parts or lumps. There is a little key/coin pocket on the inside.
Cons for Skirt
The waist band is pretty miniscule and is not really strong enough to keep the pants firmly in place. They are not falling off by any means but there is not enough tension to keep them at the waist while doing regular activities which gives me some concern for water sports like aqua fit where there is the upward and downward motions of the water pulling at the material. I would like to see a thicker band.
There is no added reinforcement at the thighs to combat thigh rub, especially in the larger sizes, both for heat production and fabric wear. While I think they would be awesome for water sports. I think at this price they would wear out too quickly in the thighs during land activities.
The price is a mild con. For these two pieces it would cost $150 which in my opinion is a bit steep for one active / swim outfit.
The biggest con for both pieces is that they are hand wash. For an active life style having to hand wash anything these days, especially active wear is annoying. While this is fine for a tiny one piece bathing suit that may be worn occasionally it is a bit cumbersome for plus size active wear. I washed both pieces by hand and it took longer than I thought it would to handle, rinse and squeeze out excess water. The suits were completely dried within eight hours which would make them ready for the next day if need be but it is still cumbersome and for the price I would want something more conducive. Now I understand many of you will probably have no problem with hand washing but I mention it for those who like me dread it.
Hydro Chic offers a comfortable and functional option for plus size women who want to be active in and out of the water. Instead of buying a swimsuit and wearing a t-shirt over top of it these do seem like the next logical choice for looking fashionable and functional in the sun while providing protection and modesty. I am glad I had the opportunity to give them a try.
* Get your modest swim and sport wear from Hydro Chic