Why, hello there! Welcome to our series of posts about how to highlight your favorite body parts with the right swimwear. We’re kicking off (har har) this new segment with the legs, since they will undoubtedly be revealed no matter what swimsuit you choose.
If you’re wondering whether a two-piece or one-piece bathing suit would be more flattering for your pins, we have good news: both of these styles can work. One-piece swimsuits and monokinis can be just as leg-lengthening as bikinis, so go with whatever your natural preference is. In terms of your legs, it’s the cut of the swimsuit that’s more important, not the number of pieces it has.
Read on for tips, tricks, and of course, all the swimsuits you’ll want to pick up if you plan to proudly display your gorgeous gams at the beach.
High Rise, High Cut Bikini: Why It Works
Like we said, it’s the proportions of your swimsuit matter most, and the combination of a high-rise waist and a high-cut hip on a bikini is particularly desirable if you’re in love with your legs.
Why? First, a high-cut hip exposes more leg, extending the line of leg higher and making it look longer. Then there’s the inherent symmetry to a high-cut hip/high-rise waist bikini––the high-rise waistline balances out the bareness of all that leg. Effectively, this design gives more airtime to the parts that you want to show off and less to the ones that you don’t.
While you may remember these sorts of bikinis from the height of their popularity in the 1980s and early 1990s, we’re happy to report that the high-cut hip/high-rise waist design is looking seriously chic and ready to dominate this season.
Option 1: Ribbed Aqua Bandeau High Cut Bikini
A perfect example of the retro revival: the Ribbed Aqua Bandeau High Cut Bikini. This two-piece swimsuit has all of that slick vintage appeal, thanks to multiple factors including the ribbed fabric, a bandeau-style top, and a high-rise banded waist. The bold aqua tone is projecting serious late 80s Miami vibes in all the right ways, making us want to reach out for that suntan oil and paint our toenails in cotton candy pink.
Option 2: Green And Leafy Ruffled Strappy Bikini
In contrast, the Green And Leafy Ruffled Strappy Bikini is a completely new type of two-piece swimsuit. It still has the high-rise waist/high-cut hip silhouette for maximum leg exposure, but with a mix-and-match look that’s less expected. We love the irreverent mashup of a solid ruffled bikini top, a tropical leaf-print bikini bottom, along with the ladder-like straps at the sides and the decolleté––it all makes for an airy and lighthearted look, if that’s your beach game.
Option 3: Tricolor Striped Triangle Bikini
The Tricolor Striped Triangle Bikini, with its simplified silhouette and classic striped pattern, marks another way to keep those legs in full view. Similarly cut as the other bikinis we name-checked above, this two-piece is decidedly brazen––and bare. This bikini’s high-rise is accompanied by very minimal fabric coverage in the front and back, so you’ll want to be on good terms with your waxing esthetician before you pop it on. While it’s not for the timid, this two-piece is ideal for jutting out your hip bones and avoiding tan lines.
One-Piece With Cutout Sides: Why It Works
You didn’t think we’d leave one-piece swimsuits out of this conversation, did you? No way! A one-piece bathing suit can be just as leg-enhancing as a bikini, especially if it’s cut higher up on the hips.
Another trick to make the eye believe your leg is longer than it actually is: side cutouts. Because there’s skin exposed right above the hip, the eye is drawn upwards, giving the impression that your legs go on forever…or more specifically, that they extend beyond the trunk of the swimsuit.
Option 1: White O-Rings Cutout One-Piece Swimsuit
If you’re torn between a bikini and a one-piece swimsuit, try a monokini with a side-serving of drama like the White O-Rings Cutout One-Piece Swimsuit. The mood here is Mod, thanks to the stark white color and oversized ring hardware, which gives this swimsuit an added 60s-inspired spin. The cutouts at the sides only hint at what’s happening in the back––this flip side of this suit is as exposed as any bikini.
