Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Alphamoda "Mykonos" microkini bottom and "Kassos" microkini top

Now, I'm going to write a few words on the bikini set I'm wearing on my profile photo, which is made by Greek microkini manufacturer Alphamoda, which makes both men's and women's swimwear. Alphamoda does not make bikini sets in which you get a package top and bottom deal, but, instead, lets you mix and match. Of course, this means that:

  • You can buy either just the top or just the bottom or both.
  • You can mix and match the top and bottom as you see fit.
They have organized their women's range in four distinct lines:
  • "Classic" - this is a collection of tops and bottoms that are generally skimpier than most of the suits you'll find in most lingerie/swimwear stores. Basically, they are sexier renditions of well-known and loved styles.
  • "Hot" - skimpier than the "Classic" ones, some are well-established designs (such as the "Mykonos" that I'm reviewing in this post or the "Kythnos", which, aided by the seam down the middle of its front, gives a camel toe effect that many people, including me, find very sexy) and includes what is Alphamoda's most original and unique design so far (and one of my personal favorites), the "Antiparos".
  • "Extreme" - Now these are seriously skimpy. For those who only know Wicked Weasel, most of these suits are seriously in the same league as the famed "Microminimus": very, very narrow, covering only the barest of the bare essentials. The most well-known design of this range is the "Halki", which I intend to purchase this summer.
  • "OUTline" - This is Alphamoda's response to the trend for "fabric-less" ladies' swimsuits that started a few years ago by Double Take MicroWear, a trend that was also followed at around the same time by a few other well-known companies. These swimsuits are just straps and rings, nothing else; they provide no cover whatsoever and, in my eyes at least, wearing them seems pointless, except for those very special moments on a deserted beach with your significant other. The various "exposure" swimsuits for men made by a few companies such as Koala can be seen as the male counterparts; Alphamoda, however, seems to have decided not to mirror this collection in its men's swimwear section.
As you can see by browsing on the website, Alphamoda uses names of Greek islands to name its swimsuits. Now, I mentioned earlier that you get to mix and match your bikini bottom and bikini top to suit your taste. The choices don't end here, though: for bikini bottoms, you get to choose whether the straps will be tie-side or fixed, the color of the straps and the backstyle. Alphamoda offers 8 different backstyles, although which of these are available for each design depends on the line in which it belongs and its own nature. It would be, of course, illogical to specify a "Symi" with a "Rio" back! Choices common in both tops and bottoms are the size (thankfully, because I never liked the "one size fits all" policy adopted even by some of the most well-known purveyors out there), the ring type (you can choose between metal and plastic rings, which is the only option for which you will be charged extra: 0.80 euro), the color of the fabric and the color of the straps. And if you so wish, you can even email them to request unlisted options as well, such as straps taken from a different size than the rest of the suit or threads of a different color to the fabric, to add some contrast. Spoilt for choice, aren't we? Please note that all the swimsuits are unlined, as this generally provides somewhat better fit. This, however, means that some colors can get very sheer when wet. Perhaps some people would like to have lining in their suits.

Now, my own "Mykonos" bikini bottom is white, with black tie-side straps, a string bottom and black threads on the white fabric. The color scheme continues with my top, which also has metal rings. The "Mykonos" bikini bottom has adjustable width in the front, so you can choose how much coverage you'll get - let me inform you, though, that you won't get much coverage anyway. Alphamoda makes microkinis; even its more "conservative" gear is skimpier than average.

Here are two photos of the "Mykonos" bottom with a g-string back, but fixed straps, as posted on Alphamoda's "contest" page; it is combined with what seems to be their "Naxos" top.

As you can see from the second photo, the "string", (and the same applies to the "g-string" and "D-string") back is not the thin spaghetti strap you find featured on some other manufacturers' swimsuits. This makes it fit a bit more snugly, but it's still really comfortable.

Although the website could do with a revamp and better photography, the service provided is prompt, quick, polite and very friendly; attributes that shouldn't go unnoticed and unrewarded. What's more, the shipping costs are reasonable. While you won't get the "buy over $100 of goods and the shipping is free", you'll never get be charged $30 or more for shipping. Really, paying $30 to have a featherweight envelope (approx. 100 gr) shipped to me doesn't look right. And if the manufacturer or retailer can afford to ship me an envelope weighing 200-300 gr containing $100 worth of goods, then I get the idea that the product is overpriced; and many are indeed overpriced for what they offer. I complained about the non-elastic and easily tearable threads on my Wicked Temptations teardrop microkini; really, those threads aren't for swimwear - you can repair a pair of pants with them sew a button in place, but, as their elasticity is zero, they're not for the elastic straps used in swimwear. Just pull a bit on the straps and the seams will break. It happened to me. It makes you think that you're paying $20 or $30 for something that really cost $3 to make.

Fortunately, this is not the case with Alphamoda: the fabric is of good quality - and I happen to personally know the textile supplier Alphamoda's owner shops from; the stitchwork uses elasticated threads and is durable enough to withstand regular use on the beach; the finishing touches are on par with pretty much every other manufacturer out there; and, furthermore, rather than just putting the swimsuit in a nylon bag, Alphamoda goes the extra mile and uses mesh purses that make for a really nice touch of quality.

In use now, the overall fit of the microkini set was excellent; it stayed in place as it should, looked fantastic and very sexy and I know I'll use it this summer too. In fact, I'm sure it'll last me at least three more years. I like wearing it, I get great comments from people who see it and I know it's one of the best swimsuits I've ever bought.

But what are you going to pay for this? Well, I'm in Greece, Europe, in the Euro zone and so, if I bought this set today with the aforementioned specification, the "Mykonos" bottom would cost me 11.30 euros and the "Kassos" top would cost me 11.60 euros. That would be 22.90 euros, plus 4.90 to 7.60 euros for the shipping, depending on the preferred method. Use XE.com for currency conversion, because the equity changes daily. I understand that the euro is pretty strong compared with the dollar, but the prices are still very competitive in absolute terms and if you incur the fact that you really aren't paying $30 for a $3 suit, but instead get a handmade microkini, made according to your own specification and with really good quality materials, the deal seems unbeatable; really, it's a far cry from some overpriced products out there. Add to that the fact that the final price you'll pay is not doubled by overinflated shipping costs and you really can't go wrong with Alphamoda.

Are there any gripes, though? Yes. I'd like to see a greater fabric variety: floral, animal and/or camo prints, mesh, fishnet... And a "spaghetti strap-style" string/g-string back would be really nice too. But anyway, I got really good microkinis (the "Mykonos" & "Kassos" set is just one of them - I'll write more about the rest later on) from Alphamoda and I've been very satisfied.

Verdict: Really good products at very competitive prices, combined with friendly and quick service.


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