Swimwear style guide

Learn the lowdown on halter necks verses high apex, plunge verses crop top to uncover the swimwear style for you….


Key features: Removable straps so you can style it multiple ways and the choice of padded and unpadded cups.

Ideal for: All shapes and sizes, and those wanting to avoid pesky tan lines.

If: You want extra support, choose cup sized options and underwiring.

Halter neck

Key features: Halter neck swimsuits have a tie or fastening at the neck.

Ideal for: Pear shapes, as the halter neckline balances out the hips and thighs, and draws the eye upwards.

If: You have broad shoulders, this is also a flattering style option.


Key features: Thanks to technological advancements there are many control features, including strategically placed panels to flatten the tummy, all-over firm shaping, sculpting side ruching and power mesh linings.

Ideal for: Those who want to enhance their silhouette and feel held and supported.

If: You prefer bikinis but still want shape control, opt for a high waisted brief style.


Key features: A relatively high neck and wide straps along with non-wiring for comfort and security.

Ideal for: Anyone swimming lanes or hitting the loungers – look and feel great whatever your activity.

If: You’re a serious swimmer, you may want to look for a specialised sports suit as a regular swimsuit may fade over time with significantly more exposure to chlorine.

Halter neck

Key features: Available both padded or unpadded, with plunge necklines and adjustable neck tie.

Ideal for: All bust shapes and sizes, with support coming from the underband rather than the cups. Especially suitable if you have broad shoulders, or to balance your figure if you are pear shaped, should you wish to do so.

If: You want to avoid tan lines, opt for a bandeau style instead.


Key features: Usually has removable straps for multiway styling, so you can switch it up according to your mood and tan lines.

Ideal for: All shapes and sizes, even small busts. For more support, opt for cup sized options and underwired hold.

If: You do want to give the appearance of more cleavage try ruched or twisted fronts.

High apex

Key features: High cups and a low centre front give a plunge v-shaped neckline, with a wide supportive underband. Cups are lined but non-padded, and can be wired or non-wired.

Ideal for: Most shapes and sizes, supporting up to cup F.

If: You’re loking for maximum tanning potential, the wider over-the-shoulder straps might not be ideal for you.

Plunge neck

Key features: Elegant plunge neckline with low centre front for a revealing cleavage. Cups are usually padded with both underwired and non-wired styles on offer.

Ideal for: Most figures, but especially pear shaped silhouettes.

If: You’re looking for coverage, try a crop top instead.

Crop top

Key features: Over-the-shoulder straps and a full cup, plus increased coverage.

Ideal for: Larger bust sizes as the underwired styles give bra-like support, while smaller sizes can enjoy non-wired crop tops.

If: You want a secure hold while being active in the waves or on the sand, this is a great choice of style.


Key features: Many include integral bras and cups and a fixed underbust band so offer great support.

Ideal for: Those who want a little extra coverage and an alternative to a swimsuit.

If: You are different size on top and bottom or have a long body, tankini is the style for you.


Key features: Offer good rear coverage and standard leg cut.

Ideal for: Anyone and everyone, whatever your shape.

If: You want more coverage, opt for a high waisted brief, or for lighter coverage choose a tie side option.


Key features: Tie sides that are generally adjustable making them a flexible fit option.

Ideal for: All body shapes and those wanting only light coverage.

If: For more support and coverage, choose a high waisted or classic style.


Key features: Flattering coverage and some include shape control too.

Ideal for: All body shapes and those wanting extra hold.

If: You want lighter coverage opt for a tie side or classic style option.

Laura Barrett

Having styled for celebrity magazine shoots and written for many lifestyle brands, Figleaves Content Editor Laura Barrett is on hand to offer fashion news, style inspiration, trend updates and collection reviews.