swimsuit styles 101

swimsuit styles 101

Jul 30th 2018

Fashion swimwear has been around as long as fashion has been in style - and like fashion does, it evolves with the decades and trends to give us the fashion swimwear we have today. Nowadays, swimwear mostly consists of two piece suits to wear on the beach, to the lake, to the pool or anywhere in between.

Over the years, there have been many different variations on fashion swimwear. From bikinis to one piece suits, this comprehensive guide will help you decide which swim suit best matches your tastes.

One Piece

With the continuous revolution of the one-piece swimsuit, fashion swimwear doesn’t have to come in the form of an itsy-bitsy bikini. Many feel more comfortable in a less-skin baring, more supporting suit. They range in style and coverage, and lately more two-piece-like suits are becoming popular. They are flattering for all body types, and sometimes include a built-in skirt and/or bust support. Shop One Piece Swimsuits »


The tops and bottoms can come in many different shapes and styles. A basic bikini top will have triangle shapes that cover the breasts and adjoining strings-going around the neck and around the back. They will tie at the neck and either on the back or between the bust for a secure and adjustable fit. Shop Bikinis »

Triangle Top

A triangle top or tie top, first imported from Rio de Janeiro, is one of the most popular. They are often just lined to keep the top lightweight. Some have stitched in or removable padding and some have underwire. A triangle top can have either fixed or sliding triangles. Fixed triangles are better at staying in place, while sliding triangles slide along the bottom string band for adjustable coverage. This information should be in the product description. Many times there is adornment or a decorative piece between the bust to add a bit of flair. A triangle suit is a great look for those who are average or smaller busted. Shop Triangle Tops »


A halter top is similar to a triangle top. The fabric that goes around the neck is thicker, which is ideal for women who arelarge busted. It adds more support and is easier to keep in place for some. It's not uncommon for a halter to have an extra strip of fabric underneath the bust, often of contrasting color or pattern. Shop Fashion Halters »


A bandeau top has no shoulder straps (or very thin ones coming up around the back of the neck) and is a large strip of fabric covering the bust. They either tie or clasp in the back and are recommended for smaller chested women, although they can have the effect of minimizing the chest. Because of the lack of straps, bandeaus can easily slip down and are generally not recommended for water sports or beach games. They are ideal for tanning, since they leave no strap marks. The bandeau was one of the first swimsuit styles accepted by the US, and first came on one-piece bathing suits. ShopBandeaus »


The tankini style offers maximum coverage and is an ideal style for those who still want to leave something to be desired, but don't want to sacrifice fashion. The tankini is similar to a camisole tank top. It has a fitted bust and then a slight empire waist—perfect for decoratively camouflaging the tummy area. A tankini also has the convenience of a two piece. Shop Tankinis »


For those who are large busted or feel more secure with more fabric and support, an underwire bra top is ideal. It is very similar to a bra, with underwire support and full cup coverage. Shop Underwire Tops »

Enhancer Bra

Similar to underwire tops are enhancer bra tops, which enhance the bust area. If you are looking to downsize your bust in a swimsuit, an underwire top would be better. Enhancer tops are ideal for average or smaller busted women who wish to look fuller in their tops. These tops will most likely have padding, and may or may not have underwire built in. Shop Enhancer Tops »

Bust Enhancer Pads

Bust enhancer pads are a convenient way to ensure you fill out every suit you try on. Some are made of the waterproof foam a built-in swimsuit cup usually has; others are made from a more gel-like substance. Bust enhancer pads range anywhere from merely shaping the breast to pushing it up for added cleavage. Shop Enhancer Pads »

Sport Top

Sport tops are typically "sturdier" designs; that is, they are made to stay in place even through rigorous activity such as beach volleyball or tag football. Sport tops usually have one piece across the chest to minimize top movement.

D-Cup & Up

For women who need a little extra room and support, D-cup and DD-cup swimwear provide the comfort and support you need. Shop »

Full Bottom

Full bottoms may be a preference for most women, as they are usually more preferable on beaches and in the pool. For water sport enthusiasts, full bottoms are more apt to stay in place while taking part in activities like wakeboarding and surfing. Unlike a Brazilian cut, full bottoms do just that—fully cover the bottom. They are often called "boyshorts" or "hipsters" because of the cut similar to men's briefs. Shop Full Bottoms »

Brazilian Bottom

Since much of retail swimwear sold in the USA is from Brazil, it's only natural that Brazilian cut bottoms are rapidly gaining popularity. These are wonderful for women who love fashionable swimwear and crave a little extra sun. Shop Brazilian Bottoms »


Thong bottoms are great for those who want to eliminate as many tan lines as possible. The skimpy cut allows more skin to be shown in the back. Shop Thong Bottoms »

Hipster Bottom

Hipster bottoms are the lowest rise. They resemble a scoop bottom, but sit far below the navel. Shop Hipster Bottoms »

Scoop Bottom

Scoop bottoms offer more coverage on the waist than a hipster bottom, while allowing more freedom than a -waisted bottom. Scoop bottoms usually have full coverage backs, although some come in skimpier cuts like Brazilian and thong. Shop Scoop Bottoms »

High Waist Bottom

High waist bottoms typically go up to the belly button. This extra fabric is ideal for those who worry about a low-waisted bottom staying in place or showing too much skin. Shop Waist Bottoms »

Skirted Bottom

Skirted bottoms can come in a waist, Brazilian, scoop or thong cut. The length of the attached skirt will vary by suit and should be labeled in the description. Skirted bottoms are great if you want to add cute flair or cover the hips; however, due to the extra material, skirted bottoms tend to take a bit longer to dry than other bottoms might. Shop Skirted Bottoms »

Boy Short

Boy shorts are so named for their resemblance to men's briefs. They are usually low rise with a square cut. Because of their short-like appearance, they usually provide full coverage in the back, making them perfect for the sporty woman or one who wants extra coverage on the hips. Shop Boy Shorts »

Tie Side Bottom

Tie-side bottoms can probably nod their popularity to the fact that they are easily adjustable and to some, the most flattering of swim suit bottoms. You are able to tie them just so, and when you're spending the whole day at the beach, comfort is key. Some have a tie on one side, some on two sides. Offering an easy on/off as well as personal adjustment, mix and match to your heart's content. Shop Tie Side Bottoms »


Water aerobics are such a necessity for any pregnant woman, it's no wonder maternity suits are becoming more and more popular. Most are made with stretch fabric, so you can wear it to term.Shop MaternitySwimwear »

Post Mastectomy

Post mastectomy suits allow any woman who has had the unfortunate event of a mastectomy to go swimming without worry. These suits typically come with two removable padded cups. Shop Post Mastectomy Suits »

Tan Thru Suits

Tan through suits are made of ultra thin, non-see-through fabric that allows the sun to penetrate but not the human eye. These suits are great for getting an all over even tan – no lines at all! Shop Tan Thru Suits »

Cover Up & Skirts

Cover ups and skirts are a great asset to any bathing suit. By pulling on a simple skirt or over-the-head, loose fitting dress you can make a swimsuit ready to wear to shops on the pier or to a great restaurant for lunch. Most cover ups are made of cotton, which dries quickly, helping you to avoid awkward wet patches caused by a wet suit. The description of a product will tell you the fabric type. Shop Cover Up & Skrits »