Tankini vs. One-Piece: What’s the Difference?

There was once a time when women had only two choices for bathing suit styles: The two-piece or the one-piece. About a decade ago, that all changed with the birth of the tankini.

If you’re not familiar with the tankini, we are about to get you acquainted. It’s the perfect suit for someone who is not quite ready to delve into a bikini but also wants a little more freedom and variety than a one-piece can offer. Read on to learn more! 

What Is a Tankini? 

The name tells a lot about this distinct style of swimsuit. As a hybrid of a two-piece and a one-piece, the tankini is technically a two-piece bathing suit, but it doesn’t necessarily look like one.

The name for this type of swimsuit comes from the words “tank top” and “bikini,” which can be a little confusing. A tankini does not necessarily have to have tank-top-style straps. Some are halter, string, or even bandeau style with no straps at all. 

Where tankinis really shine is in coverage and comfort. A tankini covers the tummy and lower back area, which many women appreciate. The bottoms, however, are still separate from the tankini top, which sets this suit apart from a traditional one-piece.

What Are the Advantages of a Tankini?

You might be wondering why someone would want to buy a bathing suit that looks like a one-piece but is actually a two-piece. The answer is simple: comfort and function. You might hear tankinis sometimes referred to as rashguards, but whatever they’re called, they’re definitely a great choice for a suit! 

Ability To Mix and Match Sizes

Those of us who are a little top or bottom-heavy can rejoice in the tankini! If you are purchasing separates, you can buy a large top and medium bottoms, or whatever sizes you need to feel comfortable in your suit. This would not be possible with a one-piece, and a regular bikini might not have the coverage you’re looking for.

More Flexibility in Mixing Colors

With two pieces, you have more opportunities to mix and match colors and patterns if you desire. Doing this also ensures you can have several different looks in only two bathing suit sets. 

For example, if you were to buy a navy and white polka dot tankini top with plain navy bottoms and a solid red tankini, you could mix and match all of those different pieces to create different looks. This is especially great if you are spending a lot of time at the pool and want to keep it fresh.

Easier Bathroom Trips

We are not trying to be cheeky or ill-mannered, but everyone has to go to the bathroom sometimes. While we love the simplicity and style of a one-piece suit, it is a little trickier to get out of when you have to make a trip to the bathroom or even just change.

Having separate bottoms makes things that much easier when you are already wet and sandy at the beach. 

A Different Kind of Comfort

Now, for some people, the one-piece suit is absolutely comfortable and perfectly fine! However, they don’t work for every single body type. Some people have long torsos, and for them, a one-piece suit is just a wedgie waiting to happen.

Some people are pear-shaped and don’t find the bottom half of a one-piece suit to be very comfortable. A tankini offers the coverage of the one-piece but is a bit more forgiving when it comes to different body types

This doesn’t even factor in the notion that many people are more mentally or emotionally comfortable when a bit more covered up. With a tankini, comfort is key. 

What Is a One-Piece Swimsuit?

Now that we have gone over the more elusive tankini top swimsuit, let’s return once again to the old standby, the classic: the one-piece suit. 

One-piece swimsuits have always been popular. Many people love the fact that you can maintain a degree of modesty and comfort, and they are also best for more athletic activities. After all, you don’t see Olympic swimmers and divers wearing string bikinis.

This type of suit is aptly named, as it is just one piece of clothing rather than two like the tankini. In the past, one-piece swimsuits have gotten a bad rap for being thought of as a “mom” option for women’s swimwear. In actuality, one-piece suits can be chic, sexy, and still practical.

​​One-piece swimsuits, like two-piece swimsuits, are available in a number of styles, from the standard tank top to a ruffled top, a wrap front, tie-side, halter, or strapless. There is even a style of one-piece called a “monokini” that blends the sexy style of a bikini with the simplicity of a one-piece. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are swim dresses for optimal coverage. The sky's the limit! 

Benefits of Wearing a One Piece Swimsuit

Believe it or not, some of the benefits we discussed with the tankini carry over to the one-piece. Still, there are some specific benefits that really apply mostly to the one-piece bathing suit.

Ease and Convenience

One-piece swimsuits may appeal to women for reasons other than simply style. Because the one-piece is, well… just one piece, you won't have to worry about matching separates or having several different tops and bottoms. 

You might also find them comfier than two-piece suits because you don't have to bother with the bottoms falling off or riding up.

Undeniable Athletic Advantage

Though tankinis are a good choice for those who are active, the one-piece still takes the trophy for the most athletic suit. You can maintain that effortlessly stylish aesthetic even while being able to participate in a variety of beach and pool activities. 

As long as you have a well-fitting suit, you won’t need to worry about constantly having to readjust your swimsuit when you have been moving around a lot, which is a problem for some two-piece suits. 

Hanging With the Kids and Grandkids

Whether you are the type of adult who just loves to get down on your hands and knees to build sandcastles with the kids, or you grin and bear it while wishing you could just relax and read your book, you definitely don’t want to be playing in the sand with a skimpy, uncomfortable suit.

Wearing a one-piece is super practical when it comes to kids because those adorable little buggers have energy like you wouldn’t believe!

Conclusion: Which Suit To Choose?

When it comes down to it, the decision between tankini and one-piece is all personal preference. Some prefer the ease of one-piece when it comes to simplicity of design, while others like the customizability and mix and match possibilities for the two-piece tankini. 

Both suits have pros and cons, so it’s just a matter of finding what works for you. Happy swimsuit shopping! 


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