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Swimsuit Styles 101

Swimsuit styles have come a long way since the days of public Roman baths in tunics or heavy woolen swim dresses in Victorian times. They now come in a huge variety of styles, and even traditional styles like the bikini or tank-style one-piece come in a large number of variations on the style. Below is a brief explanation of several of the styles and names you may come across in your search for the perfect swimsuit:

Bikini
Bikini

The bikini is the classic two-piece, navel-bearing suit that has existed in our popular culture for nearly 60 years. The newest trends in the bikini are skimpy, triangle-shaped tops and bottoms with ties. Push-up bra-style tops with hidden underwires and extra shaping are the latest in bikini top style.
Thong Bikini
Thong Bikini

Adapted from Amazonian tribal wear, the thong bikini is the most revealing of today’s swimwear styles. It features a bottom that offers full coverage in the front but only a small strip of fabric in the back, very similar to thong-style underwear. While certainly not the most practical for recreational or competitive swimming, the thong bikini is considered to be very sexy and stylish.
Tankini
Tankini

The tankini is a new variation on the traditional bikini, popular for three or four years now, that has a longer, tank-style top. The tankini is meant to reveal only a small part of the midriff, but most fashion experts recommend buying a tankini where the top and bottom meet.
Bandini
Bandini

The bandini is a traditional bikini with a bandeau-style type. A bandeau is a piece of fabric that stretches straight across the chest and uses no straps for support. A bandeau-style top has been used in one-piece styles, as well. While the bandeau is fantastic for minimizing large busts, it is not recommend for women with small busts.
Camikini
Camikini

The camikini is a variation on the tankini. The only difference between the two styles is that the camikini top is sewn to be more fitted, such as in a camisole-style top.
One-piece Swimsuit
Maillot

The maillot is the fashion designer’s term for the traditional one-piece suit. However, modern maillots are anything but traditional. In the 1960s, a maillot featuring thin straps that revealed the breasts was jokingly called the “monokini.” The latest one-piece styles feature revealing cutouts, one-shouldered straps, and halter necks. Halter necks are flattering for nearly every type of bust.
Swimdress
Swimdress

A swimdress is a one-piece swimsuit that is similar in appearance to a short dress. The bottom of the swimsuit generally flares out into a very short skirt. This style, reminiscent of 1950s swimsuits, is a flirty, fun modification of the maillot that is quickly rising in popularity.
Boy Shorts
Boy Shorts

This new feature of swimsuits works with both bikini and maillot bottoms. Boy shorts refer to longer swimsuit bottoms that resemble very short shorts. While this style has grown greatly in popularity in the last few years, it does tend to shorten the appearance of the legs and is not flattering for most women.

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