Types of Swimsuits: A Guide to the Most Popular Styles

Joanna Elizabeth

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Updated February 8, 2024

Types of Swimsuits
See the different types of swimsuits.

With warm weather, sun, and the allure of water, the swimsuit beckons. From vacation getaways to at-home relaxation, there are different types of swimsuits to flatter each unique shape and preference.

A swimsuit is a garment designed specifically for swimming and water activities. It is typically made from materials that resist water and dry quickly.

Whether looking at the classic elegance of one-piece swimsuits, the versatile charm of bikini tops, or the trendy designs of tankinis and monokinis, our guide covers the spectrum.

Types of Swimsuits

One Piece Swimsuit

One Piece Swimsuit
Every silhouette is flattered by the timeless appeal of a classic one-piece swimsuit. Photo: Shutterstock

One-piece swimsuits are single garments that blend comfort and style. They typically cover the shoulders, chest, and hips. Versatile in design, they cater to a wide array of body types, providing ample coverage while enhancing the silhouette.

From slimming shapewear to plunge necklines, they are ideal for both leisure and active swim sessions.

  1. Halter One-Piece: With straps that tie around the neck, halter one-piece swimsuits offer adjustable support for the bust. This style flatters the shoulders perfectly.
  2. Plunge One-Piece: Plunge one-piece swimsuits boast a deep V-neck, offering a daring look. This style enhances the bust and draws attention best suited for those wishing to make a bold statement.
  3. Cut-Out One-Piece: Featuring strategic cut-outs, this swimsuit combines the allure of a bikini with the coverage of a one-piece. It’s perfect for fashion lovers looking to stand out with a unique, modern twist.
  4. Ruffle One-Piece: The ruffle one-piece swimsuit adds a playful, feminine touch with its frilly details, enhancing curves and offering a visually appealing texture.
  5. High-cut One-Piece: Made famous in the 80s, this swimsuit has leg openings that extend high on the hip, elongating the legs and accentuating the waistline.

Bikini

Bikini Type Swimsuit
Endless versatility is offered by bikinis with mix-and-match options for every taste. Photo: Shutterstock

The bikini is the essential two-piece swimsuit, channeling summer fashion with its bold and liberating design. It consists of a top and bikini bottoms for women that expose the midriff, offering versatility.

Ideal for sunbathing and beach activities, it celebrates the body’s form, allowing you to mix and match pieces for a custom look that suits your personal style.

Bikini Top Styles

Bikini Top
Discover the variety in bikini top styles, from bandeaus to halter necks. Photo: Shutterstock
  1. Triangle Tops: The classic triangle top offers adjustable coverage and tie closures, ideal for customizing fit and support and perfect for achieving a timeless beach look.
  2. Halter Tops: Halter tops provide excellent support and lift with neck ties, suitable for various bust sizes, offering a flattering and secure fit for active beach days.
  3. Bandeau Tops: Strapless and chic bandeau tops are perfect for a tan-line-free shoulder look, offering simplicity with or without removable straps.
  4. Underwire Tops: Designed for added support and shape, underwire tops mimic the structure of a bra, ideal for those seeking extra lift and separation.
  5. Push-Up Tops: Push-up bikini tops enhance the bust with padding and underwire, creating a fuller look, suitable for those desiring an added lift.

Bikini Bottom Styles

Bikini Bottom
Bikini bottoms range from high-waisted retro vibes to cheeky cuts. Photo: Shutterstock

Paired with tops, swimsuit bottoms are a pivotal component of swimwear. From the modest coverage of high-waisted and skirted designs to the daring allure of cheeky and thong cuts, each type provides a unique blend of comfort, functionality, and fashion.

  1. Bikini Bottoms: Classic and versatile, bikini bottoms offer a balance of coverage and style, perfect for mixing with various tops for a personalized beach look.
  2. High-Waisted Bottoms: Offering a vintage, 1950s-inspired flair, high-waisted bottoms provide extra tummy coverage and a flattering silhouette, ideal for those who prefer a modest yet stylish option.
  3. Hipster Bottoms: Sitting comfortably on the hips with moderate coverage, hipster bottoms are a contemporary choice that combines fashion with functionality.
  4. Cheeky Bottoms: For those who favor minimal coverage, cheeky bottoms highlight the curves with a playful cut, adding a bold touch to swimwear ensembles.
  5. Boyshorts: Boyshorts offer full coverage, making them suitable for active water sports or for those seeking a more conservative style.
  6. Thong Bottoms: Maximizing exposure for an enhanced tan, thong bottoms are the go-to for a daring look that minimizes tan lines and first gained popularity in the 90s.

Specialized Swimsuits

Swim Dress

Swim Dress
Swim dresses blend modesty with fashion, perfect for poolside elegance. Photo: Shutterstock

A swim dress is a type of one-piece swimsuit that integrates a dress-like skirt covering the lower torso and hips. It combines the functionality of traditional swimwear with the added coverage of a dress.

