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Bikini Buying Guide

Summer is a time filled with good vibes, great experiences, and a ton of opportunities for you to be wearing a swimsuit. It’s a time that should always be stress free- which can sometimes be hard when tasks like searching for and finding the right bikini can feel overwhelming. With so much information out there, so many types of bikinis to choose from, and what feels like a never ending list of unique characteristics to consider, it’s no wonder that you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of all the things you need to know about bikinis so that you can comfortably make a purchase knowing you’ve considered everything and are making the right choice for you.

What Is a Bikini?

The modern day bikini has been around longer than you might think, designed during the mid-1940’s, the daring two piece showed much more skin than previous swimwear options and offered a freeing and comfortable alternative to more conservative swimwear options. Since then the bikini has become a staple swimwear option that is not only popular, but also crazy cute.

The noticeable characteristic that makes a bikini different from other swimsuits is that it comes in two pieces that resemble a bra and underwear. This makes the bikini a great option to show off some skin, your body, and get a great tan! Bikinis are great because they come in a range of styles that allow them to be wearable by anyone and inclusive to silhouette and style preferences.

Bikini Top Styles

  • Halter

    The halter bikini top is a great option for movability and for those that don’t want to worry about straps falling off your shoulder or moving around. A halter bikini top traditionally features a triangle of fabric extending from the cup to tie behind the neck. Sometimes this style of top will have unique detailing like the chic cutouts on Miss Mandalay's Icon Halter Bikini Top, but the key defining characteristic of a larger triangle extending to tie behind the neck is still there.

  • Bandeau

    If you’re looking for a bikini top that won’t give you upper body tan lines and that shows off your collarbones and shoulders, the bandeau style bikini tops are a great choice. Bandeau bikinis are a form of strapless bikini tops that range in style and color options. They usually consist of a sweetheart like the Freya Jewel Cove Bandeau Bikini Top. This top style offers great coverage while still being the perfect option to catch a great tan.

  • Underwire

    The most supportive bikini option is one with underwire. Underwire adds support, lifts the chest, and holds everything in place. The great thing about underwire bikini tops is that they can look like virtually any style of top just with a bunch more support tailored to your specific bra size. So whether you’re looking for strapless, scrappy, halter, or bandeau, there is an underwire bikini option to support you no matter your cup size.

  • String

    Perhaps the most classic bikini style is the string bikini. Comprised of two triangles held together by a string along the undercuts band and the two triangles, these bikini tops are cute and effortless. While not as supportive as other bikini top options, you can never go wrong with a timeless string bikini option like the Bare Swim Triangle Halter Bikini Top as it has never and will never go out of style.

Bikini Bottom Styles

  • High-Waisted

    One of the most popular styles out there is the high waisted bikini bottom. Coming right at or right below the belly button, a higher waist acts as a bit of tummy control for the wearer. The higher waistline makes this bikini bottom one of the most comfortable, cute, and supportive bikini bottom options out on the market.

  • High Leg

    The high leg bikini bottom is back and it’s better than ever. This bikini style shows off your legs by sitting at the hip but not cutting off your thighs or hips with fabric. If you’re looking for something that flatters you by elongating your legs while still allowing ease of mobility and comfort, this is a great option.

  • String

    No list of bikinis is ever complete without including the string bikini. Cute, comfy, adjustable, and great for tan lines, the string bikini can come in both low and high waisted variants. They offer cheek coverage and are the most timeless choice when looking for your perfect bikini.

  • Shorts/Skort

    If you’re looking to be a bit more active or looking for a bit more coverage, swim shorts and skirts are a great choice. Swim skirts are made out of the same materials as a swimsuit and offer more than just coverage, they’re also cute and stylish to boot. The swim skirt is a great choice if you’re wanting to go with a slightly more functional and modest look that you’d be comfortable wearing outside the pool or beach.

Bikini Size Guide (How do I know my bikini size)

The greatest thing about bikinis is that they are made up of separate top and bottom pieces. This means that they’re easier to get on and off, they can be mixed and matched to showcase your personal style, and, most importantly, they can be different sizes. Having the flexibility to choose the optimal style to fit you along with the right size for your own personal measurements frees you to just enjoy how you feel in your bikini. For an in-depth guide in how to choose the right bikini size for you, take a look at our Swimsuit Size Guide.

