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Available in a wide range of colors and patterns. Includes adjustable bra padding and removable shoulder straps. Stretchy, comfortable fit. Quality stitching. High waist provides quality coverage. Adorable cutouts on the bottoms. Top can be worn on or off the shoulders.
Difficult to keep top off the shoulders when wet.
Colors are bright and vibrant. Removable straps are easy to secure. Top padding is removable. Surprisingly low price point. Made from stretchy, comfortable material. High waist, high cut bottoms elongate your legs.
Top runs quite large compared to bottoms.
Available in a wide range of vibrant patterns and colors. Adjustable neck and back ties for the best fit. Padded top. Ruched bottoms conceal stomach area. Accurate sizing. Made from a quality nylon-spandex blend. Holds up well in water.
Ruffled top floats up in the water.
Top padding is removable. Bikini sits at a low price point and fits true to size. Available in a range of patterns and solid colors. Holds up well when hand washed. Made from thick material that isn’t see-through.
Some think the bottoms do not provide enough coverage.
Simple bikini is elevated with bottom and back strappy details. Removable top padding. Available in a wide selection of solid colors and patterns. Colors are vibrant and hold up well in the water. Provides adequate coverage.
Some complaints of bottoms being too loose in the front.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
If you’re heading to a lake, pool, or beach, you might be in the market for a new bikini. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of bikinis available, and finding the right one involves a little bit of research and perhaps a few fittings.
The string bikini is a classic style that has been around for decades, and several new variations have recently hit the market. There are also tankinis and monokinis, as well as bikinis with ruffled tops or skirt bottoms. The new styles aren’t the only additions to the bikini market either. With advances in textile and design engineering in the last several years, many bikinis now offer a better fit, UV protection, or adjustable details. More recently, many brands have expanded their size collections to include petite, plus-size, and maternity bikinis.
Many people find it’s helpful to compare bikini styles first. Bikinis vary considerably when it comes to silhouettes, coverage, and fit.
String bikinis, as the name implies, have strings that thread through triangles of fabric and tie around the back, neck, and hips. They have an adjustable fit but offer less coverage than most bikini styles.
Tankinis have a tank top that offers more belly coverage than other bikinis. The tops are paired with a wide variety of bottoms, including string, skirt, and short styles.
Bra-top bikinis have tops that resemble bras, many of which have padding, underwires, and hook-and-eye closures. These styles offer more support than most bikinis.
Skirtini styles have a bottom that is essentially a skort, which may have a high- or low-cut waistline.
Boy-short bikinis have a shorts-inspired bottom that fully covers the derrière, and some of them extend to cover a couple of inches of the upper thighs.
Bandeau bikinis (bandeaukinis) are bikinis with a bandeau top that wraps around the bust. Many of these styles come with removable straps as well.
Monokinis resemble traditional bikinis but with a strip (or two) of fabric that connects the top to the bottom. In some styles, the strip runs down the front of the belly; in others, it connects the top and bottom pieces on the sides.
There are several fashion-forward variations of bikinis available as well, including multi-string bikinis, microkinis, and sling bikinis. While they remain popular among some wearers, because the styles are somewhat less traditional, they might be more challenging to find outside of boutique bikini retailers.
Generally speaking, there are three ways designers size bikinis. Progressive sizing (small, medium, and large) is the most common, particularly for affordable bikinis. Some bikinis have traditional number sizes that follow dress and pant sizing. Certain bikinis, namely more expensive styles, follow bra sizing.
It’s fairly well known that there are size discrepancies among bikinis. For example, one brand’s medium might be another brand’s large. As a result, many wearers try on several styles and sizes before finding the ideal fit.
While many bikinis are sold as sets (top and bottom), certain brands sell the pieces separately. It’s an appealing option for people who wear different sizes on the top and bottom. Some wearers like to mix and match tops and bottoms so they can wear more than one bikini look. However, it might be more difficult to find coordinating tops and bottoms in stores, especially in popular sizes and designs.
Bikinis are made of lightweight, quick-drying materials like polyester and nylon. While they look and feel the same, these materials have slightly different properties. Here’s how they compare:
Polyester is durable and holds up well to repeated washing and wearing. It’s also chlorine and UV resistant, which means it’s less prone to fading than nylon. However, polyester quality can be hit-or-miss.
Nylon is water-resistant and dries quickly, and it is notably softer and smoother than polyester. It’s also highly flexible and offers a secure, body-hugging fit. Unfortunately, nylon fades when exposed to UV rays and chlorine.
Spandex in the form of Lycra or other brand name is sometimes blended with polyester and nylon in bikinis. This stretchy material gives the bikinis a flexible fit that clings to the body while allowing the wearer to move uninhibited. Additionally, the stretchy materials give bikinis a “bounce-back” quality, which means they go back to their original shape instead of warping, stretching, or shrinking.
Several bikinis are designed with adjustable details so the wearer can find the ideal fit. String styles, for example, can be tied as tightly or loosely as the wearer prefers. Bikini tops with thick back straps may have hook-and-eye closures that offer between two and five adjustment options. Some bikini shoulder straps have slide buckles for easy adjustment that are similar to those seen on bras.
Some newer bikinis have built-in sun protection, with materials engineered to block out UVA and UVB rays. These bikinis are marked with a UPF rating, such as “UPF 50,” which indicates that the material blocks out 98% of UVA and UVB rays. As a result, these bikinis may reduce the likelihood of sunburns or UV-related skin damage.
Some bikini tops have molded cups that provide significantly more support and coverage than soft bikini tops. Many of these styles, called bra cup tops, borrow popular design elements from bras, including underwires, contour padding, and thicker linings. Bra cup tops typically have adjustable straps and closures to give wearers a better, more secure fit.
Bikinis are available in solid colors as well as a broad range of prints and patterns. Some wearers are partial to simple solid colors, namely darker tones that are less revealing than lighter colors when they’re wet. Others prefer bold designs like geometric patterns, color splashes, or animal prints. It’s also common to pair a bottom in a solid color with a patterned top, and vice versa.
Instead of folding swimwear, seasoned travelers recommend rolling it up to optimize luggage space.
Inexpensive: Affordable bikinis, including a decent variety of solid and print designs, cost $20 to $40. The quality is hit-or-miss with these styles and, generally speaking, they rarely last more than a couple of seasons of regular wear.
Mid-range: These bikinis range from $50 to $100 and mostly include quality styles made by well-known designers. They’re made with better-quality polyester and nylon blends, and they’re more likely to last through several seasons of use.
Expensive: Designer bikinis, either sets or individual pieces, cost $125 and more. While they’re at the top of the price range, their fit and quality outperform lower-priced options. These bikinis often have ornate embellishments as well, such as chains, jewels, or rhinestones.
A. There are benefits and drawbacks to each. Bikinis are ideal if you’re trying to minimize tan lines and when it’s too warm to wear a one-piece swimsuit. However, they are prone to shifting around the body when you move. One-piece swimsuits, on the other hand, stay put and don’t require frequent adjustments, and certain styles offer a supportive bra top. Unfortunately, many wearers report that it’s challenging to find a well-fitting one-piece swimsuit.
A. As with all garments, bikinis should be washed according to the instructions on the tag. Because they’re made with synthetic materials, it’s often recommended that you hand-wash them using a gentle, bleach-free detergent without fabric softeners. Bikinis should only be air-dried because dryer heat can cause synthetic fibers to deteriorate and warp.
A. Many wearers find success using double knots, while others get creative and use nautical knots. These knots are designed to stay tied, and some of them may slide up for an adjustable fit. However, if they’re not tied properly, they can be challenging to undo.
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