If you're looking for versatile swimwear that's just as well-suited to a day at the beach as laps in the pool, you might be considering a one-piece swimsuit. Many people feel more comfortable in a one-piece than in bathing suits that show off more skin, plus they look relaxed and timeless.
Keep reading for more information about one-piece bathing suits, plus a trio of our recommended items of swimwear. Our top choice is the Reebok Contrast-Trim Zip-Front One-Piece Swimsuit, which is practical enough for serious swimmers but looks great too.
A classic one-piece swimsuit with a tank-style top and a bikini cut bottom is known as a maillot, though this term is rarely used. The maillot is the most common style of one-piece swimsuit, though others are available.
You can find styles with short-cut or skirt bottoms and styles with high necks and sleeves. Specific offerings are usually listed as women's one-piece swimsuits, but people of any gender can wear one-piece swimsuits if they want to. Some styles are more deliberately gender-neutral.
It's essential to get the sizing right when you buy a swimsuit to fit well. In most cases, you can simply select your usual dress size and get a good fit, but some swimming costumes can run large or small, so it's best to check the sizing chart before buying.
Unfortunately, many manufacturers only make their swimwear up to a size 18, which is frustrating for those who wear larger sizes. However, some companies offer more inclusive sizing, and there are plenty of great plus-size brands.
You can find one-piece swimsuits with a range of different necklines, so you should be able to find one you love. Some have reasonably conservative tank-style necklines, others have low scoop or plunge necks, and others sit above the collar bones.
It's nice when a swimsuit is available in a range of color choices, so you can pick the color or print you like most without sacrificing the style. A black one-piece swimsuit is a classic choice that will never go out of fashion, but some people prefer brighter colors or bold prints.
Swimsuits typically use a blend of nylon and Lycra or elastane. They must contain enough elastane to maintain their shape but not so much that they feel uncomfortably tight. An elastane or Lycra content of around 20% seems to be the sweet spot.
Essential one-piece swimsuits start at around $20, while designer bathing suits can cost $400 or more. You shouldn't need to spend more than $100 on a one-piece swimsuit that isn't from a designer brand.
A. Some people worry one-piece swimsuits appear unfashionable or dated. The fact is that many people prefer one-piece swimsuits and they can be extremely stylish. When choosing a swimsuit, we'd recommend buying something you like the look of and feel comfortable wearing, rather than worrying about what's in vogue. What’s fashionable is constantly changing, whereas a simple, classic one-piece swimsuit will never go out of style.
A. Some one-piece swimsuits are machine washable, but the majority are hand wash only. The heat from washing machines and harsh substances in some laundry detergents can cause bathing suits to fade and sag. Even those listed as safe for machine washing are better hand-washed. That said, if you're extremely pressed for time and want to wash your swimsuit in a washing machine, do so on the lowest temperature setting with a gentle detergent and air dry it.
Reebok Contrast-Trim Zip-Front One-Piece Swimsuit
What you need to know: Both practical and stylish, this option is for people who are serious about swimming but still want to look good.
What you’ll love: The contrasting rainbow trim adds a nice pop of color, and the front zipper makes it easier to get on and off and lets you adjust the neckline.
What you should consider: It comes with lightly padded cups that aren't removable.
Where to buy: Sold by Macy's
Women's Lands' End Tugless Sporty Chlorine Resistant One-Piece Swimsuit
What you need to know: This is great for buyers looking for a high-quality swimsuit that's affordably priced.
What you’ll love: It’s available in a wide range of colors, has a built-in shelf bra for chest support and UPF 50 sun protection.
What you should consider: It can fade over time.
Where to buy: Sold by Kohl's
Dolfin Color Block Aquatard Swimsuit
What you need to know: With short-style legs, this is a practical, contemporary swimsuit.
What you’ll love: It’s highly durable, stands up well to regular use without stretching or fading, is fully lined with a shelf bra for chest support and has a scoop back design.
What you should consider: Pay attention to chest size in the sizing chart, as some buyers find it too small on the chest and others too large.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.