Types of Swimsuits - Women's Swimwear Glossary

Types of Swimsuits - Women's Swimwear Glossary

Between bikinis and tankinis, shelf bras, and soft cup bras, it can feel like there are more swimsuit terms out there than grains of sand on the beach. Shopping for swimwear can be overwhelming. That's why we've put together this glossary that breaks down everything from adjustable straps to UPF 50. Consult this glossary the next time you find yourself searching for the perfect fit to face the sun and sand in. Here are all of the swimwear terms you need to know before making your purchase this summer.

Adjustable Straps

An adjustable strap is a strap that can be moved to better fit the wearer's own body and provide a better fit. These straps can be found on tankini tops, for example, which are detailed later.

All-Over Control

Swimwear with all-over-control, such as the tummy-control swimsuit, is designed to keep your shape in place and help you feel supported all day long.

Aqua Sport

Aqua Sport swimsuits are made with flexible fabrics and feature UPF protection, which allows them to double as outerwear.

Beach Living®

Beach Living® is a swimsuit collection made up of versatile, mix-and-match swim separates.


A bikini is a classic two-piece swimsuit. These are usually sold as separates, consisting of a bikini top and a bikini bottom.

Board Shorts

Board shorts are casual, loose-fitting swimsuit bottoms that typically have a drawstring waist and hem that falls just above the knee.


Control refers to how much shaping power a swimsuit has.


Coverage refers to how much skin a swimsuit covers or exposes.

Engineered Pattern

An engineered pattern is a pattern that does not repeat but is instead placed whole over a garment.

Halter Neck

A swimsuit with a halter neck has a strap that runs from the front of the swimsuit to the back of the neck, leaving the back exposed for clean tan lines. This neckline can be found on bikini separates and one piece swimsuits.

High-Waisted Bottom

High waisted bikini bottoms are a more classic swimsuit bottom that sits higher on the waist close to, or covering, the belly button. This style can be worn for a slimming effect.

Keyhole Neck

A swimsuit with a keyhole neck has a keyhole-shaped opening directly below the neckline.

Lycra® Xtra Life™

Lycra® Xtra Life™ is a type of spandex that gives swimsuits a longer-lasting fit by better resisting degrading factors like sun exposure, sunblock, chlorine, and saltwater.

Rash Guard

A rash guard is a type of swim tee that was originally designed for surfers to protect their skin from “board rash,” a common skin irritation that is the result of friction between the stomach or chest and the surfboard. It is typically more form-fitting and snug than other styles of swim tee for this reason. A rash guard can still fit easily over a swimsuit and is a great option for extra UV protection or coverage.


Ruching is a technique that adds extra material to a garment as detail. This is known for creating a 3D effect that can be is flattering and slimming.

Shelf Bra

A swimsuit with a shelf bra has an elastic band at the bottom to provide light support.


Shirring is a technique that gathers together fabric, often at the midsection, for a slimming effect.


Slendertex® is a fabric unique to Lands' End that smooths and shapes to flatter curves and slim silhouettes.

Soft Cup Bra

A swimsuit with a soft cup bra features built-in soft cups that offer support while remaining lightweight.


Spandex is a synthetic fabric with a highly elastic quality. It is commonly used in swimsuits for its quick dry time and ability to conform to the body.


A surplice swimsuit is a one-piece swimsuit made with a drapey overlay that provides extra coverage and has a slimming effect.

Sweetheart Neckline

A swimsuit with a sweetheart neckline has a heart-like shape that exposes more of the shoulders and cleavage.

Swim Dress

A swim dress, also referred to as a dresskini, is a one-piece swimsuit that has a dress silhouette complete with a flared skirt for extra coverage while maximizing style. Not to be confused with a swimsuit with skirt, these are essentially cute fit and flare dresses made from swimsuit material. Bottoms are not typically included.

Swim Separates

Swim separates refers to swimsuit tops or bottoms that are meant to be mix-and-matched with other tops and bottoms rather than be worn as part of a matching set.

Swim Skirt

A swim skirt is a swimsuit bottom in a skirt design, which can be part of a swimsuit set or a swimsuit separate.

Swim Shorts

Similar to board shorts, swim shorts are casual swimsuit bottoms that are cut like shorts and available in a variety of lengths.


A SwimMini™ is a swim skirt with a mini-skirt length and a wide waistband that comes in tummy control and non-control options.

Swim Tee

A swim tee is a lightweight top that can be worn over a swimsuit top to provide extra coverage and protection from UV rays. These can be short or long-sleeved.

Square Neck

Squareneck swimsuits are typically one-piece swimsuits that feature a higher topline that provides coverage of the bust, such as the high neck tankini.


A tankini is a swimsuit top that exposes the shoulders and arms but covers the midsection, just like a tank top.

Tugless Tank

“Tugless” refers to the fact that this swimsuit piece will stay put. Tugless tanks are one-piece swimsuits that won't ride up or shift out of place during activity, ensuring comfort and confidence.

Tummy Control

Tummy control swimsuits feature a comfortable hidden lining which helps shape the midsection without causing strain or restricting any movement.


Tunic tops can be the perfect beach cover-up. Its made in a variety of materials and can be worn by itself, or thrown on over your swimsuit.

UPF 50

UPF 50 refers to the level of Ultraviolet Protection Factor in sunblock and in swimsuits. A swimsuit with UPF 50 provides an extra layer of protection from harmful UV rays.


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