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Article: Types of swimsuit tops

Types of swimsuit tops

Types of swimsuit tops

Swimsuit tops for women come in different styles and offer different levels of coverage, support, fashion, and comfort. Things like body type, personal style, and activity level play a part in choosing the right swimsuit for your needs.

We will highlight different types of swimsuit tops and help you decide on the perfect choice!

Quick links:

Tankini tops

Halter tops

One-shoulder tops

Scoop bikini tops

Tie bikini tops

Wrap tops

How to choose?

We offer a wide selection of stylish and supportive swimsuits to flatter and fit all body types. Our collection of UPF 50+ swimwear is perfect for protection on hot summer days when you want to enjoy time outdoors worry-free. 

Tankini tops

A tankini is a two-piece swimsuit that combines a tank top with bikini bottoms. Unlike a traditional triangular bikini top that offers more revealing coverage, a tankini top provides more fabric to cover the breasts and midriff. The tank-shape also provides extra coverage over the stomach and hips compared to a standard bikini bottom.

Tankinis bridge the gap between a one-piece swimsuit and a revealing string bikini. They allow women to customize their level of coverage, mixing the freedom and styling of a bikini top with the comfort and confidence of a tank top fit.

Some key benefits of tankini tops include:

  • Great support. Tankini tops tend to offer more structure and support than flimsier triangle or bandeau bikini tops. Underwire, padded, and halter tankini tops provide lift and coverage for bustier figures.
  • Customizable coverage. Wearers can select the amount of coverage both on top and bottom that makes them feel comfortable. Mix and match to flatter different areas.
  • Good for athletics. Whether swimming laps or playing beach volleyball, a tankini set provides both security and mobility.

While they do offer additional coverage and support, tankinis also come with a few considerations:

  1. The top can ride up. Tankini tops sometimes inch upward as you move around, exposing more skin. Trying on different fits and opting for longer tops can help minimize riding up. Tops with banded hemlines also help keep the tankini base securely in place.
  2. They are less fashionable than traditional bikinis. For those who want to showcase pure bikini style, tankinis have a sportier, more modest aesthetic. Bikinis tend to offer more variety in trendy prints, sultry textures, and skimpy cuts. However, tankinis do come in an increasingly wide selection of colors and patterns. 

Take a look at this Neon pink tankini top! The vivid neon pink is one of the best swimsuit colors for safety… and it’s just too cute!


Mom, dad and kids wearing different swimsuit tops


Halter tops

Halter tops  feature fabric that wraps around the neck and crosses behind the back in a fixed, built-in criss-cross style. With ties stitched securely into the fabric backing, our halter bikini tops provide a supportive frame without adjustability in the shoulder straps.

Our fixed-tie halter bikini tops provide a secure, supportive fit reminiscent of a sports bra thanks to the cross-back fabric design, yet allow for a chic, stylish look perfect for the beach or pool.

The shoulder coverage and neck and back tie closures of halter bikinis result in a few key benefits:

  • Supportive. Halter top ties create more stability and support than standard bikinis, distributing weight and tension away from the neck for comfort.
  • Stylish and flattering for many body types. Halter tops come in sizes from slim-cut bandeau tops to underwired halters that provide lift. On-trend prints and colors make them a fashionable choice. Wrapping the fabric to cinch right below the bust also results in a waist-enhancing effect.

Halter bikini tops allow for adjustable coverage and a great fit for small-to-larger busts. Paired with everything from high-waist bottoms to boyshorts, halter bikini sets provide support and style season after season.

Halter bikini tops come with a couple of considerations:

  1. Tan lines. The wraparound fabric and ties of halter tops lead to tan lines across the back, on the sides of the torso, and on the back of the neck. Those aiming for an all-over tan may want to opt for different bikini top silhouettes.
  2. Limited adjustability. With built-in halter ties that don't come undone, our halter bikini tops offer less flexibility for loosening or tightening the fit as needed. The set sizing and fixed ties mean the tops won't come loose, but won't allow cinching or adjusting either.

You’ll love this Palm Leaf halter top! The fun pattern features shades of green set on a white background. It is comfy like a sports bra and is perfect for playing and running around with kids, grabbing lunch, or just lounging with a good book.

Woman wearing halter bikini top by Swim Zip

One-shoulder tops

One-shoulder bikini tops offer a sultry take on traditional triangle tops with an asymmetrical shoulder design. One shoulder is covered by the bikini top, while the other remains exposed for a peekaboo effect.

One-shoulder bikini tops offer several perks:

  • Creates flattering curves. Diagonally covering one shoulder draws the eyes in, enhancing the collarbone and sinuous shape of waist to hip.
  • Allows great freedom of movement. With one shoulder free, one-shoulder tops move seamlessly with the body.
  • Versatility. If you love one-shoulder tops, our collection lets you choose between cropped and long pieces. The cropped tops work well for tanning and offer some style over classic bikinis.