Designed to offer a flattering silhouette, swim dresses cater to those seeking modesty without compromising on style.

Tankini

Tankini
A versatile choice for any beach day, tankinis combine comfort and coverage. Photo: Shutterstock

A tankini is a two-piece swimsuit combining a tank top with bikini bottoms. Tank tops as swimwear date back to the 1920s and were made of wool. Today, they are much more comfortable and include embellished, peplum, and mesh versions.

Tankinis are Ideal for those seeking comfort and ease of movement without sacrificing modesty. They provide a practical yet stylish swimwear option for family gatherings, beach outings, and water activities.

Monokini

Monkini Type Swimsuit
Merging one-piece and bikini, monokinis bring a daring edge with cutouts. Photo: Shutterstock

The monokini bridges the gap between a bikini and a one-piece, featuring cut-outs that expose the sides or midriff while maintaining a connected structure.

This swimwear choice is best suited for fashion-forward beach events, pool parties, and destinations where making a style statement is as important as enjoying the sun and sea.

Reversible Swimsuit

Reversible Swimsuit
Reversible swimsuits double the fun with two looks in one stylish piece. Photo: Shutterstock

Reversible swimsuits, known for their two-in-one design, offer fashion flexibility and dual-style options. They are made by sewing two layers of fabric together. 

Ideal for those seeking variety or aiming to minimize their wardrobe, they feature well-crafted seams on either side for a seamless appearance.

It’s a sustainable choice for travelers and eco-conscious consumers.

Rash Guard

Rashguard Types Swimsuit
Adding a sporty touch to swimwear, rash guards protect against the sun. Photo: Shutterstock

Designed primarily for water sports, rash guards are a stylish form of athletic wear crafted from materials like spandex, nylon, or polyester. Their snug fit, which can feature either long or short sleeves, offers protection against UV rays and prevents skin abrasions.

Available in vibrant designs and patterns, rash guards are ideal for activities such as surfing, snorkeling, and swimming.

Surfing Wetsuit

Surfing Wetsuit
Surfing wetsuits offer sleek designs and thermal protection for wave enthusiasts. Photo: Shutterstock

Crafted from neoprene, surfing wetsuits offer warmth and protection for cold water sports, blending function with fashion. Available in various thicknesses, they allow for temperature regulation during prolonged ocean activities.

With sleek designs and vibrant colors, wetsuits are as much a style statement as they are essential for performance, providing surfers and divers with both comfort and flair in cooler waters.

Maternity Swimsuit

Maternity Swimsuit
Support and style for expectant mothers are provided by maternity swimsuits. Photo: Shutterstock

Maternity swimsuits are designed to accommodate the changing bodies of expectant mothers, offering comfort and style. These swimsuits feature flexible, expandable fabrics and supportive details like adjustable straps and ruched sides, ensuring a flattering fit throughout pregnancy.

Maternity swimwear, available in a variety of designs, from one-pieces to tankinis, enables pregnant women to enjoy water activities while celebrating their growing bump.

Cover-Ups

Sarong

Sarong Swimwear
Offering a quick chic beach look, sarongs wrap around effortlessly. Photo: Shutterstock

A sarong is a versatile piece of fabric that can be wrapped and tied around the body in various ways, serving as a lightweight cover-up.

Ideal for beach-goers seeking a quick and stylish way to transition from swimming to lounging, sarongs offer endless possibilities for tying techniques, creating different looks such as dresses, skirts, or even halter tops, embodying effortless beach chic.

Kaftan

Kaftan Swim
Kaftans drape elegantly, making them the ultimate beachside luxury. Photo: Shutterstock

Kaftans are flowy, often beautifully patterned cover-ups that exude elegance and ease. Characterized by their loose fit and wide sleeves, kaftans provide ample coverage while ensuring breathability and movement. First popularized in the 1960s, these designs channel a retro glamour today.

Tunic

Tunic Swimwear
Tunics are perfect for a light, breezy layer over any swimsuit. Photo: Shutterstock

Tunics are a popular type of swimwear cover-up known for their mid-length and lightweight design. They often feature a relaxed fit with a V-neck or round neckline, making them easy to slip on over a swimsuit. Tunics are a go-to for sun protection and casual elegance.

Choosing the Ideal Swimsuit Style

Swimsuit Style
Whether minimal or decorated, swimsuits come in many styles. Photo: Shutterstock

Exploring the vast sea of types of swimsuits reveals a treasure trove of styles designed to flatter every figure, from the sculpting silhouette of a one-piece to the playful freedom of bikinis.

Whether you aim to accentuate your waist with a high-cut design or prefer the modest coverage of a tankini that gently skims the navel, there’s a perfect fit for every preference.

Remember, the ideal bathing suit complements your body shape and fits with your personal style. Choose pieces that make you feel confident and comfortable, whether lounging by the pool or diving into ocean waves.


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