Women's Swimsuits - Styles of Women's Swimsuits

Choosing the Right Women's Swimsuit Style for You

Over the years, swimsuit styles have evolved tremendously. In Victorian times, women wore heavy wool swim dresses that almost covered their bodies completely. Nowadays, many swimsuit styles leave very little to the imagination.

If you are shopping for a new swimsuit this season, you certainly will be pleased by the different styles, shapes and fabrics available. Here is a brief guideline to the most common swimsuit styles. We hope this information will make your swimsuit shopping a little easier and fun.

One-piece Swimsuits

If you prefer a little more coverage, a one-piece suit is a terrific option. One-piece swimsuits come in various styles, all derived from the shape of a leotard.


Maillot Swimsuit
Maillot Swimsuit. Courtesy of PriceGrabber

In designer's terms, a maillot is your traditional one-piece swimming suit. It normally features a scoop neck and two tank straps. The straps vary in thickness from a couple inches wide to thin spaghetti traps.

Racerback Swimsuit

Racerback Swimsuit
Racerback Swimsuit. Courtesy of PriceGrabber

This is the type of suit that you see on Olympic swimmers. The racer style back allows full movement of your arms. This is the perfect style for any competitive swimmers.

Bandeau Swimsuit

Bandeau Swimsuit
Bandeau Swimsuit. Courtesy of PriceGrabber

Both one piece and two piece suits can be bandeau style. Bandeau is a strapless style which the fabric can is pleated and gathered in the middle. Oftentimes, bandeau swimsuits offer detachable straps that you can attach in different manners - spaghetti, halter or criss-cross style.


Monokini. Courtesy of PriceGrabber

When the monokini was originally created, it was a swimsuit that left the breasts completely exposed. It wasn't popular at all and evolved into a very revealing version of the one-piece suit. Basically the monokini is a one piece suit that the sides are nearly completely cut out, giving the appearance of a bikini that the top and bottom are connected with a thin strip of material.

Swim Dress

Swim Dress
Swim Dress. Courtesy of PriceGrabber

On the other end of the spectrum is the swim dress. This one-piece swimming suit has a built in skirt that provides extra coverage of your stomach, butt and upper thighs. It's a common swimsuit style that is normally available in plus-sizes and maternity wear.


Also called the sling bikini or the suspender bikini, this is another very revealing one-piece swim suit. The bottoms resemble bikini bottoms but they have straps that come straight upward and cover the nipple area. The sides of the suit are completely open. The straps come over the shoulders where they connect into one section which continues downward and becomes the thong bottom. You might associate this type of swimsuit with Borat or female body builders.

Two-piece Swimsuits

For women who want to expose their mid-section, a tremendous variety of different two-piece swimsuits are available. The bikini is your classic two-piece swimsuit. You can choose bikinis with various shapes of tops and bottoms each providing different levels of coverage.

Classic Bikini

Bikini Swimsuit
Bikini Swimsuit. Courtesy of PriceGrabber

A classic bikini top is shaped very similar to a traditional bra. It features two cups (which can have underwire support) and straps that go over the shoulders and connect to the band across the back. The classic bikini bottom offers complete coverage of the groin and buttocks. The legs are cut high. This swimsuit style is similar to a high-cut panty.

String Bikini

String Bikini
String Bikini. Courtesy of PriceGrabber

Your traditional string bikini features a two triangle shaped pieces of fabric that cover the breasts. The triangles are connected with three strings. One string runs through the bottom of each triangle with the ends tying in the back to create the band. The other two strings come out of the top of each triangle and tie at the back of the neck. On the string bikini bottom, the triangle front and triangle back are connected with a strip of fabric at the crotch. The bottom is tied at the hips with strings.

Halter Top Bikini

Halter Style Bikini
Halter Style Bikini. Courtesy of PriceGrabber

The halter bikini top features a plunging neckline and straps that tie around the back of the neck. This lifting top is great for women who want to appear as if they have bigger breasts.

Bandeau Top Bikini

Bandeau Bikini Top
Bandeau Bikini Top. Courtesy of PriceGrabber

The bandeau top is one piece of fabric that stretches straight across the chest. This is a strapless style. The top is usually gathered in the middle. If you have larger breasts, this style of bikini top will minimize the look of your bust.

Swim Sports Bra

Swim Sports Bra
Swim Sports Bra. Courtesy of PriceGrabber

As the name says, this is a sports bra style top. It's great for women who swim competitively, surf or play other water sports. This swimsuit provides extra coverage and support.


Tankini. Courtesy of PriceGrabber

The tankini is a new twist on the classic bikini. This swimsuit style has been popular for the last four or five years and will continue to be so this season. Instead of a bikini top, this two-piece suit features a tank top instead. This is a great option for women who want the flexibility of a two piece suit without revealing their stomach.

Boy Shorts

Boyshorts Swimsuit
Boyshorts Swimsuit. Courtesy of PriceGrabber

This style is popular in both swimsuits and panties. This bikini bottom resembles very short shorts. It gives women a little extra coverage of the upper thighs and hips. Boy shorts make the legs appear shorter, therefore they are not ideal for petites.

Thong Swimsuit

Thong Bikini
Thong Bikini. Courtesy of Berrydog

The thong bikini offers full coverage in the front, but only a small strip of fabric in the rear. It's very revealing but it's very common on today's beaches. The thong swimsuit can also be one-piece too. It appears like a traditional one piece suit but features a thong back, which leaves the butt exposed. Obviously, this suit isn't the best for competitive swimming or water sports, but many people think it's sexy. Even more revealing than the thong, the G-string features merely a string in the back. It's definitely not the choice for shy women.


No matter what style of swimsuit you choose, consider both your body type and the location where you will be wearing it. Obviously the more revealing styles may not be appropriate at a family beach or pool. The most important factor, however, is your comfort. Not only should the suit fit well and be physically comfortable, you should also be confident wearing it. Select a swimsuit style that you love and flaunt your assets.