Bikini tops are a lot like bras. They both come in different styles, cuts, and names. However, bikini tops have plenty more variations. Knowing what’s flattering for your body shape is the key to finding the right one. Amidst the many types of bikini tops, we’ve put together this guide that will walk you through each and every style.
Types of Bikini Tops
There’s no better time than now to expand your knowledge about bikini tops. From the classics, multiple other cuts have since been created. We have compiled all the most popular bikini top styles to help you determine what matches best with your body type and breast size
The string triangle is the most basic type of bikini top. It’s made with two solid triangle fabric cups that are joined together via a string that goes through the base of the triangles. This string serves as the band as it wraps around the chest and ties at the back.
Two other strings are sewn to the tops of the triangles and serves as the straps. They tie up at the nape of the neck in a halter style to hold up the bikini top in place.
The string triangle is probably the queen of all bikini tops. If not the most popular, it’s one of the most common bikini tops that’s a go-to for women. It’s usually the first thing that comes to mind at the mention of bikinis.
Sometimes the fabric triangles are inserted with foam cups to give the boobs more structure. Even so, the string triangle bikini top is more suited to women with small frames and small breasts, regardless if it has foam cups or not.
The daintiness of the fabric and strings is complementary in size with petite bodies. In the same way, the scant bikini top only has the right amount of coverage for small breasts and flat chests.
It’s not equipped to hold, support, and cover breasts bigger than a C cup. With the density of ocean and even pool water, a string triangle bikini top won’t be responsible for lacking in support. Big, heavy breasts are bound to spill out of the cups, which could move sidewards on the string band.
A fixed triangle bikini top is made with two stationary triangle cups, attached to each other in the middle through a solid gore. It also has a band under it that’s usually fastened with a clasp at the back. Typically, thick straps extend from the triangles on top and crosses over your shoulder towards the back band.
The fixed triangle can also come with strings. However, the string band is usually sewn to the outer point of the triangle cups like the straps do on top. This way, the cups will stay in place despite being attached to strings.
A fixed triangle bikini top is majorly similar to the classic string triangle. The only difference and its major distinct feature is that the triangle cups are fixed into one position. They are usually attached to the band and to each other to prevent from moving sidewards unlike the string triangle.
If the string triangle is best for women with small frames and small breasts, the fixed triangle bikini top is better for hourglass-shaped women. The curves in your upper body are made prominent by big boobs and a small waist.
The fixed triangle top will be more supportive for your bulky and heavy breasts. The stationary cups are sewn in to stay on your boobs the whole time. The thicker band and straps are also recommended since they’re sturdier and therefore can hold up your breasts better.
The classic bandeau, also called “bandini” or “bandeaukini”, is a wide stretchy rectangular fabric band which wraps around your entire chest. In equal width from front to back, this covers up, compresses, and minimizes the appearance of large breasts.
A bandeau is a pretty straightforward type of bikini top. Since it doesn’t rely on straps to remain on your chest, the tightness of the fabric makes up for the lack of other support. For this reason, bandeaus are reliable as they can work like a bandage for the boobs. It prevents them from juggling or moving around.
This kind of bikini top works well for hourglass-shaped women who have big breasts. The simplicity and skimpiness of the bikini top will direct attention to your curves from chest to waist. It can even minimize the look of your breasts, if you don’t want it to appear too big.
The only downside to bandeaus is that they have a tendency to slide down from your chest. You have to constantly pull the top to keep yourself covered. That’s why women with big breasts are better equipped to resist this problem. They have more boob that the bandeau can attach to.
A v-string bandeau is a tube-type fabric bikini top held up by v-shaped halter string straps. The strings connect with the bandeau in the middle, creating a deep v neckline. They are tied into a ribbon at the nape of the neck.
The bandeau part doesn’t necessarily have to be a rectangular strip of fabric. It’s only a variation of the bandeau that’s sometimes made with two circular cups connected through a gore in the middle.
