Tara Grinna represents all of the design elements we look for when we shop for our own closets — high-quality construction, versatile pieces that can take you from day to night, memorable colors and patterns, and an eye for flattering a wide range of ages, aesthetics, and body types. If you’re not familiar with her fabulous line of swimsuits, cover-ups, resort wear, and accessories, we’re thrilled to be the ones to introduce you. Read on for a peek at some of her latest designs, and get to know the brand through a Q&A with Tara herself!
Tara’s swimwear line was established in the ’90s and rapidly gained popularity as shoppers learned they could expect creativity and quality from her designs — but also enjoy the exclusivity of a “hard to find” label. Since then, she’s built the business into a bit of a beach-inspired empire, with locations all over the USA (and a few neighboring islands).
Despite its signature use of Italian fabrics and continued expansion into new product lines and cities, the brand remains true to its Southern roots, maintaining a home base in Conway, SC. We spoke to Tara to learn more about her history, inspiration, and what sets her apart.
How did you find yourself in the design world, and what drew you to swimwear?
I’ve always been drawn to design. I got a sewing machine for Christmas when I was about 7 years old and made simple garments for my cousins with whom I played every Sunday at my grandmother’s home. Designing swimwear was an accident. Literally. I replaced another designer who worked at a small custom swimwear boutique in Palm Beach, FL, who was unfortunately killed in a car accident when I was about to graduate design school.
How would you describe the Tara Grinna brand in three words?
1. Quality – always first
2. Fit – always necessary
3. Artisanal – always respecting the individual talent and experience of the people involved in the manufacturing process
Where do you draw inspiration for your designs?
I have always drawn inspiration from my travels the world over. I’m heading to Italy in three days for almost a month and will find much to be inspired by during the trip.
What sets Tara Grinna apart from other swimwear lines?
We are a limited production brand with a huge, loyal following because we design swimwear, resort wear, and accessories to fit and flatter all ages and figure types, made from gorgeous Italian fabrics.
What would you say to women who are daunted by the idea of swimsuit shopping?
Most women are daunted by swimsuit shopping! Our ability to fit so many figure types with many styles of well-made, top-quality fabrics offered in separates makes it so easy to find a perfectly flattering swimsuit, no matter the shape or size.
Though your designs are available in stores all over the country, your brand was born in South Carolina. What are your favorite Southern brands to shop?
I love the South! Most of my closet is my own brand since we now do so much in the way of clothing, shoes, handbags, and jewelry. When I venture out to shop, it’s mainly for my home, and I love the Southern Living brand for inspiration, and I shop lots of antique and second-hand boutiques. My home always looks a little worn but a lot comfortable for everyone who visits. (But not worn in a bad way!)
What’s your go-to look for a beach vacation?
The best looks for a beach vacation are ones that can be worn in places other than the beach! I always pack a great suit for each day (nothing worse than trying to put on a damp swimsuit), a few cover-ups that can transition to resort wear (worn on a lunch date or even into a cocktail party), some poolside slides with a small heel (again to transition into the evening if need be!), and a nice raffia tote bag that will hold all my necessities.
The best swimsuits to collect are ones that can be used as resort tops paired with coordinating palazzo pants or shorts. We offer many multi-use garments that make it easy to go from beach to pool to lunch and even to a fancy cocktail party in the evening.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The absolute best advice given to me at a young age was to enjoy what you do, and you will never work a day in your life. At the very beginning (over 30 years ago now), we decided to opt out of our New York showroom and build our brand and our family in the South, where I have to pinch myself every morning, overwhelmed that I was able to be successful in this very tough business and on my own terms!
Who else is ready to hit the beach?! To shop, visit the website or one of many locations that carry Tara Grinna designs. You can also follow Tara Grinna on Instagram for the latest releases and styling tips.
All photography was provided by Tara Grinna.