If you’re more of a maillot kind of girl who wants the same leg-lengthening effect as a high-cut bikini but with more coverage, the Ribbed Yellow Cut Out Scoop Back One-Piece Swimsuit ticks all the boxes. It features side cutouts and a high-cut leg, but the back is all one piece for a subtler look. The sunny yellow shade is on track to be the color of the season, so you’ll be spot-on trend-wise, too.
Option 3: Bright Day Shirring One Piece Swimsuit
When you want to play with proportion in a glam and daring way, it’s got to be the Bright Day Shirring One Piece Swimsuit. The ultra-ultra-ultra-high-cut leg here extends right up to the waistline, with straps at the hips that preview what’s waiting around the back. The cheeky, web-like, bum-cleavage-revealing posterior of this swimsuit look right at home on the beaches of Copacabana and South Beach. The nearly-neon orange color illuminates your skin and looks especially lovely on medium to dark tones.
Low Rise, High Cut Bikini: Why It Works
If you’re more into low rise than high waist, no problem. Either swimsuit style can accentuate the legs if the proportions are right. For example, a high-cut hip will pull the focus towards your legs whether you’re sporting a low-rise or high-waist bottom.
The added advantage of a low-rise bikini is that you can situate the sides higher up on the hips as needed; high-rise bikini bottoms aren’t as easy to adjust. This style of bikini has always been popular, if slightly upstaged in favor of boy shorts and other low-slung designs in the past few years. We’re psyched it’s back with a vengeance this season!
Looking for a low-rise bikini that gives you legs for days? You’ll find your match in the Light Green Floral Low Rise High Cut Bikini Bottom. This avocado-hued pick features artistic illustrations of daisies all over, a sweet counterpoint to the spiciness of the cut. Since this bottom is sold as a separate, you can choose from two different (but coordinating) bikini tops to pair with it: a knot-front bralette or a simple bandeau. Or style it with a bikini top in a contrasting print, depending on your tolerance for intentionally clashing boho-inspired looks.
Option 2: Zebra Double Straps Bikini
For fans of coordinated bikinis, we’ll direct you towards the Zebra Double Straps Bikini instead. With its high-cut hip and low-rise waist, the solid black bottom has all the leg-elongating effects you’re looking for, with additional surprises in store. The bikini’s top is a pastiche of solid and zebra print, alluring cutouts, and additional decorative straps. Somehow, this not only makes sense together but also looks fierce, too.
String Bikini: Why It Works
The pared-down appeal of a string bikinis is undeniable: a classic triangle top and string bottom is simple, elegant, and always in fashion. The string bikini is also a great option if you like to showcase the leg as your favorite physical attribute.
String bikini bottoms elongate your stems by removing visual obstacles, allowing the eye to see more of the leg at once without the distraction of extraneous fabric or decorative details. We do have a word of advice, though: for a string bikini to make the most of your legs, you’ll want to avoid wearing the bottom slung too low on the hips.
With self-tied string bikinis, you also control the fit yourself. This helps the wearer to avoid being “cut off” in any weird places, something that can happen with other types of bikinis, tank suits, and one-piece swimsuits alike. Simply tie the sides where they’ll flatter your figure the best.
Option 1: Printed Shells String Bikini
Possibly the most fun you can have with such a pared-down design, the Printed Shells String Bikini channels mermaid vibes galore. Yes, the seashells on the triangle top are attention-grabbing, but it’s those self-tying sides on the bottom that hold the key to highlighting your gams. This is the bikini to pack for your next beach vacation, since it practically begs to be paired with a sandy tush and a tropical drink.
Option 2: Green String Bikini
Purists will love the simplicity of the Green String Bikini, which features a string silhouette, but with fixed straps at the sides. The vibrant color makes a wearable departure from the traditional colors usually on offer for string bikinis (such as solid black and solid white) and doesn’t conflict with the minimalist styling at all. Position the string sides high on the hips to bring out the full length of the leg, without all the fuss of tying and retying the straps a million and two times.