Women's Swimwear Buying Guide

From teeny bikinis to modest one-pieces, swimsuits are available in all shapes and sizes for all shapes and sizes. This women's swimwear buying guide will help you find the right fit for you.

Women's Swimwear 101

From modern designer looks to retro swimwear, there are a wide variety of swimsuits available for all tastes and body types. The trick is to choose a style that accents the best parts of your silhouette, while downplaying your less favourite attributes. Some suits can even trick the eye and work to your advantage. Whether you're looking for the freedom of a two piece or the coverage of a one piece, finding the right suit will give you the comfort and confidence to really enjoy your time at the beach or pool. 

Types of Swimwear


One-Piece Swimsuits

Today's one-piece swimsuits come in a wide range of styles including strapless, halter tops or regular tank-top style straps. Because they provide more coverage than bikini swimwear, one-piece bathing suits offer a more conservative style to suit individual tastes or occasions. They’re also the easiest way to conceal your midsection. These suits can easily accommodate built-in slimming control panels, ruching or shirring to help strategically camouflage certain areas.

Skirted Swimsuit

If you’re looking for a little more coverage of the hips and upper thighs you may want to try a skirted swimsuit, skirtini or swim dress. Skirted suits are available in both one- and two-piece styles and come in a variety of lengths. From cute ruffled bikinis reminiscent of vintage bathing suits, to sleek plus-size swimwear that offer additional coverage, skirted swimsuits are a feminine option popular with many women. Because of the extra material used to form the skirted bottoms, these suits will take longer to dry than other styles.

Classic Bikini

The classic bikini is similar in fit to a bra and panties. Classic bikinis are available with or without underwire support, and typically have over-the-shoulder straps that connect to the band in the back. Though today's bikini bottoms come in a variety of cuts and shapes, the classic bikini features a high cut leg with full bottom coverage.

String Bikini

String bikinis, so named for the strings that tie them together, typically consist of two triangular top pieces that tie around the neck and back, and a bottom piece that ties on either side of the hips. Because these suits can be adjusted for proper fit, they're often more flattering than pre-fitted suits, which may dig into the skin and create bulges. A sling bikini, which is a variation on the string bikini, consists of a bikini bottom with an attached suspender-like top.


A tankini offers the coverage of a one-piece swimsuit with the comfort of wearing a two-piece. These suits feature a tank-top style top that comes to the waistband of the bottom piece, providing coverage of the midsection. Tankini tops are available in a classic tank-top strap styles with halter ties, or as a strapless bandeau. Bottoms can range in coverage from high cut to boy shorts to longer skirted styles for a more modest swimwear option.  

Swimwear Accessory Tips:

• Sunglasses protect eyes while adding drama and style to your beachwear
• Add a cover up for coverage and comfort when not in the water
• Oversized beach bags are a nice fashion accent and will conveniently hold sunscreen, water, books and more
• An oversized beach hat provides sun protection and flair
• Flip-flops and sandals bring colour and personality to your beach and poolside outfits

Shop Accessories & Related Products:

Swimwear Maintenance Tips:

• Rinse after use to prevent damage from chlorine or salt water
• Follow your swimwear’s care and washing instructions: some types may not be machine washable, while others may require hang-drying
• Ring out gently and dry flat to maintain shape
• Avoid contact with oil-based lotions as they can decrease your swimsuit’s elasticity

Best Swimsuit for Your Body Style

Pear Shaped
The most flattering swimwear styles for a pear-shaped body (larger on bottom, smaller on top) help balance your proportions and conceal your trouble spots. Consider full coverage briefs, boy shorts or skirted bottoms, and draw the eye upwards with halter straps, low necklines or interesting details on top. Another way of bringing balance to this body type is to wear a bold or bright pattern or colour on top with a simple solid colour on the bottom. High-cut bottoms are also helpful in creating the illusion of longer legs.
Apple Shaped
When choosing swimwear for an apple-shaped body with a rounder midsection, avoid shiny fabrics that highlight lumps and bumps. Look for suits with camouflaging shirring and ruching, or go with wrap styles that define your waist and flatter fuller figures. High-cut leg openings and low-cut necklines are good for drawing attention away from the stomach area, and many suits come with built-in slimming panels for additional comfort and support.
Flaunt your curves in the most flattering way by choosing a swimsuit that complements your body type while keeping you in place. A two-piece suit with ties (a string bikini, for example) often works well with curvy figures, because you can adjust the fit to hug your body comfortably. Select a top with an underwire, balconette or halter fit for bust support. Avoid monokinis as they will exaggerate, rather than flatter, an hourglass silhouette.
Large Bust
To support and flatter body types with larger busts, choose underwire or molded cups for comfort and control. Halter-strap styles are another good means of providing lift and support, as are bra-style tops with thicker adjustable straps. Avoiding ruffles, bold patterns and other embellishments on the top half of your swimsuit will help to minimize focus on the chest area.
Small Bust
If you are trying to add some oomph to a small bust, go for a swimsuit with a shape-enhancing underwire or push-up style bra top. Selecting bulkier tops with ruffles, pleats, bold patterns or other visual details is another way to create the appearance of curves. Avoid bandeau-style tops, as they will make the chest appear more flat.
When outfitting an athletic body type in swimwear, you can use a number of visual tricks to create a more feminine silhouette. For example, bold prints, ruffles and minimal coverage are ways to give the appearance of a shapelier figure. The monokini, with its side cut outs, is an especially effective style for softening athletic body types as it makes the waist look smaller while drawing attention to the chest and hips.

Types of Swimwear Material

Swimwear can be made from a variety of fabrics, the most popular of which are spandex, nylon and polyester. Most women's bathing suits are made from a blend of these fabrics to capitalize on each type's strength while minimizing its weakness. Spandex holds colour well, offers good elasticity and reduces friction in the water, but breaks down in chlorine with frequent use. Polyester is long lasting but heavy and less comfortable than more stretchy fabrics. Nylon is affordable, light, smooth, strong and quick drying, but does not hold colour as well as spandex, and breaks down under excessive exposure to sunlight. 
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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