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Article: Bikini top types and styles explained

Woman in a SwimZip bikini top walks on a beach—What are the different types of bikini tops?

Bikini top types and styles explained

Bikinis come in an array of styles, from classic to cutting-edge designs. Whether you prefer full coverage or sexy cutouts, there's a bikini top to flatter every figure.

We'll explore the different bikini top varieties available. From supportive underwire cups to flirty triangle shapes, you'll find the perfect pick to make a statement at the beach or pool this summer. 

Quick links:

What is a bikini?

Scoop bikini tops

Front-tie bikini tops

One-shoulder bikini tops

Halter bikini tops


Check out our collection of bikini tops to find the perfect fit for your body type and style. All our bikini tops are designed to flatter while protecting you. 

In fact, Swimzip’s entire collection of sun-protective swimwear is made with UPF 50+ rated fabric so you can enjoy the summer sun and protect your skin from harmful UV radiation. 

What is a bikini?

A bikini is a brief, form-fitting two-piece swimsuit worn by women and girls. In 1946, French designers Jacques Heim and Louis Réard introduced an innovative two-piece design featuring a bra top and two triangular fabric pieces on the bottom, tied at the hips. They dubbed their creation the "bikini", taking inspiration from Bikini Atoll in the Pacific where the U.S. had recently conducted atomic bomb tests.

The revealing new swimsuit was considered daring and controversial. Réard likened its impact to a cultural "explosion" akin to the nuclear detonations at the islands. This original bikini concept has since been reimagined into the diverse bikini styles available today.

Bikini tops come in many styles to suit different body types, sizes, fashion preferences, and coverage needs. Let’s take a look!

Scoop bikini tops

Scoop bikini tops boast a modern, minimalist design with a squared neckline that sits flatteringly below the collarbone. This relaxed yet stylish cut offers moderate coverage while showcasing sun-kissed shoulders.

Versatile scoop tops pair perfectly with your favorite bikini bottoms, swim skirts, or even shorts for a chic look. They're great for beach days, poolside lounging, or anywhere you want laid-back style.

Features of our scoop bikini tops include: 

  • Fully lined
  • Removable cups
  • Adjustable straps that can be converted between straight or crossed 
  • Elastic band under bust
  • Nursing friendly
  • 1X/2X/3X sizes feature an open back and adjustable band for added fit and support

Check out this In Disguise scoop bikini top. Release your wild side with this animal print in fuschia and dusty blue.  

Woman in a SwimZip bikini with a wide-brimmed hat smiles at the beach—What are the different types of bikini tops?

Front-tie bikini tops

Front-tie bikini tops lend a flirty, feminine vibe to your beach look with their alluring keyhole necklines and eye-catching tie details. The knotted accent right at the bustline draws the eye with its on-trend charm.

These tops strike the perfect balance between minimalist and playful. The cute tied bow adds a hint of flair, while the plunging keyhole offers a face-flattering look. Removable soft cups allow you to customize coverage and support to your comfort level. The front-tie style blends barely-there appeal with flirtatious detailing.

Our front-tie tops include the following features:

  • Made of the highest-rated, most comfortable UPF 50+ sun-protective fabric
  • Blocks 98% of the sun’s harmful UVA & UVB rays for maximum sun protection
  • 4-way stretch for extra freedom of movement
  • Quick-drying and chlorine-resistant fabric
  • Flat seams help to reduce rubbing
  • Fully lined
  • Removable cups
  • Adjustable straps
  • Keyhole at the front with semi-adjustable bow
  • Elastic band at waist

Channel paradise vibes with this vibrant Floral Garden bikini top in pink, red, and green. You will feel fresh and look cute in our Floral Garden print.

Woman in a SwimZip front tie bikini top and swim leggings at the lake—What are the different types of bikini tops?

One-shoulder bikini tops

One-shoulder bikini tops offer a bold, asymmetrical profile. A single shoulder strap elegantly curves over one shoulder, leaving the other bare for a flirtatious, trendy look.

One-shoulder tops have a distinctly fashion-forward aesthetic. The diagonal neckline draws the eye, while the sleek, minimalist cut creates an elongated, flattering silhouette.

This coveted single-strap style pairs beautifully with color-blocked or high-waist bottoms. Embrace the head-turning cut-out look by rocking a sexy one-shoulder top this season.

