What is a Tankini? What you Need to Know

Anyone who has been shopping for swimwear recently understands that there are many options. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and so excited with all of the styles currently on the market. And some are relatively fresh to the market. In fact, up until the late 1990s, women basically had two options - the bikini or a one-piece. Now, there are far more options, including a tankini.

What Is A Tankini?

The tankini was introduced to the market in the 1990s after being developed by Anne Cole. This type of bathing suit is considered by many to be a bit closer to a one-piece suit. It is more modest than a bikini, and it generally covers as much skin (or more) as most one-piece bathing suits. 

Tankinis are a great option for women who like the modesty of a one-piece but the convenience of a bikini. Let’s be real, you can easily use a restroom in a tankini without removing the entire suit. This feature also allows you to mix-and-match tops and bottoms, which is one of the reasons bikinis are great. With a tankini, you get the advantages of both a one-piece bathing suit and a bikini. Right??

The cut of the tankini is what really differentiates it from other swimwear options. For the bottoms, you have a full range of selections. You can look for anything from high-waisted bottoms to low-rise bikini bottoms. Some tankinis also offer a little extra coverage by including swim shorts rather than standard bikini bottoms. 

Check out our Go-To Guide to the 8 Types of Bikini Bottom Cuts

While bikini bottoms are standard for the tankini, the top is dramatically different. Tankinis offer a top that looks much more like a tank top than a bikini top. This reason is why it is often compared to a one-piece bathing suit. 

The tank top style offers extra coverage that often extends down to the bottoms, leaving none of the tummy exposed. And while this is the standard, there are some tankinis with a slightly shorter cut, leaving just a bit of exposed midriff. 

Tankinis are a very appealing option for many women. They offer additional tummy control and can cover any imperfection for the strangers who desire that! These benefits are some of the primary reasons for selecting a one-piece bathing suit. But the tankini can still allow you to have fun with the look by mixing and matching different tops and bottoms. 

Tankinis also come in a variety of colors, styles, and shapes. They can usually incorporate many of the same features in either a one-piece bathing suit or a bikini. Options may include a push-up bra, adjustable straps, and high-necked tops, among others, to ensure you find the perfect tankini.

A tankini is a great option if you are also worried about sun exposure since it covers more skin than many other bathing suits. And it is ideal for play and beach sports! You can go rafting, play volleyball, swim, and engage in nearly any other physical activity comfortably. 

What Makes the Tankini Great?


Tankinis are stylish, comfortable, and functional. Many reasons contribute to making the tankini a great choice. Some of the best include:

  • They offer tummy control. The tankini is a great choice for women who feel like they want a bit more coverage. And by removing the focus from your midsection, you can emphasize other areas of the body that you like more.
  • You can also select skirted bottoms for extra coverage. And while this style may look more like a swim dress, it can still be flirty and fun - and it can provide additional coverage to make any woman feel comfortable. 
  • Tankinis offer excellent support for women who need a little extra support on top. There are many different tankini tops, and you can always find one that gives more support. Some tops have wide straps or underwires, which can be great for women with larger chests. This look is one way to show off your bosom if that is an area that brings you confidence!
  • Any stranger can wear a tankini! Since the tankini is a very modest option, many women who feel uncomfortable in other bathing suit styles will feel great in a tankini. They also offer enough coverage to cover any of those beautiful scars, such as those from a mastectomy or C-section. Women who are still breastfeeding also find the tankini may make it easier than other bathing suit choices. And the wide range of styles means you can find one for any age or that will achieve any look you want!
  • The fact that tankinis are a two-piece bathing suit enhances their ability to be stylish and functional. You can mix and match different tops and bottoms to strike the perfect look. And they make it much easier to use the restroom than one-piece bathing suits. 
  • Tankinis are great for a wide range of activities. Their full coverage ensures that you can easily engage in physical activity without worrying about anything ‘falling out...oops! And when you wear the top with a swim skirt or swim shorts, you can quickly go anywhere public. And this benefit means you may not have to bring extra clothes with you if you have plans for after the beach. 

The tankini is a great choice for many women! But it’s crucial to select one that fits well and has features that accentuate the areas you want to bring attention to and downplay those you don’t. For instance, a poorly-fitting tankini top can make those with smaller breasts appear to be even less endowed- if you are conscious about that! Additionally, women with larger breasts may want to avoid tankini halter tops as they can strain the neck at times. 

Some tankinis offer additional features, such as the ability to convert it to a bikini top, which may be perfect if you want to sunbathe. The bottom line is that the right tankini can make any stranger look great and feel confident - it’s just a matter of finding the right one for your body type!


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