Types of Bikini & Swimsuit Styles – Women Swimwear Glossary

Hi Summer lovers! Welcome to a new episode of “Your Daily Dose Of Summer Blog.”


In today’s post, I will be clarifying the differences between the most important swimwear types. This blog is for you if for example you want to know once and for all the difference between one-piece swimsuit and a monokini. Yes, I know it can be confusing. I have been working in the swimwear industry for more than 5 years and it took me a while to really get all those right.  What’s a rashguard? This is a question we often get. Rashguard !? What a strange word, it could be a character from the “Lord of the Rings” book. But no! It’s a kind of swimwear, who could guess. 


If you’ve landed on this page, it means you could be confused by all the different swimsuit styles out there. Well, no worries, I made for you a comprehensive list of all the kinds of bikinis and one piece you may encounter.


I hope this will be helpful and will allow you to easily choose your ideal beachwear for this summer. Let’s start!

#1 Bikini 

You probably know very well what the term BIKINI means. According to Wikipedia“A bikini is typically a women’s two-piece swimsuit featuring two triangles of fabric on top, similar to a bra and covering the woman’s breasts, and two triangles of fabric on the bottom, the front covering the pelvis but exposing the navel, and the back covering the buttocks.”


But let’s face it, that is a very basic description of what a bikini really is. In the present, the tops and bottoms can come in many different shapes and styles. I have been working for 15 years in the fashion industry, and I am always surprised to see all the different styles that designers can create in such a small amount of fabric. Every season we fall in love with new bikini designs, colours, print, details and shapes. 


We can now find bikinis ideal for surfing and sports, very trendy styles for a glamorous pool party, models ideal for sunbathing and can go from very cute to ultra-hot styles. 

***Click on the pictures to get the swimsuit styles***

👉🏻🖤Model is wearing IBIZA black bikini

👉🏻🌴Model is wearing BORNEO bikini.

#2 One-Piece

A one-piece is basically, a suit that covers your top and bottom in just one piece versus two pieces.


Even if the bikini has become a “bomb” of success, one-piece swimsuits will always remain a strong style not only for its practicality but also for its shaping properties, hiding what some of us don’t want to show around. Many feel more comfortable in a less skin baring, more supporting suit. 


One-piece swimsuits range in style and coverage, and lately more two-piece-like suits are becoming popular. We can find designs that can enhance each and every woman silhouette type, even during pregnancy. Designers make them fun and with colourful prints, from sober classic pieces to fun and trendy decors. They are flattering for all body types, and sometimes include, belly shaping designs, a built-in skirt and/or even bust support. 

👉🏻🍍Model is wearing BONIFACIO tropical print one-piece.

👉🏻⭐️Model is wearing CARTAGENA white one-piece.

#3 Monokini

Why not have the best of both worlds? Monokinis are a hybrid of one- and two pieces. They remain a one-piece suit, but generally have cool cutouts and show lots of skin. 


The monokini term causes a lot of confusion, not only because this can be a subcategory of one-piece suits, but also because in the past, it used to be really a MONO (single, only one) piece of a suit. Let me explain, in the ’60s some other “revolutionary” swimsuit styles came to the market as a protest against a repressive society. These suits uncovered completely the bust, leaving only the lower part of the body covered, showing the breasts. This is what we will call today being “topless” and it’s usually achieved by just removing the top of a bikini, not by purchasing a suit that’s already made to release the breast. Nowadays a monokini covers the bust but shows more skin than a one-piece. 


I hope this solves this huge confusion around monokinis. 


The truth is that social media influencers are making a lot of pictures wearing creative monokini suits, all as fun and cute as the others. This style is totally worth a try if you want to show more than a one-piece but not as much as a bikini. It has even become a trend in some parts of the world to show a crazy tan pattern, showing you have very stylish swimwear. 

👉🏻💘Model is wearing MALAGA white cut outs monokini.

👉🏻💙Model is wearing CORSICA blue monokini

#4 Trikini

This is a hard one to explain… I had to read Wikipedia, and after it I was even more confused. Here is what they say:

“Trikini (plural trikinis) A swimsuit comprising three separate pieces of fabric, typically bottoms and one for each breast.”