Our one-shoulder bikini tops include the following features:

  • Removable, optional thin strap (not on all models)
  • Single diagonal strap over one shoulder
  • Supportive underlining and removable cups
  • Flattering ruched detailing along the sides

The Palm Breeze one-shoulder top is perfect for all shapes and bodies. The black and blue leaves pattern feels cheerful and lively, great for sunny days by the water.

Woman in a SwimZip one-shoulder top poses at the beach—What are the different types of bikini tops?

Halter bikini tops

Halter bikini tops offer worry-free support and maximum sun protection coverage on your chest, where you need it most. They fit like a sports bra and are perfect for playing and running around with kids, grabbing lunch, or just lounging with a good book.

Our flattering halter bikini tops include the following features:

  • Fully lined
  • Removable cups
  • Elastic band at bust
  • Racerback, halter front cut

Our Groovy halter top has a retro-themed pattern of vivid florals, hibiscus, and plumeria on a background of tropical leaves. Pair it with the Groovy high-waisted bikini bottom for a complete beach look.

Woman in a SwimZip halter top and high-waist bikini bottoms poses by the bush—What are the different types of bikini tops?

What is the best type of bikini top for big busts?

For women with larger busts, an underwire bikini top provides support and coverage.

When shopping for a bikini top, focus on styles with underwire and molded cups, because these features help lift and shape the breasts. Triangle bikini tops and string bikinis may not offer enough support for larger cup sizes which leads to discomfort or a less flattering fit.

Look for bikini tops specifically made for larger busts, as these often come in a wide range of cup sizes and feature reinforced straps and bands for added support. Halter bikini tops can also distribute weight evenly and provide additional lift.

Benefits of bikinis

The bikini, or two-piece swimsuit, offers the following benefits over other women’s swimsuit styles:

  • Better tanning. Minimize tan lines for an all-over, even golden glow.
  • Figure flattering. Bikinis showcase your physique, accentuating feminine curves more than one-piece swimsuits.
  • Style. With a wide range of bikini top designs from simple to elaborate, you can easily find a bikini to suit your taste.
  • Comfort and mobility. Bikinis allow freedom of motion without swaths of fabric getting in the way. They are perfect for swimming, watersports, beach volleyball, and activities where you want less coverage and more freedom.

Choose Swimzip for bikini tops and other swimwear

SwimZip collection offers fashionable tops, bottoms, and sets that enhance your confidence in the sun. Our swim tops provide maximum sun protection, blocking 98% of harmful UVA & UVB rays. Crafted from quick-drying, chlorine-resistant UPF 50+ fabric, they deliver superior comfort and coverage.

Whether you're hitting the beach, relaxing poolside, or exploring a new town, SwimZip has swimwear styles, colors, and sizes to suit every occasion and body type. Our versatile range ensures you can look and feel your best.

Bikini tops FAQ

What are some other types of bikini tops for women?

Some popular bikini top styles include bandeau bikini tops, which are strapless and provide a sleek look; halter bikini tops that tie behind the neck for added support; and crop bikini tops, which offer a trendy, midriff-baring option. Triangle tops and sporty bikini tops are also common choices.

What are the different bikini bottoms called?

Different types of bikini bottoms include:

  • High-waist bottoms (extending over the navel)
  • High-cut bottoms (sitting higher on the hips)
  • Cheeky bikini bottoms (revealing more of the backside)
  • Tie-side bottoms (with adjustable ties on the sides)
  • Thong bikini bottoms

What is the difference between a classic bikini and a tankini?

A traditional bikini is a two-piece swimsuit with a bikini top and bottoms, leaving the midriff exposed. A tankini features a longer top that extends down to the hips and provides extra coverage for the midsection while still allowing the convenience of a two-piece swimsuit.

Which body shape is the best for a bikini?

Every body shape can look good in a bikini! The key is finding a style that flatters your unique figure. For example, those with fuller busts may prefer bikini swim tops with underwire and extra coverage, while those with smaller chests may opt for triangle tops or bandeaus.

Is it OK to wear a bikini top instead of a bra?

While some women may wear bikini tops as bras, they provide a different level of support and coverage than a proper bra. Bikini tops are made for swimming and sunbathing, not everyday wear, so they may not offer sufficient lift, structure, or coverage to function well as a bra.

Further reading

What is a sunsuit?

What to do for sun poisoning?

How long to tan in the sun?

How can I swim on my period?

UPF vs SPF: what is the difference?

What is the UV index?

What does SPF stand for?

What are the different types of swimwear tops?

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