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A Guide to Different Bikini Bottom Styles

From the balmy beaches of Bali to the cerulean coves of Capri, the right summer swimsuit can have you feeling ready to take on any coastal adventure with confidence. But finding a bikini style that's stylish, high-quality, and sexy can seem like a tall order. 

Fortunately, the number of different bikini bottom styles out there means that the perfect option for you does exist. To find it, you just need a little minimalist swimwear savvy.

Knowing how a bathing suit should fit can affect the style you choose. Whether you prefer to flaunt your curves or cover up with a bit of fabric, the right swimsuit bottom is waiting to complete your seaside ensemble. In this guide, we’ll take a look at the wide world of bikini bottoms to help you find your most perfect and fabulous fit.

The High Waist

For a swim bottom that calls back to all the classy swimsuit trends of the past, look to the sleek silhouette of high waisted bikini bottoms.1 With a high cut waistband situated at your true waist or around the belly button level, this bikini bottom style is universally flattering—especially if you're lucky enough to have a natural hourglass shape. Want a little more coverage over your tummy but the flirty feeling of a thong? You can find it all with the right high waisted bikini bottom.

Thanks to their versatile design, high waist bikini bottoms can be used in conjunction with any of these bikini bottom styles:

  • Thong
  • Cheeky
  • Brief

Styling Tip - To balance the coverage, pair with a halter neck top or a bandeau. High-waisted bikini bottoms also work well with crop-style bikini tops to add that chic-retro vibe.

The Tie Side

For those who desire a personalized fit while adding a playful twist, the tie side bikini bottom is a charming choice. It features adjustable ties at the hips, allowing for a customizable fit to accommodate your body shape. This bikini bottom style is more than just a practical addition, they add a flirty detail, making it stylish and comfy at the same time! Whether you tighten them for a more secure feel or loosen them for comfort, tie side bikini bottoms are a versatile solution for your swimwear needs. With the option to adjust the coverage slightly, these bottoms strike a perfect balance between allure and modesty. 

Tie side bottoms are also perfect for mixing and matching as they complement many top styles, from bandeaus to underwire bras. Here are variations of this style that you can try according to your needs:

  • Low-rise tie side - for a more daring look
  • High-waist tie side - for more coverage

Styling Tip - Complement your side-tie bikini bottom with an embellished or ruffled top if you want to elevate the feminine vibes, or keep it simple by pairing it with a classic triangle top.

The Cheeky

When you want a little more coverage than a thong but less coverage than a brief, reach for a cheeky bikini bottom.2  Cheekys are still plenty cheeky, leaving a large portion of the lower curve of the butt cheeks exposed. A cheeky bottom typically has a wider band than a thong while still revealing a generous amount of buns to the sun.

If you want a little more definition, you can also find cheeky bottoms with stitching or ruching along the seam in the center of the backside. This feature highlights curves and adds a fun extra element to the style.

You can find plenty of variations on this cheeky bottom style as well, such as:

  • Drawstring sides
  • High-waisted cheeky bottoms
  • Cheeky bottoms with cutouts

Styling tip - Thanks to their in-between coverage, this style of bikini bottom pairs well with a wide range of swim tops from triangle to underwire, depending on the look you’re trying to achieve. Try pairing it with bikini top styles that find a similar balance of coverage.

The Thong

If sexy is your goal, a thong bathing suit bottom is the way to go. With a triangle of coverage upfront but a minimum of coverage in the back, a thong bikini bottom differentiates itself from other bathing suit bottoms with its barely-there backside.1

Within the category of thong bottoms, you might encounter a few different variations, such as:

  • Classic – The classic thong features a modest triangle of fabric in the front connected to a teeny triangle of fabric in the back. The side straps for this style of bikini bottom range in width from thin to wide, and can be fixed, tied, or adjustable with a ring.
  • Tonga – With slightly more modest coverage than the classic thong, the backside triangle of a tonga thong is usually just a little larger, covering a hint more of the upper curve of the derriere. Did we mention the difference is slight? A tonga is still a pretty skimpy, sexy bathing suit bottom.
  • T-Back/V-String/G-String – The most minimal of thongs, string thong bikinis have little to no fabric triangle at the back. Instead, the side straps are strings that come together into a single string to pass between the cheeks. Usually, this cheeky bikini bottom style also offers minimal coverage in front as well, making it the pinnacle of sultry. The difference between a t-back, v-string, and g-string has to do with the way the side straps come together above the butt.

A thong bottom is the perfect option for anyone who wants minimal coverage in the back. To ensure a perfect fit, look for a thong with adjustable side straps. As a bonus, you can also look forward to minimal tan lines.

Styling Tip: Pair with a simple top to keep the attention on the cut of the bikini bottom, or wear a matching minimalistic string top for a more cohesive look.