The v-string bandeau is ideal for women with an inverted triangle shape. Your broad shoulders will be narrowed down by the v-shaped strings as they divide your upper chest in smaller proportions. The deep v neckline also creates an illusion of having a curvier torso. The v will accentuate your small waist and when paired with a nice, full coverage bottom, you can work in this top to give you the coveted hourglass shape.
A strapless bikini top is a single band of fabric that goes around your chest. It comprises of two circular or oval-shaped foam cups attached to a circle metal gore, and tapers to a narrower fabric band that clasps at the back. Sometimes a twisted fabric replaces the metal gore in the middle to simultaneously decorate and tighten the bikini top.
This style sometimes come with underwires to provide extra support that mere cups might not be able to give. Additional decoration of prints, embellishments, and other design elements give extra oomph to this simple top. They are also usually paired with brazilian style bikini bottoms.
Strapless bikini tops work best on petite girls with small breasts. Their small frame is the perfect size a strapless bikini top is equipped to provide coverage and support for. Petite girls will have a thinner band size. This is ideal because the back clasp on strapless bikini tops are usually not adjustable.
The same goes for their breast size. Even with underwires, which aren’t always present, the fabric foam cups on strapless bikini tops have the capacity to hold small breasts. Otherwise, they’re likely to slide down from the ocean current or hurt your chest and back areas from being uncomfortable.
A fringe bikini top is a variation of the bandeau style characterized by the fringed fabric attached to the upper part of the bandeau. The fringes fall with asymmetrical ends, usually following the pattern of the cups, to partially cover up the front of the bikini top
For support, the top is held up by thin spaghetti straps and a slightly thick band with a clasp fastening at the back.
This style of bikini top has appeared numerous times throughout several summer seasons. This is because fringe is becoming a timeless trend associated with the sunny weather and the tropics.
You’ll be smart to choose a fringe bikini top because it adds more volume to your chest area.
Small-breasted women with an apple shape will benefit from the fringes on this top. Aside from making your breasts appear bigger, the fringes take away attention from a bulgy stomach and instead refocus it to the upper body.
The fringes creates movement on your chest area, which is another distraction from the bulky parts of your midsection.
A flounce bikini top is a bandeau-style top with an extra flowy ruffled fabric sewn across the top edge of the bandeau. The flowy ruffles cover up the entire bandeau and creates a beautiful V bustline on the bottom edges. A flounce bikini top is typically propped up by halter straps that tie up at the nape of the neck, while the bandeau is either fastened at the back or pulled over the top of the head.
A flounce bikini top is largely similar to a fringe bikini top in that both are variations of the bandeau. Like the fringes, the flowy ruffled fabric in front creates a lot of movement.
Since it covers up the entire front portion of the bikini top, it’s ideal for women with small breasts. The fabric eliminates the look of a flat chest, creating a flattering silhouette in its place.
The V-shaped edge of the bikini top highlights the curves of women with curves to flaunt in their midsection. The unconventional bustline accentuates a thin and small waist, and sometimes even creates the illusion of wider chest and hips. Following this effect, your upper body will look like it’s an hourglass shape.
Off the Shoulder
Off the shoulder bikini tops are made with a simple stretchy bandeau with two wide fabric sleeves attached to the sides. The sleeves rest on your upper arms just below the underarms. The top edge sits right on the same level as the bandeau on your chest, creating the off the shoulder effect.
For more varying decoration, some off the shoulder bikini tops are designed with additional elements: ruffled fabric draped over the bandeau and arm bands, lace-up strings in the middle of the bandeau, and halter-style string tie straps. One or all of these can be incorporated into a single off the shoulder bikini top.
Off the shoulder bikini tops are a fairly new trendy type adapted from the classic bandeau style. It gained popularity after the off the shoulder trend in blouses crossed over to bikini tops. Since then, there have been many different designs of this newcomer style.
This version is usually made with a ruched stretchy fabric. It can stay on even on women with smaller band and breast size. Even with sleeves, this kind of bikini top is mostly supportive for women who are smaller on top, including pear-shaped and small-breasted women.
