The Different Types of Swimsuits:
An Ultimate Guide
Choosing the most ideal swimsuit for your body begins with knowing all the different types of bathing suits. In this summer guide, we walk you through everything you need to know about the major styles of bikini tops, swimsuit tops and monokini bathing suits.
Bikini Swimsuit Tops
As the name suggests, triangle bikini tops feature triangles of fabric that form the bra cups. They can be padded or unpadded, depending on the style. Some string bikini swimsuit styles feature thin straps that can be tied around the neck and torso, while others may feature thicker straps that close with a clasp. Triangle bikini tops are particularly flattering on those with smaller chests looking to show off these assets. They are available in larger sizes as well, but some women with larger busts find it more comfortable to wear a bikini top that’s more supportive.
Halter top bathing suits refer to the style of straps that tie behind the neck. Halter top straps may be paired with many other cup styles, including triangle, underwire, high neck and more, so explore Leonisa’s many options available to you. Because halter tops tie, they allow you to easily adjust the lengths of the straps for your comfort. Some women do find that halter tops can make their neck hurt, especially if they tie the straps too tight. This often happens because the neck (instead of the shoulders) is holding the weight of your breasts. If your neck is prone to aching, then consider classic straps that will distribute the weight over your shoulders instead.
Underwire bikini tops feature underwire for extra structure and support. These women’s bathing suits often come with extra padding as well, making them a great choice whether you want to enhance a smaller bust or provide more structure support for a larger chest. However, you can also find unlined and unpadded styles. Underwire swimsuits come in many different cuts, but most of them do have two separate cups that mimic the structure of a bra. Just like a regular bra, underwire can poke if the bathing suit isn’t designed properly, so look for well-made pieces from our collection.
This strapless bikini top looks like a band of fabric around your breasts, hence the name. If you’re looking to avoid tan lines, then a bandeau swimsuit top is the perfect solution for you. Because of the lack of straps, it’s not the most supportive, so it’s best to avoid this style if you plan on being very active while wearing your swimsuit. You might also be able to find a convertible style that allows you to attach and remove the straps at will so you can get the best of both worlds.
This swimsuit style involves a taller fabric panel that extends up towards the neck. If you are looking for a little more coverage, or don’t like the cleavage caused by a triangle bikini top, a high neck bikini will give you the coverage you want while still maintaining your trendy beachside look. This is an especially great style for tall people with narrow torsos looking to visually shorten their upper body.
A classic style, these bottoms fully cover the cheeks, but offer a low rise waistline that leaves the stomach fully exposed. If you are looking for traditional bikini bottoms, this is the cut you should seek out. Bikini cut bottoms are also a good choice if you’re looking to tan but still want to keep your look cool for a family-friendly beach.
These bottoms feature cheek coverage similar to that of bikini bottoms, but also feature a slightly thicker waistband that hits a bit higher for a more secure fit while you’re getting in and out of the water. In other words, hipster bikini bottoms present a great compromise between bikini bottoms and high waisted bottoms.
This retro look is perfect for those who want to show off their legs while covering the bottom portion of their stomach. High-waisted swimsuit bottoms hit right at or just below your belly button for a flattering and supportive look. If you want to show off your skin while still having some tummy control, then definitely check out high-waisted bikini bottoms.
On the flipside, you might be looking for more coverage on the bottom of the shorts as opposed to the top. In that case, you should consider swim shorts, which come down to cover the tops of the thighs. Swim shorts usually have a low-rise or mid-rise waist line with legs that are available in various lengths—from moderate to maximum coverage. Swim shorts are a good solution if you’ll be getting in and out of the water a lot and need something secure to wear.
If you’re feeling a bit daring, go the opposite of swim shorts and show off your booty with a pair of cheeky bottoms. They resemble a pair of bikini bottoms, but the legs are even more narrowly cut to show off your cheeks. They are perfect for tanning, but maybe not for family-friendly beaches!
This bathing suit bottom features a skirt of swimsuit material stitched on top of a regular swimsuit bottom—think of it like a skort, but for swimming. This style is great for when you want a little more coverage on your legs but don’t want to deal with having to peel off a pair of wet swim shorts every time you need to use the bathroom.
Not to be confused with high waisted bottoms, high cut bottoms feature leg openings that fall further up the thighs. This look creates the illusion of leaner, longer legs. The waistline might also be sloped gently downward in the middle, creating the illusion of a longer torso as well. As a result, many people with short torsos and/or legs love this look.
Because they cover the stomach, one-piece monokinis provide the best tummy control out of all swimsuits for a flattering and supportive look. Here are the different types of one-piece bathing suits that you need to know:
The classic monokini swimsuit style comes in many different strap styles we already discussed in the bikini section, including scoop neck, high neck, v-neck, one shoulder, halter top, strapless and more. You can also find monokinis that come with attached or removable swim skirts, if you would like a little more coverage on the bottom as well as the stomach. Not all one-pieces are created equal, so if you’re specifically looking for tummy control, be sure to search our slimming bathing suit collection.
Ruching and Cutouts
These seemingly different design techniques are both used to the same effect: creating a flattering, slimming silhouette. Ruching refers to gathering or pleating the fabric across the midsection of the monokini to create the illusion of a thinner middle. On the other hand, cutouts are placed strategically to draw the eye towards more flattering areas, such as the sides or tops of the ribs. These cutouts may be left open or enforced with mesh to further add to the illusion. These techniques are able to be used on monokinis because the additional fabric allows more room for them, whereas bikinis do not.
Yes, you can get monokini swimsuits with underwire support! While underwire might be more common in bikini tops, it is absolutely possible to find monokinis with underwire. In fact, we sell multiple styles right here at Leonisa. Look for a swimsuit that is well-constructed so the underwire won’t cause weird lumps or seams beneath the one-piece swimsuit. Like bikini tops, underwire one-pieces may be padded or unlined depending on the style. Choose padded if you want more lift for a more rounded look, or if you feel more comfortable in a more structured women’s bathing suit.
This style isn’t technically a monokini, but we’re putting it in this section because it offers the same amount of tummy coverage as a monokini, just in a different style. Picture a swimsuit tank top and you’ve basically got the idea of a tankini. It looks like the top of a monokini, but stops at the waist. This allows you to choose your ideal bottom style or to mix and match depending on what you’re feeling that day. Tankinis also make it easier to change and use the restroom, even when the swimsuit is wet, because you don’t have to take the entire swimsuit off.
No matter what type of swimsuit you prefer — one-piece, high-waisted bikinis, or shorts — they all offer the option for tummy compression and shaping. At Leonisa we offer three levels of slimming compression swimsuits:
- Smooth Tummy Compression Swimwear: The lightest level of compression, this is perfect for those who are new to compression swimwear and want an introduction to its smoothing effects.
- Moderate Tummy Compression Swimwear: This level of compression provides support and shaping that falls in between smooth and firm compression. This type of swimwear is good for those who are ready to take their smooth compression bathing suits to the next level.
- Firm Tummy Compression Swimwear: The highest level of compression swimwear, this will provide the most support and result in the most pronounced shaping effects.
At Leonisa, we know how hard it can be to find a women’s bathing suit that makes you look and feel great. If you’re having trouble deciding between the many different types of bathing suits, don’t hesitate to call one of our style experts or to schedule a consultation with one of our Personal Shoppers. We’d love to help you find your next favorite bathing suit! And while you’re at it, don’t forget to grab a beach cover-up or dress to throw on over your swimsuit and to check out our line of eco-friendly swimwear.