The classic bikini – it’s flirty and fun, it’s sexy and sweet. It has been a staple at our pools and beaches since the 1960s.
Sometimes, though, it’s just not what you want to wear. Whether you want more coverage, a suit that’s better for being active, or just to switch things up a bit, there are plenty of other styles of swimwear to choose from.
We can certainly thank plus-size swimwear designers for the appearance of a more diverse range of swimwear styles. By creating swimsuits for all women’s bodies, they provided every woman with alternatives.
Here are our top five picks for alternatives to the classic bikini:
In the last few years, one-piece swimsuits have made a major comeback. The cutout trend in fashion more generally has helped, as people no longer think of one-piece suits as a boring alternative to a bikini.
They can be just as much fun, especially since swimsuit designers are being so creative with patterns and bright colors.
Whether you’re going for a weekend at the seaside where swimming will just be a small part of the trip or you have a relaxing poolside spa day planned, a one-piece swimsuit is the most convenient suit since it most closely resembles a tank top. You can just throw on a pair of shorts or a sarong and you’re ready for your next activity.
As the name might suggest, the monokini is a cross between a bikini and a one-piece suit. With a monokini, the cutouts are more dramatic. They generally leave only a small strip of fabric connecting the top and bottom of the suit.
This isn’t really a style if you’re looking for something with more coverage than a classic bikini. One other thing to consider is that many designers use a ring to connect the top and bottom.
It’s a cute addition – a sort of cutout within a cutout – but if it’s made of metal it can cause burns or discomfort if you’re out in the sun for too long.
The tankini is another versatile style that provides more coverage than the bikini, without sacrificing the comfort and ease of wearing a two-piece suit.
Tankinis come in two main types – one that is like a tight camisole and one that is more blousy. Both styles can be very flattering, it just depends what you’re looking for.
Many women prefer tankinis because they cover one of the common problem areas – the belly. As easy as it is to tell people to love their bodies no matter what, insecurities are hard to get over, especially when they’re reinforced by advertising and society.
While everyone should be able to feel comfortable in their skin, if wearing something that provides more tummy coverage allows you to relax and enjoy yourself then that’s what you should do.
The retro twopiece suit made a comeback about a decade ago and it looks like it’s here to stay. It’s easy to see why. These suits are adorable! Retro two-piece swimsuits typically feature a higher-waisted bottom with more coverage.
The tops often have a sweetheart neckline and a halter tie. Many also have ruching or ruffles, which makes them flattering for most body types.
These suits are largely inspired by those worn by Annette Funicello in the beach party movies of the 1960s. Titles such as Beach Party (1963), Beach Blanket Bingo (1965), and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965) captured the carefree spirit of the period.
That’s an energy we could all use a bit more of right now and these retro swimsuits help to mirror a bit of it.
Swim skirt or swim dress
The swim skirt and swim dress are great choices if you’re looking for coverage but want something more feminine than sporty.
Since the defining feature of this style is the skirt, we’ll be referring to them as swim skirts, but there are one-piece versions as well as the more common two-piece.
The modern swim skirt has little in common with the old bathing costumes that it was inspired by.
Most importantly, they are much lighter and won’t weigh you down as you swim. Swim skirts come in multiple lengths, from knee length to micromini, and can be paired with a classic swim bottom or with leggings. With a swim skirt, you can decide exactly how much coverage you want without sacrificing your comfort and ability to enjoy the water.