Uncommonly Coastal

Coastal Couture: I Want – and Need – Tara Grinna for Sure

“The definition of style? Fashion with impeccable taste.” 
 –Tara Grinna

ARE YOU THERE YET?

I am. I have reached the stage in life where I needed to upgrade my wardrobe from cut-offs to couture.  You could say that I am a consummate shopper.  It’s a gift and a curse, but I do know my stuff. I’m that friend that you call on when you need to know where to get what you want.  You want high-end style and quality at a reasonable price.  And you do not want to see 3 other women wearing the same swimsuit either. Relax. I’ve got you. For coastal couture, there’s only one name you need to know: Tara Grinna.

Coastal Couture

 

OFF TO A GREAT START

On a recent visit to Myrtle Beach, I visited her stunning flagship store in Barefoot Landing. Even for a shopaholic like me, it is unlike any other “store.”

Trying on swimsuits has always been right up there with root canals on my list. Fortunately, that’s all changed. After my visit to her store, it’s pure pleasure now. Upon arrival, customers are offered champagne. (A glass of bubbly can definitely lessen the stress of trying suits on, especially pre-tan and post-holiday dining.)

Beyond the bubbly, several features set this family business boutique apart, including the unique shopping experience, the luxurious fabrics, the expert craftsmanship, and the exclusivity of her designs.  Now I know first-hand what all the hype is about!

Coastal Couture

EXTRAORDINARY

First of all, it’s a beautiful place! The artful displays are gorgeous – definitely not your typical retail store. I’m sure I circled the floor at least 3 times. I went during the first hour of the day so I could take my time.  

THE PERFECT FIT

Thankfully, a visit to Tara Grinna is not the normal dreaded swimsuit search. Rather, it is a unique and pleasurable experience.  The employees are all “stylists” who have been trained so that the customer finds her proper size. Even those difficult to fit body types are accommodated, giving Tara Grinna the reputation of being the designer with the “best fit in the industry.” 

Their approach is brilliant. The customer selects the color and print they like, and the store stylists will find the perfect suit to fit and flatter. 

Coastal Couture

ONLY THE BEST

Additionally, Tara works exclusively with Italian fabric houses because she knows that they are simply the best. These artisans have been there for generations creating the finest fabric in the world. Therefore, these fabrics and the manufacturing process are expensive – but totally worth it. In fact, her pattern designs are made in the same factory with items like Chanel scarves. It’s no wonder she’s been voted one of the top 5 swim brands in the United States. 

BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL

In her studio, Tara creates the designs, playing with the colors and prints until she is ready to place an order to these specialized fabric houses. Her designs change every season and are (wisely) copyrighted. She is known for her bold prints that run from vintage patterns to the colorful, modern, and bright florals. Overall, solid color fabrics account for approximately half of their sales, but her passion is clearly for the vivid ones, which is how she’s made her name.

          

IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS

Another unique feature of Tara Grinna is that every garment is handmade.  The attention to detail and the level of craftsmanship are unmatched. Talented seamstresses painstakingly create these “affordable luxury” pieces. There are only 6 independent swimwear manufacturers like hers in the United States – and we think she’s at the top of that short list. 

Her competition in Europe – using the same Italian fabrics – sell their swimsuits in the $300 range. The average price of one of Tara’s swimsuits is $180.

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AFFORDABLE LUXURY

While “seasoned” shoppers always appreciate the quality and exclusivity, savvy younger buyers are realizing that the better quality is a smarter choice over those mass-produced in the long run.  “If you buy a chain or a big box store bikini for $35, you may get one season’s wear out of it. However, if you take care of your Tara Grinna suit, they’ll last you 10 to 15 years – at least,” according to Kirsti, Director of Retail and Tara’s daughter. 

Also, there’s the sense of elegance and sophistication that comes with wearing a designer suit. The feeling of the exquisite fabric against your skin in an exclusive design is undeniably chic. Wearing “Coastal Couture” is quite the confidence booster!

Coastal Couture

IF THE SHOE FITS… (Buy it in every color!)

While renowned for designer swimwear, they offer a lovely collection of luxury products that complement the coastal lifestyle. The footwear could cause a shoe fanatic like me to faint. The sandals are made of fine Italian leather for style, comfort, and durability. The suede slides are simply stunning. With the perfect heel and pearl embellishments, I want them in every color.  (I tried not to drool.)

Coastal Couture

ALL THINGS ITALIAN

Silk scarves. Delicate handmade jewelry. Leather handbags and casual totes…Anything and everything I could ever need for travel and resort leisure wear could be found right here.  Another personal favorite is the polarized Italian eyewear. These stylish sunglasses are made by the same manufacturer as Cartier and other designers, ensuring both quality and sophistication.

