In recent years, almost all the old swim styles have seen a resurgence. Kylie Jenner and Selina Gomez brought back the one-piece with a vengeance; fashion bloggers the world over made us fall in love with high-waisted bikinis. We’ve seen sarongs and beach pants; we’ve seen mesh and fringe; we’ve even seen neon and animal prints come back. These days, it seems everything goes when it comes to swim style — everything except tankinis.
Over the past five years, tankinis have dropped in popularity. Unofficially the swimwear of the old and infirm, tankinis are dreadfully uncool — but they hardly warrant such harsh treatment.
In fact, I’m not afraid to say it: I like tankinis.
1| Tankinis Provide Coverage and Support
There are days when I feel beautiful in my skin. There are days when I want to show off how great I look — or to prove to those around me that I don’t care what they think of my body.
Then there are days when I feel a little self-conscious, and baring my skin won’t do much to improve my self-image or confidence. Usually, these are the same days of my cycle that I bloat, and in addition to some much-needed discretion, I desperately need additional support around my chest and waist. Still, if it’s summertime, I would never miss the warm weather and cool water; instead of staying inside, I throw on a tankini.
Yes, tankinis can look frumpy and heavy — but so can the wrong bikinis and one-pieces. My tankini swimsuits are designed to provide a slimming effect through strategic ruching, compression panels, and cutouts. In fact, they look so fabulous that sometimes I opt for them even when I’m not bloaty and glum.
2| Tankinis Offer Greater Comfort
You would (rightfully) assume that most of the support of a swimsuit comes from the strap, but you might be surprised to learn that the extra fabric beneath the bust does much to lift and secure.
Tankinis are miraculous with how much reinforcement they provide during fun in the sun, especially when you compare their support to that of wireless bikini tops. When I’m wearing a tankini, I feel much more capable of running, swimming, and even lounging in unconventional positions, and I hardly ever worry about pain from movement or unintentional flashing.
Even the process of putting on and taking off a tankini is easier than that of other swimsuits. I stay away from one-pieces because I abhor the sensation of peeling the tight, cold fabric off my body; tankinis are much more comfortable in almost every instance. Many tankinis have zippers, buttons, or easy ties, so you can pull off a wetsuit without dislocating your shoulders — if you even want to take it off at all.
3| Tankinis Can Be Dressed Up
Even around the beach, most establishments loudly state “No shirt, no shoes, no service.” While all those bikini-wearing girls must scramble to pull on a T-shirt, tankini-wearers rejoice in their ability to walk in and out of shops without hassle.
Whenever I travel to the beach — i.e., whenever I expect to explore a new area while soaking up sun, sand, and surf — I wear a tankini. Then, I can wrap on a sarong, slip into flip flops, and follow my heart. Even when the sun sets, it doesn’t take much to dress up a tankini: just some chunky jewelry, some stylish beach pants, a lightweight blazer, and an up-do for my beachy hair. Conversely, you aren’t fooling anyone when you put a cardigan over a bikini.
Plus, many tankinis are just too beautiful to use only while swimming. With the extra space to play, designers use gorgeous lines and patterns that rival regular blouses and shirts. In my less proud moments, I have wondered whether I could pull off wearing a tankini everywhere I go — even in fall and winter.
4| Tankinis Are Easy to Mix and Match
The beauty of bikinis is creating your own style by mixing and matching tops and bottoms. Fantastically, that isn’t lost with tankinis. You can even toss together tankini tops and bikini bottoms, and no one will know the difference.
The versatility of tankinis is ideal for many women. For example, a pear-shaped gal can pair a flashy top with a neutral bottom to create more balance in her body. You can wear high-waist bottoms, low-cut bottoms, swim shorts, swim skirts, beach pants, or whatever makes you comfortable on any given day. For that reason — and for so many more — I will always have a few tankinis in my swim wardrobe.