The sleeves add width to your shoulders, making them look proportional to your wide hips. It’s also ideal for balancing out the top and bottom proportions of those with a pear shape. The off-shoulder fabrics will elongate the appearance of the clavicle, making it look more equal to your wide hips.
Some off the shoulder bikini tops come with foam cups. Even so, it’s mostly supportive for those with small to average-sized breasts. Without the straps, the extent of the support this bikini top could give is only accommodating for women with average-sized breasts from A to C cups.
A halter bikini top is a bra-like swimsuit top distinguished by its straps which extend from the tops of the cups to the nape of the neck. The straps may be made of thin strings which are then tied into a ribbon. Otherwise, halter bikini tops with thicker straps usually have a clasp to join the straps together.
A halter style is more common among bralettes and bikini tops than bras because of their more fashionable look. Since the straps wrap around the neck, it’s not advisable for women with big breasts as the straps might just dig into the nape of the neck from their heavy weight. It would only cause problems with your posture and might result in a stiff neck.
Halter bikini tops will look and feel better on women with small breasts as the straps won’t be pulled down by heavy breasts. The cups will sit in position the whole time, while the straps keep the bra on strapped on.
A high neck bikini top is like a bralette with a high neckline that almost reaches up to the edge where neck meets chest. The straps usually wrap around the neck in a halter style. Otherwise, they extend to a high-back fabric that copies the cut of the fabric in front.
This kind of bikini top offers more than full coverage for the bust as it covers up almost the entire chest as well. This bikini top is a versatile piece that can be worn as a fashion top by itself, even outside of a beach or pool setting.
This is a good pick for big busted women as it’s able to hold up heavy breasts with the abundance of fabric in front. It eliminates any chances of your boobs spilling out of bikini cups because the support goes all the way up to the chest. This type of bikini top is even used for beach activities and sports, so it’s a good pick for ample support.
Good for women with broad shoulders, the tapered effect of the neckline narrows down the appearance of the shoulders. It covers up the center of the clavicle, putting attention to the center of your chest rather than on your shoulders and provides distraction with a solid color or playful print.
A t-back bikini top is like a racerback style, only with thinner straps that form a T shape on your upper back. The straps in front go over the shoulders and join together into a single strap at the nape of the neck, forming the T. It then meets with the band at the back without clasps to be a pullover style bikini top.
The t-back bikini top is a variation of the racerback that’s more fashionable for the beach. This bikini top provides a prettier option for women who usually encounter back pain with other styles of bikini top straps. Women with big breasts are among the most affected with this dilemma.
The t-back strap provides support along the spinal cord to keep your posture upright. It’s also helpful for plus size women who usually have back bulges with traditional cuts of bikini straps. The t-shaped strap and band gives your back a nice silhouette and gives you the option to equally spread out your skin at the back.
The crossed-back bikini top is made with typical triangle or oval-shaped cups, fairly thick band, and straps that cross in an X at the back. The back straps are attached to the band at the back as a clasp at the center fastens the bikini top in place.
This is another strap style that has evolved from a racerback style. This provides the same support, only slightly less than the capacity of a racerback, because of the thinner straps. However, this is the kind that is recommended for doing sports activities like surfing.
This kind of bikini top works well for those with an athletic build and big breasts. The daintiness of the straps and the cups is enough to highlight a toned body. Simultaneously, it’s able to support your breasts even under strenuous situations.
A push up bikini top is easily distinguished by its structured foam cups. Made like a bra, the cups are attached to two straps on either side of the chest which connect to the band at the back.
Underwires are typically propped on the undersides of the breasts, while a wide band wraps around the bustline. The padding is generally thick enough to boost you up one cup size.
This push up style is ideal for women with smaller busts (between A-C cup). The bikini top will help show off some cleavage, along with giving your girls some added lift as you sit by the pool or hang at the beach. While women who are D cup and larger can wear push up bikinis, the added cup size might be unnecessary.
