The Tropical Girl’s Guide to Swimwear Styles

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Photo by Muhammadh Saamy | Unsplash
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One of the best things about life in the tropics is definitely the beach. You’re either living right by the sea or just a short drive away from it (at least that’s the case where I am). And because we only have wet and dry seasons here and the temperatures don’t change much throughout the year, we can hit the beach anytime, rain or shine. Many prefer shine, of course, but the monsoon season is a popular time among surfers.

Even if there’s no beach close by, you’re sure to find a pool, lake, or river somewhere that you can take a dip. In any case, cooling off in a body of water is a must in these scorching temperatures, especially during the hottest months.

Fashion-wise, that means there’s one item of clothing that should be in every tropical girl’s wardrobe: the swimsuit. And if you’re the type who goes to the beach often and stays there for days at a time, then maybe it’s a good idea to pack more than one for your trip/s.

Ready to turn the seashore into your own personal catwalk? Here are some swimsuit style options for you.

One-Piece

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Photo by Mohamed Nashah | Unsplash

The one-piece is a very common type of swimwear – long before the two-piece or bikini hit the beach scene, this was already the go-to swimsuit of women (and even men at one point in history). Also called maillot in retail websites and by fashion designers, the one-piece swimsuit is an ideal choice if you don’t want to show too much skin (since it covers the entire torso), although you’ll also find skimpier versions that feature plunging necklines, high-cut legs, and open backs.

String Bikini

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Photo by Christopher Campbell | Unsplash

If maillots are the go-to swimwear of our mothers’ generation, bikinis are the more popular choice among the younger set. Ever since French actress and sex symbol Brigitte Bardot helped make it famous in the 1950s, the bikini has only gotten more fashionable – and sexier. They come in many styles but one of the most common is the string bikini, which is composed of a triangle bra top and bottom held together with thin straps. If you’re looking to show off an eye-popping amount of skin, this is the swimsuit for you. 

Bandeau Bikini

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Photo by Apostolos Vamvouras | Unsplash

Just as flirty as the string bikini is the bandeau bikini. While the former has thin strings for straps, the latter has no straps over the shoulders at all. The name of this type of swimsuit comes from the French word bande, which means strip, so it’s essentially a strip of cloth across the bust teamed with a bikini bottom.

While you can’t deny the bandeau bikini looks really chic and sexy, it could be a challenge keeping the strapless top in place. This style is more suitable for lounging – better avoid it if you plan to run around or do sports.

Halter Bikini

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Photo by Nate Johnston | Unsplash

You might have noticed that while most bikini bottoms look the same, there’s much more variety to the tops, particularly the necklines. And one of the most common necklines is the halter. Named after the livestock halter, this type of neckline features straps running from the front to the nape and then tied or fastened at the back.  Halter bikini tops come in various styles – the one in the photo above is just one of several. They can also be high-neck, round-neck, V-neck, or plunging.

Sports Bikini

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Photo by Carol Magalhães | Unsplash

I mentioned earlier that some bikini styles, like the bandeau, are more suitable for lazy days at the beach. But if you’re planning on being active, you’d better opt for a style that is comfortable and will keep up with you no matter how much you move – without fear of a wardrobe malfunction! I’m talking about the sports bikini, which is designed for performance rather than aesthetics (although the set in the photo above looks really cute, too). Athletic swimwear comes in a variety of styles, including bikinis and one-piece suits. The one in the picture has a racer neckline, which provides extra coverage over the bust and allows for better movement of the shoulders.

Monokini

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Photo by Valentin Lacoste | Unsplash

The original monokini, designed by fashion designer Rudi Gernreich in 1964, was little more than a bikini bottom with two thin straps running up the torso and around the neck, leaving a lot of skin exposed. Nowadays, monokinis have evolved to include one-piece swimsuits that are designed to look like two pieces. For example, the polka-dot swimsuit shown above is a one-piece that looks like a bikini top and bottom but is actually connected at the sides. I think it’s a clever and chic way of adding a risqué touch to a one-piece via cutouts.

Swim Dress

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Photo by Tracey Hocking | Unsplash

If you’re a little shy about baring too much skin, this is the swimsuit for you. The swim dress is a one-piece with an attached mini skirt that offers a bit more coverage around the hip and upper thigh area. Modesty shouldn’t stop you from enjoying a day at the beach and you can always opt for a swimsuit like this that’s a little more covered up. They come in many styles and lengths and are also a great choice if you’re going for a retro vibe.

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