Understanding Swimsuit Styles
We break down the common styles for Women's swimsuit tops and swimsuit bottoms to better help you decide what style is right for you.
Different styles, different fits and finding what what swimsuit style works for you can often be confusing and time consuming. However, understanding what the various styles work best for can help narrow down your search. In this article we will break down the basics of different swimsuit styles and what kind of body type they work best for so you can spend less time in the fitting room and more time hitting the beach (in your brand new swimsuit).
Style – Swimsuit Tops
This is the most classic of all swim top styles and a good fit for most bust sizes. Depending on the type of closure at the back and neck, this can also be one of the more supportive options out there. Most triangle tops also have some added adjustability since you can move the actual triangle fabric and position where it works best for you.
The bandeau top is not going to offer a lot of support but it’s great for smaller busts and those looking for the most minimal tan lines. These tops are great for lounging by the pool and maximizing your tan, but without a neck strap they don’t offer any lift or support.
Just like the name sounds, this top will most closely resemble a classic bra in that it will offer both support and some lift. Great for those with a smaller bust or anybody looking for a little boost. A bra top is very close to a bustier style top but with a little less dramatic lift.
The most supportive of all bikini tops will always be a classic halter. These triangle shaped tops have adjustable straps that tie around the neck for a customized fit and great adjustability. These tops have a classic look and flatter most bust sizes.
For those looking for a little more coverage without moving to a full one piece, a tankini top is the perfect choice. These will have a bikini style upper but longer body to stretch over your belly / torso area. The fit can vary in the body depending on the style you choose. These tops are a great way to get a more conservative look without going to a classic one piece.
Ideal for the active lady who still wants to rock a 2-piece, a sport top will offer more coverage and support so it stays put during activities. These can resemble a classic sports bra or simply be a top that gives full coverage and has a hearty closure in the back. Perfect for volleyball, surfing or just a nice run on the sand.
Coverage – Swimsuit Tops
Full coverage is ideal for those with a bigger bust, are more active or anyone who desires a more conservative look. Generally speaking, full coverage tops will also offer more support since there is more fabric keeping everything in it’s place.
The most popular and best selling type of coverage is categorized as moderate. Moderate coverage is just how it sounds, not too skimpy but not super conservative. When sized properly, moderate coverage tops can allow for some nice tan lines without making you feel like you’re running around the beach half naked. Great for both smaller and fuller cup sizes.
For the ladies who are not afraid to show what they’ve got, the only way to go is skimpy coverage. Ideal for smaller busts, skimpy coverage will offer the smallest amount of fabric needed to get the job done. Keep in mind skimpy coverage might not be a good choice for active types since less fabric = less support. Perfect for maximizing that tan and turning heads at the beach.
Style – Swimsuit Bottoms
The Basic cut bottom is your straight forward, simple style bottom. With no ties or crazy contraptions holding the fabric together, the basic bottom will closely resemble a classic underwear silhouette and is great for many body types.
When a swim bottom is categorized as banded, it’s referring to a thicker style waist band. This cut generally offers more support since the fabric along the side is reinforced making this shape great for active ladies. The actual width of the waist band can vary but in general banded bottoms will be thicker and offer both added coverage and support.
A newer style that is catching on quickly is a swim/surf pant. These are like rash guards for your legs as they offer great sun protection and dry quickly so use in and out of the water is possible. Made from lycra and other swim fabrics, a surf pant has great stretch and is perfect for surfing, SUP, SUP yoga or simply extra coverage from the sun. The pant style bottoms don’t offer much in the way of added warmth but they do offer protection from the sun and are a stylish way to cover up when you choose to do so.
For those looking for a more full coverage bottom, the skirt style swim bottoms are a great option. With a built in swim bottom under the skirt, you get a little extra coverage with some added style. You can pair the skirt bottoms with bikini tops, tankini tops or even a rash guard and they are a great way to cover your back side just a little more, without going to a full pant. Great for beach activities or to-and-from the beach travel.
One of the most popular swim bottoms of all time is the tie side bottom. Easily adjustable so every body type can get the perfect fit, tie side bottoms are ideal for almost any shape. Tie side bottoms can come in a variety of fits so be sure to check what type of coverage that specific bottom has. In general, tie side’s can be great for any figure.
Coverage – Swimsuit Bottoms
Brazilian or Cheeky Cut
This fit will offer the least amount of coverage and is great for those looking for very minimal tan lines. When you are looking at a cheeky cut swim bottom, the fabric coverage on the back will almost match the amount of coverage in the front. This is the easiest way to spot a brazilian or cheeky bottom.
This category can range depending on the brand and size but moderate coverage usually refers to your average coverage bottom. Not a full coverage bottom but not skimpy, this fit is a great all-around fit for those looking for a classic style bottom.
Modest / Full Coverage
The most coverage you can get from a classic style swim bottom will come from a modest or full coverage bottom. This full cut style is ideal for active beach life (volleyball, surfing, etc), and also great for those in search of a more conservative look. Heading on vacation with your 85 year old grandparents? You may want to look into some full coverage bottoms.
S / M / L
Always refer to the specific brands size chart for the most accurate info but most junior size brands use the small/medium/large size range. It’s not unusual to wear one size on the bottom and a different size on top so shopping separates can be ideal.
Juniors versus Misses
‘Junior’ sizing usually refers to sizes 0-6 and ‘misses ‘sizes generally fall in the 6-14 range. Again, specific brands can vary but these are good basic guidelines to keep in mind. Also note that most junior brands tend to use the S/M/L size scale whereas the misses brands will use numbered scale.
For the most accurate fit when it comes to tops, shop in brands that offer specific cup sizes. These should generally match your bra size and will offer the best fitting coverage and support. Many brands make a wide range of styles available in specific cup sizes.
Now that you are equipped with the knowledge of swimsuit top and bottom styles, go fourth and find the perfect swimsuit set for yourself!