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Updated June 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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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.

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Buying guide for Best women’s swimsuits

The best women’s swimsuits will have you feeling confident, secure, and ready to dive in the water or simply lay out in the sun. Even if you don’t live in a warm climate year-round, once summer arrives, the last thing you want is to be caught without a swimsuit you love. Before committing to the swimsuit of your dreams, there are a few factors to keep top of mind.

Coverage is important. Whether you’d prefer a more modest design or don’t mind showing more skin, a women’s swimsuit that flatters is the best kind of suit. You’ll also want to consider bust support, overall style, color, and material. Overall quality and durability matter as well. A quality swimsuit should hold up for a few years, not just a few washes. 

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It’s recommended to wash swimsuits on the cold/delicate cycle and hang dry them. You can also wash swimsuits by hand. In fact, they’ll probably last longer that way.

How to buy the best women’s swimsuit

Necessity

Even if you don’t live in a temperate — or tropical — environment, you never know when the opportunity for a beach getaway (or temporarily warm weather) may present itself. Swimsuits can be tricky to shop for. Thankfully, in this day and age, there’s a swimsuit for everyone. You don’t have to reveal your bust or buttocks to be ready for a swim, but you can certainly do so if you want to.

Design

One-piece swimsuits are a classic style that flatters any shape. Even within the one-piece, there’s quite a bit of diversity. Some one-pieces reveal your entire back and provide full chest coverage. Then there’s the modern monokini, which is essentially a two-piece bikini with a thin piece of fabric connecting the two.

A newer design is the tankini, which consists of a bikini bottom and a tank top-style top. This style covers the entire midriff, which is a fine choice for women who prefer a more modest style or women who want to play water sports securely.

Coverage

Many swimsuits are revealing, to a certain extent. Depending on the style, parts of your chest, belly, back, buttocks, and legs may be exposed. You may decide on the coverage you’d like based on your body. Those with bigger busts may opt for a modest one-piece or a tank bikini top. As the name suggests, tank bikini tops mimic tank tops: part of the midriff is exposed, but much of the chest area is covered. Conversely, triangle bikini tops offer the smallest amount of chest coverage and often minimal bust support.

For swimsuit bottoms, women who prefer more coverage should look for high-waisted styles. These provide pretty decent coverage of the pubic area and much of the buttocks. Brief styles can provide ample coverage too, though it depends on the cut. Hi-cut bikini bottoms draw attention to your crotch and cheeky bikini bottoms reveal a lot of backside. Either style makes a great statement. 

Bust support

Women with large busts face an extra challenge when it comes to finding a swimsuit because they can be notoriously skimpy. Those with larger busts should look for swimsuit tops with more supportive structures, such as high apex cups and underwire. Tank top and halter top swimsuits can also add an extra boost. Don’t think you’re just limited to two-piece suits, either. A number of tankinis and one-piece swimsuits are made with larger busts in mind. 

Material 

Swimsuits are typically made from polyester or nylon material. Natural fabrics absorb water and dry quickly, which can weigh down any swimmer and leave you uncomfortable coming out of the water. Polyester is hydrophobic, meaning that it repels water. Polyester is also somewhat stretchy, especially when elastane is included. 

Nylon is also hydrophobic and dries quickly. It’s more elastic than polyester, however, and generally repels water better. Women who plan to swim at the beach in their swimsuits may opt for a nylon blend. Polyester is more durable and resistant to other elements, such as sunlight and chlorine. If you plan to swim in a pool, a polyester blend is a better bet. 

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Staff Tip
To maintain quality, you should rinse your swimsuit with cold water after each wear.
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Women’s swimsuit features 

Style

Whether you prefer a classic silhouette or something more playful, there’s a style out there for every swimsuit wearer. A retro 1950s-style swimsuit can consist of a high-waisted brief and a balconette-style top, or it can be a halter-style one-piece. Polka dots and gingham are common patterns for the time.

70s-style swimsuits can consist of a bikini set that’s macrame-inspired or a simple, crewneck one-piece with bold vertical stripes.  

80s-style swimsuits are neon bright with high-cut bottoms. Many had zany prints with zigzags and animal patterns. The ‘90s reigned supreme with sporty bikinis and one-pieces, a la Baywatch.

If you’re a fan of the retro look, a great deal of today’s women’s swimsuits borrow from past styles. A truly stylish swimsuit never goes out of style, no matter what era inspired its look. 

Color

A black or white women’s swimsuit always looks great, or you can mix it up with earthy neutrals in rust, moss green, or mustard. As a rule of thumb, pay attention to colors that complement your skin tone. Bright colors like pastels pop pleasantly on dark skin. Darker, more saturated colors complement pale skin nicely. Consider whether you have cool or warm undertones. Cool undertones look best with shades that have a tinge of blue or silver. Warm undertones look best with orange, gold-tinged hues. 

Water sports

Some of us like to lounge poolside and dip our toes in the water every so often, while others would rather be more active. If the pool or the beach is where you get your workout in, you’ll want to buy a swimsuit especially made for water athletics. A quality athletic swimsuit should have secure coverage and bust support. A modest bikini or a one-piece is ideal for water sports. You can opt for a long-sleeve one-piece if you’d like extra UV protection

A number also includes UV protection in the fabric. Depending on the kind of water you swim in, either nylon or polyester should hold up sufficiently.

When in doubt, consider a black swimsuit. It’s classic and looks flattering on any complexion.

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How much do women’s swimsuits cost?

Inexpensive: Fortunately, you won’t break the bank to find a nice-looking women’s swimsuit. Women’s swimsuits can cost as little as $15. The $10 to $25 range can offer a wide variety of one-pieces and swimsuits. You’ll likely find more one-pieces in this range, as they tend to cost less.

Mid-range: The $25 to $50 range is the sweet spot for swimsuit shopping. You’ll have all the options in the inexpensive range, plus additional choices in bust support, and you'll find newer styles, such as tankinis and monokinis. Athletic swimsuits tend to fall within this range as well. 

Expensive: If you have over $50 to spend, your options are nearly limitless. You can opt for cute vintage styles, styles with ample bust support, and trendier luxury brands. Note the most expensive women’s swimsuit isn’t necessarily the best swimsuit. Regardless of price, you should research any swimsuit carefully to make sure you end up with one that lasts. 

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Staff Tip
A simple triangle bikini top is quite versatile. Experiment with tying the straps in different ways: halter, crossbody, or bandeau.
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Tips

  • Consider UV protection. One benefit of modest women’s swimsuit styles is the additional protection from the sun. If you’re going with a more revealing style, be sure to apply SPF accordingly. 
  • Look for your body type. If you’re shopping for swimsuits online, search for retailers who use models that share your body shape. This way, you’ll have a better idea of how it’ll fit before trying anything on.
  • Pay attention to sizing. Different retailers have different sizing charts. Check the sizing chart on a retailer’s website closely. 

 

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Swimsuits can play double-duty — a stylish one-piece can easily serve as a leotard. 

FAQ

Q. Are women’s swimsuits returnable?

A. This depends on the retailer. Some have a strict no-return policy on all intimates, while others require that certain tags remain attached upon returning an item.

Q. Can I re-wear a women’s swimsuit without washing it?

A. It isn’t recommended. Swimsuits are like underwear in that they hug your intimate areas. Proper swimsuit hygiene is important in order to avoid bacterial infections. You should at least rinse your swimsuit after every wear. Wash it if you’ve spent time in chlorinated water or saltwater.

Q. Can women’s swimsuits be tailored?

A. With care, yes. It likely won’t be cheap, but it’s best to have a professional do it rather than attempting it yourself. 

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