The High Leg

Elevate your beach day outfit with the high leg bikini bottom that’s ideal for those looking to elongate their legs and highlight their waistline while adding a touch of retro glamour. This style pays homage to the iconic silhouettes of the ‘80s and ‘90s, featuring a daring cut that rides high on the hips to create a flattering figure. It offers a modern twist on the traditional full-coverage bottoms, providing a bold look that’s seductive and sophisticated. 

High leg bikini bottoms can vary from modest to minimal rear coverage, allowing you to choose how much skin you want to expose. 

Styling Tip - To balance the leggy look, pair it with a bandeau, triangle top, or crop top. High-leg bottoms also go well with both solid colors and vibrant patterns, making them ideal for mixing and matching. You can accessorize this style with long necklaces to complement your elongated silhouette, as well as pair them with sandals or wedges to enhance the leg-lengthening effect.

The String

Meet one of the many beach vacation essentials known as the string bikini bottom: a style just as alluring as a thong but with its own uniquely sultry style. The “string” in question refers to the waistband of the bikini, which is literally a string of material, a skinny strap, or even a fabric rope.1 The front and back panels of the bottoms can be either permanently fixed to the string with stitching or attached as a slide so that you can adjust coverage to your preference.

One common variation of the string style is the tie-side bikini bottom. Tying on one or both sides, these bikini bottoms offer the maximum flexibility in terms of sizing (plus, that little bow on the side is super cute). 

For the ultimate combination of sexy and flexible, look for a string bikini bottom that features both adjustable panels and side ties.

Styling Tip -  Due to its distinct style, this bottom pairs best with a string bikini top.

Vacay in Style! Find your seaside staple now!

The Skirted

Skirted bikini bottoms strike the balance between swimwear and fashion statement and are perfect for those who seek a modest yet feminine look. The bottoms feature a built-in brief under a skirt overlay, adding a playful, flirty element to your beach look. The skirted design is not only visually appealing, but it also provides extra coverage around the hips and rear. This style is available in various lengths and styles, from mini to midi, to allow you to choose the level of coverage that makes you feel most comfortable and confident.

Styling Tip -  You can pair them with various top styles, from tankinis to halters, for a cohesive, modest, yet stylish look. This proves how skirted bottoms are incredibly versatile, allowing you to create a look that’s uniquely yours. 

The Brief

For those who prefer a cute and classic cut that suits any occasion, you won’t have to search long with the brief. 

Offering a touch more coverage than a cheeky or a thong, a bikini brief typically offers wider front, side, and back panels.2 But don’t assume brief means boring. Available in a wide variety of cuts, briefs can be a flirty, fun bikini bottom option, especially when paired with a triangle or bandeau top. 

Popular cuts that can make a classic brief swim bottom even more eye-popping include:

  • Low rise – The term rise refers to the waistband of the swim bottom. A low rise implies less coverage, less material between the belly button and the suit, and a low fit around the hips. These bottoms have a surfer-sporty vibe that never goes out of style and are a great choice if your beach day is filled with swimming, running, and beach volleyball.
  • High-leg – Offering a throwback to bikini bottom styles of the 1980s, the leg bands of high-leg and ultra-high-leg bikini bottoms curve up above the hip bone, making a dramatic arch. A pair of high-leg brief bottoms is the perfect choice if you’re looking to accentuate the length of your legs.

Styling Tip - Pair high-leg briefs with wrap tops or crop tops for a modern look. The classic briefs are versatile and can be watched with any bikini top. 

The Hipster or Low-rise

If full-bum-coverage-but-not-your-mother’s-suit sounds like a dream fit, a hipster bikini bottom may be well-suited for you. Wider around the hips than a brief but still distinctly teeny bikini, the hipster bikini bottom style has a retro flair and looks fab on all body types. 

Because of its wider side straps, the hipster is an excellent option for a flirty style that stays put despite any pool-diving or ocean-swimming activities. They pair well with just about any top but make an incredibly fantastic fit with a sportier bikini top.

Styling Tip - You can pair this with bralettes or sporty tops for a comfortable and active beach day look.

The Full-Coverage

If maximum coverage, modesty, and comfort are your top priorities, a full-coverage bikini bottom would be your ideal choice. This style offers the most coverage available to make you feel secure and supported, whether you’re sunbathing, swimming, or participating in beach sports. They also work well with rash guards for a sporty beach or pool day.

A full coverage bottom can come in various styles, including high-waisted ones that provide extra tummy control and the classic brief option for a timeless look. If you’re worried about looking too basic, details like ruching or paneling can add more style, proving that modesty and fashion can go hand in hand. 

Styling tip - Full-coverage bottoms can pair well with various top styles. But for a harmonious look, choose a tankini top or a bikini top with fuller cups and more support. For a more stylish and modern look, consider tops with bold prints, detailed textures, and intricate patterns. 

