What are Tankinis?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

A tankini is a two-piece swimsuit that offers more coverage than a typical bikini. Rather than a bra-like top, the upper half of the suit resembles a tank-top, hence the name tankini. Tankinis are a great swimsuit option for those who like two-piece styles but are uncomfortable with showing their mid section.

Woman shopping
Woman shopping

Most tankinis cover a large portion of the stomach area, leaving just a small visible strip of skin between the top and bottom of the suit. Some cover the whole torso, overlapping with the bottom of the swimsuit. Many women prefer tankinis to one pieces because they allow more ease of movement and can be easier to fit into. If you have a small chest and large hips, or vice versa, it may be easier to purchase a tankini with the top and bottom in different sizes than it is to find a one-piece that fits your whole body well.

Although a tankini can help cover perceived figure flaws, buying the wrong one can accentuate body issues. As with all swimsuits, ignore the size written on the tag and find a suit that fits comfortably. A tight swimsuit will always make you look heavier, and a too-tight top may make a tankini pull up over your stomach. Be sure to choose a bottom that fits your hips smoothly, rather than squeezing skin or fat over the top. Remember: no one will know what size it is, but they will be able to tell if it looks too tight.

Tankinis allow you the fun of mixing and matching separate pieces, just like a bikini. There’s no rule saying you must buy two pieces that are from the same original suit. Mixing and matching tankini tops and bottoms by style, color, or pattern can give you a variety of fun options to wear as well as making a suit that is uniquely “you.”

A tankini can be a great compromise in arguments over swimwear with young girls. If your pre-teen is desperate for a bikini while you still want her in a one-piece with water wings, consider the tankini as a compromise. The coverage offered by the suit will afford your child modesty and prevent embarrassing mishaps that can occur with a bikini, while still being a little more grown-up than a one-piece suit.

You can find tankinis at most stores that sell swimwear, as they have grown in popularity in the last decade. Look for stores or websites where you can “build your own” suit, allowing you to choose from many different colors and styles of top and bottom. For those with body image or weight issues, tankinis are a nice interim step between the one-piece and the bikini, allowing you to be more comfortable with your midsection covered but still feel sexy and fashionable.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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