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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 than grains of sand on the beach. That's why we've put together this glossary that breaks down everything from adjustable straps to UPF 50. Enjoy it, and consult it the next time you find yourself facing the sun and sand. Here are some swimming terms you need to know before you hit the pool.

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.

All-Over Control

Swimwear with all-over-control is designed to keep your shape stable and supported all day long.

Aqua Sport

Aqua Sport swimsuits are made with flexible fabrics and feature UPF protection, allowing 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 two-piece swimsuit consisting of a top and a 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.

High-Waisted Bottom

A high-waisted bottom is a swimsuit bottom that sits higher on the waist 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 salt water.

Rash Guard

A rash guard is a swim tee, tunic or cover-up that can be worn over a swimsuit to prevent sunburns (and the rashes that accompany them).


Ruching is a technique that adds extra material to a garment as detail, creating a 3-D effect that is 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. Spandex 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 is a one-piece swimsuit that has a dress silhouette complete with a flared skirt for extra coverage while maximizing style.

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

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, long-sleeved top that can be worn over a swimsuit top to provide extra coverage and protection from UV rays.

Square Neck

Square neck swimsuits feature a higher topline that covers the bust.


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

Tugless Tank

Tugless tanks are one-piece swimsuits that won't ride up or shift out of place during wear.

Tummy Control

A tummy control bathing suit features a hidden lining that helps shape the midsection without causing strain or restricting movement.


In swimsuit terms, a tunic can refer to a one-piece swimsuit or a cover-up meant to be worn over a swimsuit.

UPF 50

UPF 50 refers to the level of Ultraviolet Protection Factor in sunblock and swimsuits. A swimsuit with UPF 50 will better protect skin from harmful UV rays.

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