The Boyshort

At the opposite end of the spectrum from the thong bikini style is the boyshort bikini bottom. With mid-rise coverage at the waist and plenty of front and rear coverage, a boyshort bikini bottom can be attractive and functional on its own or can be used as a summer cover-up for a skimpier suit bottom.

But don’t let the coverage fool you—paired with a halter top and a pair of strappy sandals, this style of bikini bottom can be particularly cool and sexy. You’ll especially appreciate the confidence this suit offers when diving through waves or drifting on a surfboard.

Styling Tip - For a sporty look, pair it with a tankini top or a long-sleeve rash guard, making it perfect for water sports and active beach days.

How to Match Bikini Bottoms With Your Body Type

Every body is a beach body! Our guide to finding the perfect bikini bottom that matches your body is designed to empower you to feel confident and beautiful. There’s always a bikini bottom for every silhouette, whether it’s the tummy-smoothening effect of high-waisted bottoms to the high-leg cut that enhances your curves. 

Just remember that the best bikini is the one that makes you feel beautiful, so embrace and celebrate your body! Here are some tips on what bikini bottoms to wear depending on your body shape:

For Pear Body Shapes

Balance your lower-half body with eye-catching tops, like bold prints and patterns, and pair it with high-waisted or skirted bottoms. This duo can draw attention upward while offering comfortable coverage.

For Petite Frames 

Wear string and high-leg designs that elongate your legs to highlight your petite figure. To elevate the look, pair it with a bandeau or triangle top to maintain proportion and enhance your shape.

For Athletic Builds

Add more dimension by wearing a high-leg or ruched bikini bottom, and tops that provide texture or volume, like bold prints or ruffles. These elements can offer a playful vibe if you have a more streamlined body shape.

For Hourglass Figures

Use high-waisted bottoms and structured tops to emphasize your balanced proportions. You can also opt for classic bikini bottoms like briefs to enhance your natural curves, while the side-tie can allow for a more personalized fit.

Tips for Pairing Your Bikini Bottoms

Many bikini bottoms are sold as part of a set with a coordinating top, but you can also buy bottoms on their own. Purchasing separates can be a fun way to add longevity, character, and style to your swimwear look. 

When pairing bikini separates, the following tips can help create a unique, creative wardrobe:

  • Combine prints and patterns – A solid top can look stellar when paired with a printed bottom (or vice versa). Or, try mixing two different prints that share a color scheme.
  • Contrast colors – Solids in complementary or contrasting colors can look amazing together. If you’re unsure of how the colors play, brush up on your color theory with a peek at the color wheel.3
  • Pair similar shapes and coverage styles – When choosing a bikini top to match your bottoms, you have plenty of options in terms of finding the right style. However, when you pair them, aim to keep coverage consistent from top to bottom. One easy way to do this is to match the width of your straps on top and bottom.

But more than just caring for how the pairings look, ensure that you have consulted a size guide when choosing your bikini bottoms so that it will also feel good once you wear them.

Care and Maintenance Tips for Your Bikini Bottoms

To make sure that your swimwear stays in pristine condition for a long time, make sure to do the following care and maintenance tips for bikini bottoms.

  • Rinse after use - Always rinse your swimwear in cold water after using it to remove chlorine, salt, lotions, sunscreen, and other substances that can degrade the fabric over time.
  • Hand wash gently - Only use mild detergent, and hand wash your bikini bottoms gently. Avoid wringing them out to keep the shape and quality of the fabric.
  • Dry Properly - Place your swimwear in a dry and shaded area. Avoid placing under direct sunlight, which can weaken fibers and fade the colors or prints. 
  • Store in a cool and dry place - After drying, store your bikini bottoms in a drawer to avoid creasing and stretching. Separating colored swimwear can also prevent colored swimwear. 

Look Gooseberry Gorgeous in Our Seaside Collection

Whether you’re splashing on the shores of Santorini, hot-tubbing in Hanalei, or simply lounging on your backyard deck, a well-designed, high-quality bikini bottom that makes you feel confident and sexy is a must.

At Gooseberry Intimates, we’re devoted to helping you find exactly that suit and helping you learn how to wash a bathing suit.

Inspired by the island of Bali, our Seaside Collection features everything from teeny thongs to sculpted high-waisted bottoms. Our bikini bottom styles are available in alluring and saturated shades, from coconut and caramel to rosebud and peach.

Individually handmade by artisans in Indonesia, our swim bottoms are double-lined for a snug, comfortable thickness and are studded with high-end details like gold rings and extra-long ties.

So, no matter when your sunny adventures take you, take along Gooseberry’s Seaside swimwear for a look that has enough sass for your splash.


  1. WhoWhatWear. My #1 Bikini Pick in Every Category, From Thong to Full-Coverage. 
  2. Cosmopolitan. The definitive guide to every bikini bottom style: 19 top picks to shop. 
  3. Artists Network. Beginners: An Introduction to Color Theory.

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