While fashionable and eye-catching, one-shoulder tops come with a couple of caveats:

  1. Usually offers less support. With just one shoulder covered, the structural support for larger busts can be inadequate compared to fuller-coverage halters and underwired tops. These bikinis work best for A and B cups looking for a flattering effect with minimal coverage.
  2. May need adjusting. Between dips in the water and beach sports, the rib strap or shoulder cover can slide out of place over time. Securing straps snugly helps, but adjustments are often needed every so often to keep the suit in place.

This Peachy Stripes one-shoulder top is perfect for all shapes and body types! It features adjustable straps that you can take off for a customizable fit and an all-over, even tan.

Woman wearing one shoulder bikini top by Swim Zip

Scoop bikini tops

Our scoop bikini tops stand out with their elegant squared-off neckline that sits close to the décolletage for a clean, striking look. Convertible straps allow you to wear them straight or across the back for added support. The minimalist aesthetic makes these tops both graceful and versatile. 

Here are the benefits of scoop bikini tops:

  • Clean, sophisticated silhouette. The squared-off scoop neckline has a very sleek and minimal shape that is both fashionable and modern.
  • Adjustable convertible straps. Wear the straps normally over the shoulders or crossed across the lower back for customization. Allows for flexibility in support and tan lines.
  • Fits comfortably for many body types. These bikini tops were designed to be figure-flattering over a range of bust sizes while remaining a lightweight top that moves with you.

Scoop bikini tops come with a couple of considerations:

  1. The minimalist design offers less support than tops with underwire or fuller coverage. Those with larger bust sizes may prefer a more supportive style.
  2. Less fabric means less sun protection over the chest compared to sportier tops with extra coverage. Those concerned about sun exposure may want a tankini or one-piece suit.

For example, this Deep dive scoop bikini top features amoeba-like swirls and shapes that nod to underwater adventures. With a minimal, clean squared-off neckline and convertible, adjustable straps this cute bikini top is going to move to your favorites list real fast!  

Woman wearing scoop neck bikini top by Swim Zip

Tie bikini tops

Our tie bikini tops feature a cute keyhole front tie, adjustable straps, and removable cups. This fully adjustable design allows you to customize these tops for comfort, lift, coverage, and stylish sultriness.

Tie tops offer several advantages:

  • Fully adjustable fit. Tie tops allow you to cinch the neck and back bindings to your perfect tightness. This adaptability means you can tweak the top’s lift and support as needed.
  • Versatile styling. Mix and match tie tops with everything from tie-side bottoms to high-waisted designs. 
  • Endless outfit combinations. Tie tops make it easy to create fresh bikini looks.
Keep these tie bikini top considerations in mind:
  1. The adjustable ties can come undone and may need to be adjusted frequently.
  2. The front keyhole cutout may show more cleavage than desired.

Look at this stylish Floral Garden top design. You’re sure to be feeling fresh and looking cute in this fun print! This pairs perfectly with our matching side-tie bikini bottoms or our high-waist bikini bottoms. 

Woman wearing tie bikini top floral garden

Wrap tops

Our wrap tops feature long sleeves and fabric that wraps around the neck or crosses around the back. This fully adjustable design allows you to customize coverage that can be worn on top of one shoulder or halter tops.

Wrap tops offer several advantages:

  • Fully adjustable fit. The wrapped fabric allows you to tie across the back to cinch for your perfect tightness and lift.
  • More coverage. Long sleeve design offers better coverage and protection from UV rays.
  • Versatile styling. Combine your wrap top with different types of bikini tops.
  • No chafe seams. The wrapped fabrication means fewer seams that can cause irritation.

Wrap tops come with some considerations:

  1. May need to be adjusted frequently to keep everything in place.
  2. Some may prefer more coverage and support.

Pair this Mint wrap design with a cute swim top or throw it on over a tee or tank for easy and stylish sun protection on your arms, anywhere you go. It can look adorable paired with jeans too! 


Woman wearing long sleeve swim top by Swim Zip


How to choose the right swimsuit top?

When you are picking up the perfect swimsuit top, think about the following factors:

  • Coverage. Select tops with more or less fabric depending on desired chest coverage and cleavage. 
  • Support. Evaluate the needed structure and lift based on bust size. Underwire bikini tops or tops with wider straps, molded cups, or cinch ties give better support to larger and medium busts.
  • Comfort. Assess tops for non-irritating seam placements or removable padding for all-day wear ease while being active or lounging.
  • Style. Choose on-trend tops with cuts and patterns that flatter your figure and let your personality shine through.
  • Activity. Pick tops that move with you and stay securely in place whether swimming laps or chasing kids on the beach.

Why do some women prefer tops over one-piece suits?