Lightly Padded Underwire
Lightly padded bikini tops with underwire will typically have a similar shape as a push up bikini, with two main differences. These include the amount of padding and the addition of underwire. While some push up swim tops will include wiring, it’s not a guarantee they all will. Because of this, women with large breasts might find push up tops to be unsupportive.
Instead, bigger chested women should look for swimsuit tops that are lightly padded and include underwire. This will help keep them supported throughout the day, and the minimal padding will not increase the overall size of your bust.
A balconette bikini top has a less prominent and more rounded triangle-shaped cups connected by a gore and thick band. The front tapers down thinly at the center, which makes it slightly like a plunging bikini top bra. The straps usually mimic that of a regular balconette bra. They are thin and extend to the back band.
A balconette is like the bustier in that both are derived from traditional bra styles. It’s highly advisable for pear-shaped women. Balconettes are designed to highlight the breasts even if you don’t have a big pair. This bikini top also accentuates your slender shoulders and balances it out with your defined waist and hips.
Even though it looks structured and expensive, there are actually a lot of cheap options out there in the market.
Sports Bikini Top
A sports bikini top is a full coverage bikini top with a thick center gore and supportive foam cups that provide separate support for each of your breasts.
The straps are usually thick and connect with the band at the back, which reaches higher on your upper back than other bikini tops.
Sports bikini tops are a lot like regular sports bras in that they provide encapsulation through the separate cups that individually protect your breasts.
The thick foam cups and fabric also compress your breasts towards your chest to prevent it from moving around inside the bikini top.
This is good for women with athletic or straight bodies, or even for moms who prefer a lot of coverage.
It is the perfect sporty look that would highlight abs and arms, and would accentuate your body even if you don’t have a lot of curves.
With its tough composition, this bikini top is sure to be able to support the biggest and heaviest of breasts, and can endure the hardest and most physically-taxing activities.
A one shoulder bikini top is easily distinguished by a single strap that goes around only one shoulder. It’s either an extension of the fabric of the cup on the same side, or is attached to the other cup or the gore for a less conventional design.
The cups of this style are usually circular or oval in shape; otherwise, the overall style of the bikini top sans the single strap is a bandeau.
The band is almost always a thick fabric instead of a string in this style. If not a bandeau, it’s fastened with a g-hook common in bikini tops.
The strap is attached around the middle of the back band or on the far side from where it comes down from the shoulders.
Since the band is fairly thicker than string, it’s sufficient enough to hold average-sized breasts. The fabric will have just enough to hold on to. Anything more and the top might give out; anything less and the fabric might just slip down.
A one-shoulder bikini top is more about the aesthetic than providing functional support. Like the off-shoulder bikini, this one is a trendy top evolved from the style of summer blouses. It’s good for women who are broad on the shoulders and are athletic on the upper body and arms. Basically, women with an inverted triangle shape would benefit as the strap cuts across the clavicle and slims down your shoulder area in the process. Its feminine cut and silhouette also reverses your tone and firmly-built body.
A scoop neck bikini top is one that has a low U neckline and that provides coverage of about three-quarters of your breasts. The edge of the neckline ends just above the nipples. The straps are either a spaghetti strap or just slightly thicker than that, while the band is thick and usually have no back closure.
This type of bikini top is extremely trendy nowadays. With the simplicity of the cut, it could end up being a classic coming into the future.
It strikes a balance between modest and sensual with the amount of skin exposure from the low neckline and the plainness of the overall design.
Since this top is similar to a sports bikini, only without the full coverage, it’s highly suitable for plus sized women who have small breasts. The thickness of the band will lessen the prominence of some of your bulges in the abdomen by keeping it in the fabric.
On the plus side, it will showcase your curves with the right amount of skin on display.
As for the breast size, this bikini will be safest for those with a small size as anything bigger would probably slip out from the low neckline. There’s no guarantee of a secure fit for big-breasted women especially since going underwater can pull the fabric down.
You can’t underestimate the abundance of styles and types of bikini tops. Choosing the right bikini top is easier when you know what and how it looks good for your breast and body type. At this point, there’s something for almost everyone and this selection should help you decide what the right one is for you.