HAD TO HAVE IT

Just when I thought my senses couldn’t take any more excitement, I spotted two beautiful bottles of perfume. To be honest, I am very picky, and I detest the overpowering ones that you can still smell hours later in the room. I’m sure you know someone who wears one that’s too sweet, too musky, or simply too strong. I’ve worn the same one for nearly two decades.  Until now…

Coastal Couture

GET A WHIFF OF ME

Tara Grinna has created two enchanting fragrances that are produced in France.  I stood and sniffed for over 20 minutes trying to decide between Want and Need. Both are captivating. Intriguing. Sensual.  Stylist Mary understood my struggle and explained that it took Tara nearly 9 years to create them. Wow – totally believable!  I chose Need.  I love it, and I receive numerous compliments every time I wear it. It is truly fabulous.

Coastal Couture

UNMATCHED CUSTOMER SERVICE

My first Tara Grinna shopping complete luxury resort fashion experience had to come to an end.  I had been in the store for well over an hour. Mary had been so very helpful and knowledgeable.  In addition to the hundreds and hundreds of gorgeous things I admired, I felt so welcome and comfortable, as if I’d been shopping there for years. 

Since my trip, I’ve phoned the store with a few additional questions. Tina, another personable and professional stylist, answered my questions. Although we only chatted briefly, I look forward to meeting her in person on my next trip. 🙂  It is that kind of service. 

A FAMILY AFFAIR

While you shop and sip your bubbly, your hubby can enjoy a good bourbon and do a little shopping for himself.  The store is as inviting for men as for women. This family business should be a model for anyone in business. Their passion, purpose, and priorities are perfectly aligned.

Rune, Tara’s husband, oversees production and distribution of approximately 700 swim and resort wear pieces each week.  An accomplished musician, he found himself learning the design business after marrying Tara.  If needed, he has the skills to make the pieces himself! Rune also has the keen eye and vision for upcoming trends for men.

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SIGNOR GRINNA

Although I spent most of my time (ok, all of it) focused on things for me, I plan on taking my husband to the men’s collection. Summer is right around the corner!

He will love the breathable linen button-up shirts that have a relaxed yet tailored fit. For golfing, the quarter-zip provides comfort and performance and a chic aesthetic. And those handsome Italian-made Riccardo leather sandals are both classy and stylish. 

These are just a few resort wear pieces that bring timeless style and sophistication with impeccable craftsmanship for the man in your life. He won’t just feel like a million bucks – he will look like it, too.

Coastal Couture

ALL IN A DAY’S WORK

Tara’s workdays start early so she can deal with her associates in Italy. The rest of her day is filled with either designing, creating and planning for the next season’s trends, or visiting her stores to connect with her customers. The entire family is hands-on – and it shows.

Because she’s been in Myrtle Beach for over 30 years, Tara is committed to giving back to her community. For example, during the pandemic, she and her factory staff refurbished the elastic bands on the N95 respirator face masks used by medical personnel. 

Similarly, Tara is involved with a not-for-profit named Welvista in Columbia, SC. This organization provides millions of dollars of prescription medicine for those who cannot afford what they need. 

I’LL BE BACK

Because I loved this boutique visit in Myrtle Beach so much, I was thrilled to learn she has stores in other coastal areas.  There are some upscale retail stores that carry her designs – but not many – in the U.S. and the Caribbean. And while other stores are cutting back, Tara Grinna is growing and adding new stores.  In fact, are you planning a trip near any of these locations this summer?  Here you go! 

             

SHOPPING, ANYONE?

The Tara Grinna Resort and Swimwear Boutique was definitely a highlight of my trip to Myrtle Beach, and I will be reminded of it all every time I wear Tara Grinna.

Truly, seeing the newest fashions made with the finest quality – at a reasonable price, just makes me giddy. The meticulously created collection of luxury swim and resort wear is more than attire…it’s a statement of refined taste.

For more than 30 years, Tara Grinna Swim and Resort Wear Designs have flattered women in grand style. Here’s to 30 more!

18 Responses

  1. This is such a unique post. It really makes me want to go swimsuit shopping! I’ll have to put them on my radar the next time I visit!

      1. Clothes are really neat. My favorite are the sandals. Wish I was there so I could buy some goodies

        1. Me too Judy!! If I lived closer, this store would be dangerous. I do plan to do some online shopping though – and I also LOVE the sandals. I have two pair picked out already! 🙂

  2. I liked this article for its confident tone and practical fashion advice. I believe in upgrading my style. I feel like I am getting tips from a friend who knows the best shopping spots for unique, quality items without breaking the bank.

  3. I will be traveling to Myrtle Beach next week. I can’t wait to check out Tara Grinna. It sounds like an amazing store.

  4. great information! I love supporting woman-owned businesses and especially businesses that prioritize product quality and customer experiences!

  5. What an amazingly well-written and informative article; it makes me feel as if I could look forward to choosing a bathing suit! I can almost smell the fragrance of the perfume. So appreciate the accompanying photos and list of locations, as well. Kudos to such a wonderful website– glad we found you!

  6. I can’t believe I live pretty close to this shop and never knew it was so amazing. I love it all and will get there as soon as possible!! Thank you for sharing this!!

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