While classic one-piece swimsuits offer full coverage, many women opt for more stylish and sexy bikini tops paired with bottoms. Some of the main reasons include:

  • More revealing and daring styling. Triangle bikini and bandeau bikini tops allow women to show more skin and cleavage if desired. One-piece suits tend to offer more coverage through the torso.
  • Increased versatility and mix-and-match potential. With separates like skimpy bikini tops and swim shorts, women can achieve perfect fits by sizing the top and bottom pieces individually.
  • Enhanced fashion and femininity. The best swimwear tops for women lean into trends with plunge necklines, push-up bra styling, and flattering cuts. One-piece suits often have a more juvenile or sporty aesthetic.
  • Better suited for athletic activity. Whether you’re playing beach volleyball or swimming laps, adjustable bikini tops with secure ties stay in place and move with the body better than typical one-piece suits.

Why SwimZip?

Here at SwimZip, our collection of women’s swimsuit tops offers something for everyone—from secure halter tops to adjustable tie designs and fashionable one-shoulder silhouettes. With features like removable pads and convertible straps, you can customize both fit and coverage.

Our stylish, functional swim tops provide complete sun protection with UPF 50+ quick-dry, chlorine-resistant fabric to block 98% of harmful UV rays during beach days and pool parties.

Check out some of our other collections:

Swimsuit tops FAQ

What is the difference between swimsuit and swimwear?

The main difference between a swimsuit and swimwear refers to what part of the body they cover. A swimsuit traditionally refers to a one-piece garment that covers the torso, crotch and has straps over the shoulders. Swimwear serves as a broader term that can refer to both standard one-piece swimsuits as well as two-piece bikinis or tankinis.

What are the different types of monokinis?

There are a few common styles of monokini swimwear, including those with side cut-outs to show torso skin, deep plunging necklines almost to the navel, and more coverage overall but with totally sheer mesh panels on the sides or down the front. Thong monokinis covers only the front leaving full back exposure. There are also athletic monokini styles made for swim training.

Can you wear a swimsuit top as a bra?

While some may opt to wear swimsuits or bikini tops as bras, they do not usually offer enough support or coverage to properly function as bras. The lightweight padding and athletic nature of swimsuit tops aren't engineered to provide sufficient lift or structure for everyday wear. For example, wearing a bandeau-style swimsuit top as a bra typically leads to limited support and unwanted nipple exposure.

What is the point of a swimsuit cover-up?

A swimsuit cover-up serves both practical and aesthetic purposes. It provides modesty when transitioning to and from the pool or beach, protects from the sun, and adds a stylish touch to your swimwear ensemble.

Why do some women prefer tankinis?

Some women opt for tankini swimwear offering a bit more midriff coverage because it makes them feel more confident and comfortable than a standard skimpy bikini. Tankinis allow for customizable coverage—pairing a more supportive tank-style swimsuit top with various bottoms. Tankini tops also often provide structure for larger busts. Some moms also prefer tankinis for an athletic swimsuit option that stays in place while playing with kids, or as a perfect cover-up for the postpartum body. 

Is a typical bikini a good swimwear option for large busts?

For women with a large bust, a typical triangle bikini swimsuit with basic spaghetti straps rarely provides enough support or coverage. Better tops for big busts include underwired styles, halter tops with neckties, tops with wide supportive bands under the bust, and tops with cinch ties for adjustable lift. Removable bra pads also allow further customization.

Is it a trend to wear a bathing suit upside down?

Wearing a bathing suit upside down has become a trend among some individuals seeking unique styles. This unconventional approach can create different looks but may affect the fit and support of the swimsuit.

Can elastic bands help with my large-sized swim top?

Elastic bands under the bust or thick halter neck ties on swim tops provide extra support and stability for larger busts. The elastic helps lift the breasts to ease the strain on the shoulders while also improving the structure and hold. Cinching adjustable ties ensures the top part of halter bikini tops or other tie styles stays firmly in place during activity.

Which type of swimsuit top offers the most tummy control?

Swimsuit tops that offer the most slimming effect and tummy control are underwired tops and tops with bands of fabric right under the bust to cinch and gather at the narrowest part of the torso. This helps define the waist and smooth bulges for a slimming effect while also improving posture. Tankini tops, especially when color-blocked, can also slenderize the midsection.

Is classic style better than bandeau style swimsuit tops?

While bandeau tops serve as fashionable strapless options, classic style tops with a halter, one-shoulder or adjustable tie straps tend to offer more support and coverage. The minimalist design of straight-cut bandeaus rarely accommodates larger-busted figures. Standard bikini tops also stay more securely in place, while strapless bandeaus often lead to unwanted shifting, slipping, or nip slips.

What color swimsuit best suits larger women?

Solid, dark colors in rich jewel tones or deep shades such as black, navy, or purple work extremely well for curvier figures. Dark hues minimize bulges and also better hide lumps bumps and flaws compared to lighter colors. These shades help define curves in a slimming way. Darker colors on the swim bottom paired with solid black on top also elongate the torso for a slimming effect.

Helpful information

What is a sunsuit?

What to do for sun poisoning?

How long to tan in the sun?

How to swim on your period?

UPF vs SPF: what is the difference?

What is the UV index?

What does SPF stand for?

What SPF should I use?

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