Material Matters

Now that you know what types of bikinis you can choose from as well as how to choose the right size for you, there’s one more important consideration when choosing a bikini: the material it’s made out of. The material of your swimsuit helps to determine how long the swimwear will last and how long the colors will remain vibrant. Traditionally, the best fabric for your bikini is a blend of polyester and elastane (other names are Spandex and Lycra). Polyester is chlorine resistant and helps to maintain the color in the dyes of the swimsuit while elastane gives the swimsuit the stretch that helps a swimsuit form to your body and not fall off. Nylon is also another great option for swimwear.

If you’d like to support the environment and reduce your carbon footprint, you can also make a more sustainable choice by choosing swimwear made of recycled materials. Brands like Birdsong and Sunsets have some adorable bikini options that are also sustainable.

How to Choose a Bikini

Bikinis come in all shapes and sizes. In fact, there are so many styles that there is something out there for everyone. Whether you like to be very well supported, want to show off some skin, or only care about style, there is a bikini out there for you. Having options is great, but it can mean the process of choosing which bikini can be a little overwhelming. To prevent the bikini buying freeze you may be experiencing, here are two things to keep in mind while you’re looking to commit to your perfect summertime swimsuit.

But First, Function

  1. Choosing a bikini isn’t only about what looks the cutest (though that definitely plays a huge role). It’s just as important to be wearing something cute as it is to be wearing something that allows you to enjoy your summer the way you intended. Whether your plan is to lounge by the pool, go surfing, try out snorkeling, or attend a party and never even get into the water, knowing what you need from your bikini is super important. The right choice depends on how you want to utilize the swimsuit.

    If you’re looking to tan, options like a string bikini or a bandeau style bikini give everything you could need. If you’re going to be more active? Checking out bikinis like the Sunsets Marrakesh Taylor Underwire Bikini Top might serve your purposes better. And if you’re heading out to a party where the swimsuit is the main focal point of your outfit? Then you can choose whatever makes your heart happy.

  2. The Most Important Thing Is How You Feel (Comfort is Confidence)

    Choosing a bikini or swimsuit to purchase is more than purchasing any other piece of clothing. Swimwear is a very intimate clothing option. Swimwear is light, close to the skin, and usually much less fabric than the clothing you’d wear out and about. In many ways, swimwear is the closest thing to underwear that you will wear out in public. So taking the time to feel like your most confident, cutest, and most comfortable self is the key point to loving how you feel in the right bikini.

    Think about what makes you feel the most happy when you’re wearing clothes and intimate apparel and apply those concepts to your bikini. Do you like an underwire in your bra, or do you prefer the comfort of a bralette? Do you like high waisted, low waisted, or mid-rise jeans? Do strapless tops and dresses frustrate you because you’re constantly having to pull them up? Or do you prefer the way that having straps off your shoulders makes you feel?

    Taking a moment to think about what you really like to wear will help you sort through the latest bikini styles. You know your preferences more than anyone else and the key to shopping for a bikini is to ask yourself the same questions you would if you were purchasing a bra or a pair of jeans. All you really need to remember is that the only right choice when it comes to swimwear is the choice that makes you feel like your most confident and comfortable self.

Our Favorite Bikinis of 2023

Sunsets Black Muse Bikini

If you’re struggling to find a bikini that offers support for a larger chest, look no further. This bikini offers support to a range of cup sizes to keep you secure while you’re enjoying the summer sun all while being flattering and stylish to boot.

Birdsong Lilac Triangle Halter Bikini

Birdsong brings together everything you could ever want in a swimsuit with this string bikini. Offering a slew of bottom styles you can mix and match with depending on your need, this is an unbeatable swimsuit in terms of versatility and comfort. We wouldn’t be surprised if you wanted one in every color.

Pour Moi Space High Neck Bikini

You’ll be ready for the beach, pool, and anything in between with this bikini. Featuring a high neck and convertible cross back straps, this top offers coverage and support all while being cute and trendy.

Sunsets Black Bandeau Bikini

Make a splash with this convertible bandeau swim top. With reviews that rave about its flattering fit, sexy sophistication, and unbeatable support, this comfortable bikini is a must have this summer season.


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