They also say this:

“The trikini appeared briefly in 1967 … It reappeared a few years ago as a bikini bottom with a stringed halter of two triangular pieces of cloth covering the breasts. The trikini top comes essentially in two separate parts.”


So basically it’s a swimsuit composed of three different components, one bottom and two top pieces, one to cover each breast. Wikipedia shows this picture of probably sticky silicone breast pads that look like a bikini on the outside. Really bad picture by the way, sorry but it was the only one I found who corresponds to their description. 

*Trikini – Picture from Wikipedia


Since I wasn’t satisfied with this research, and the trikini term seems to me often used, and I have never seen a swimsuit that actually looks like the one in the picture above, I decided to search further. 

Amazon was my first place to look at and later other swimsuit vendors in Australia and around the globe. When you type “Trikini” in their search bars, they actually show you all kinds of monokini styles. I believe this term has been confused a lot with the monokini for their innovative shapes and designs. Since the original trikini was never a real hit, we seem to be generally confused. 


Overall this is the most frequent type of modern “trikini-monokini” that is sold around the internet:

👉🏻💛Model is wearing ISLA MUJERES white trikini.

 👉🏻💎Model is wearing CALVI black and white trikini.

#5 Sport Suit or Competitive Swimwear

If you practise any swimming competitive sport, this is the kind of suit you are looking for. No frills, no muss, no decors, just the ability to stay in place and be aerodynamic.


Unlike the previously listed swimsuit types, designed to look good, this one is designed to be worn during competitions and performance is the central characteristic. These products are manufactured to assist the athlete in their swim competitions reducing friction and drag in the water and facilitating movement. Usually used in aquatic sports of swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, triathlon and water polo, among others. 

#6 Tankini

This is an easy one, it combines a bikini bottom with a tank top made of swimsuit fabric. This type of suit is designed for comfort and to hide the belly zone. Really popular among women that don’t really want to show a lot of skin and want to move freely in or outside the water. The top is usually supported by spaghetti-like strings.


Tankini designs have evolved over the years, from really casual and boring to newer patterns and prints that enhance women’s silhouettes and make them feel confident and comfortable by the beach or pool.

If you are looking for comfort and practicality, this is a good product for you.

#7 Wetsuits

Time to surf!

Wetsuits are well known to be surfers’ outfits. Often used by scuba divers, snorkellers, wake boarders, water skiers, and other extreme water sports.  


Style changes from long to short sleeves and pants, depending on how cold the water is. Covering more skin to maintain a higher body temperature. 


These suits are comfortable to wear but heavier than a swimsuit, sometimes hard to put in or to remove when wet. Usually made with neoprene material or similar variants. They protect the skin from impacts and from friction of oxygen tanks, for example. 


This makes me want to make a good scuba diving trip!

#8 Rashguards or Rash Guards

These are long sleeve swimsuit tops with regular or high coverage bikini-style bottoms or shorts. Often worn in warm weather temperatures.


As their name clearly indicates, these suits were created to protect the wearer from rashes, scratches, sunburns, etc. As wetsuits, rashguards are most commonly used by surfers, scuba divers, snorkellers, wake boarders, water skiers, and other extreme water sports. Popular among boating sports like kayaking, canoeing,  kite surfing, windsurfing and many more. These sports usually involve extended exposure to the sun. Rash guards, also known as rash vests or “rashies, have long sleeves and high necks, ensuring a good UV protection. 


Made of swimsuit material, these are comfortable and easier to wear than wetsuits, often used under them. They are perfect for a trip to Bali or Austalia.

👉🏻🏄🏼‍♀️Model is wearing ZICATELA multicolor rashguard.



These were the most popular swimsuit categories. Two other honorable mentions and variations are skirtkini and burkini.

Burkini or burqini:  is a type of modesty swimsuit for women. The suit covers the whole body except the face, the hands and the feet, while being light enough for swimming.


Skirtkini or Skirtini: This can combine a bikini or tankini top with a cute skirted bottom.

👉🏻🔝Model is wearing MONTEVIDEO black skirted one piece

I hope this blog was instructive and clarifies some confusion among the swimwear types and differences. 


Stay tuned because in my next blog I will tell you the fun story of why bikinis are called bikinis and how these became so popular. 


Enjoy your day and navigate in RivieraCoco.com for “Your Daily Dose Of Summer.”

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