It should be noted that choosing a swimsuit to wear to an event is a completely different animal than simply choosing what clothes to wear. There’s a much larger margin for error if you don’t have a sense of bikini etiquette. Choosing the wrong style can potentially ruin your image for as long as a bad memory lasts.
Having said that, if you know how to fit the suit to your body AND the occasion, you will sway the opposite way and leave people with pleasant memories of your confident and tasteful selection in swimwear.
The truth is, there is a time and a place for every style of swimsuit; some are limited, and some are universally accepted. Ultimately, it’s up to you to make the right call on what’s appropriate and, even more so, what will make a fantastic lasting impression.
The universal rule of thumb is to choose a swimsuit that matches the destination.
Would you wear shorts and flip-flops to your best friend’s wedding? Obviously not. It’s a matter of tact and etiquette when it comes to figuring out the right type of outfit to wear. The same goes for swimwear. You need to match the suit with the occasion. Here are a few pointers on how to choose a swimsuit for some of the most common types of events and situations.
The Office Party
Work-related events can be a tricky situation to navigate if you’re not aware of the subtleties of swimwear etiquette. As much as you may not care what people think, you need to consider the lasting impression you make professionally. Pool parties and beach parties can seem like a harmless way to kick back but too much-exposed skin and you could lose respect and the professional image people have of you.
Keep it sporty
The trick to office parties is to keep it simple and sporty. Even though you may feel fantastic showing off your goods, you don’t want your goodies to be the first thing your co-workers think of every time you speak or walk into the office.
Sporty suits are destined to be a hit because they are supportive, provide adequate coverage, and are still very figure-flattering. If you’re not prepared to play volleyball, toss a Frisbee, or jump in the pool, you’re probably not wearing the right choice of bathing suit.
Avoid devastating wardrobe malfunctions
If you can be active without a boob popping out or a strap breaking, you’re in the right category of office party swimsuit attire. It’s advisable to avoid wearing bikinis or swimsuits with straps that tie up in the back or on the waist.
Don’t give the drunk jerk any opportunity to cross the line and pull one of your ties to reveal your goods. The right choice of a classic one-piece can look fantastic on every gal, and they’re super safe from wardrobe malfunctions and line-crossing jerks.
Stay classy and confident
Want to be sure you’ve made the right choice? Here’s a qualifying question to ask yourself before you decide on your outfit:
Do stilettos complete the outfit?
If the answer is yes, then you have picked the WRONG attire for an office party. Nothing that looks sexy is appropriate. Make sure you’re not attracting the wrong kind of attention. Looking good in a bathing suit and being appropriate is not exclusive of themselves. Be tasteful, be smart, and above all, be professional.
Vacations with your significant other
Ahhh… the dream situation that we live for… A sunny destination with the object of your affection! Here is where sexy lives, and you can get as creative or risqué as the situation allows. If you’re with your man, you can let loose and put on all the showstoppers you want!
Wear a suit that screams confidence
Of all people, you should know what your honey likes. This means that you can explore any fashion trend that you know will float his boat and tickle his fantasies.
When you’re rocking the latest style that appeals to his deepest urges, you can bet your cheeky swimsuit you’ll feel a surge of confidence when he can’t keep his eyes (or hands) off of you.
Choose a style that trending
Cheeky swimsuits are a timeless style that’s here to stay. The definition of “cheeky” means more coverage than a Brazilian bottom but less than a full-coverage swimsuit. You can get a cheeky one-piece swimsuit and still be super classy and respectful for whatever resort you’re staying in.
Or you can don the ever-flirtatious Brazilian bikini and rock his socks off with all your curves. Make sure he feels comfortable with you in all your awesomeness-because it won’t be just him that’s checking you out. If your man is a bit insecure or the jealous type, it might be a little overwhelming for him to see you more exposed than usual.
Beachwear and poolside attire in a foreign country
Travelling is always exciting when you’re headed to a place with warm weather and you know you’re going to be beach-bound. You do, however, need to consider whether or not you’re breaking any cultural limitations that could cast you outside the boundaries of what’s acceptable.
Put all fashion trends aside
It’s not that you can’t wear the latest trends, but you can’t prioritize your selection based on what Kylie Jenner’s wearing in her latest Insta post.
Most European countries are down with showing skin. You can comfortably wear Brazilian bikinis knowing you won’t be the only one on the beach showing some cheeks. The same goes for any country that’s generally liberal with sexuality or cities where the beach is a huge part of the lifestyle.
Err on the side of caution
Visiting a Middle Eastern country like Saudi Arabia or Iraq might not be in your top 5 vacation destinations, but wearing the wrong thing there could get you tossed in jail.
Obviously, it’s a little on the extreme side, but the point is that if you’re not sure of what the norm is, wear something that’s universally accepted.
A one-piece bathing suit is always a safe bet to throw on with your sunnies and flip-flops. Think incognito and have the ability to blend into a crowded beach without causing an uproar or singling yourself out.
In-law events and family functions
When it comes to attending family events at the in-laws (or potential in-laws), choosing the right bathing suit is a no-brainer decision. You can get away with a bikini, but make sure you have a full coverage bottom, and your top isn’t luring your brother-in-law into conversations about breastfeeding.
Above all, avoid causing any strong reactions. The last thing you want is to cause a disturbance because of your choice of swimwear. An in-law function is one place you don’t want to push it to the limits.
Exercise “community center” pool rules
Unless your family resembles the Kardashians, you should be thinking PG-13 all the way. The Y specifically states in their bikini etiquette that your bathing suit should cover everything your underwear covers. Thongs are not included!
Keep your creases and curves inside your choice of swimwear. It’s not the time for celebrating your deliciousness. Too much skin exposure puts you at risk of being shunned by the females and ogled by the males. In both situations, the impression you leave at one of these events can last a lifetime, so make it a good one.
A pool party is where style and the latest trends really do matter. Social gatherings allow you the freedom to express yourself and tote the latest style and be super cute or as flirty as you want to be.
Know your audience
Like every situation we’ve already mentioned, it’s important to know your audience and read the crowd before you get to your event. If you’re going to a pool party with people who have kids or are members of a church group, you might want to reconsider the stilettos and low v neck cut-out.
Then again, if it’s at the playboy mansion or a close version of it, the sky’s the limit. Check out the top picks from the celebs and pair the perfect combination of sexy/classy to make your outfit complete.
General beachwear and style guide
At the end of the day, choosing the right swimsuit for the right occasion heavily depends on what flatters your body. Everyone has their own threshold for how much they want to show and how they want to show it. Without the overly ambitious women to go overboard, we would never have a baseline for what counts as incredibly tasteful and fashionable.
As a general rule of thumb, wear something that gives you confidence but is appropriate for the occasion. If you’re just doing a day at the beach, hit all the best style points:
- Choose the best fit for your body type
- Wear a suit that’s not dated
- Don’t be a try-hard
- Rock a sarong or cover-up for an added touch
Life is too short to worry about what people think. However, when it comes to choosing the right swimsuit for the occasion, you should be making the most appropriate selection. If you’re not sure, ask a friend (or start at the top of this article again).
The etiquette of bikini wearing
When it comes to bikini etiquette, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind. Here are some key points to consider:
- Comfort: Wear a bikini that you feel comfortable and confident in. Choose a style and fit that flatters your body shape and makes you feel good about yourself.
- Appropriateness: Consider the setting and occasion when choosing a bikini. Some situations may call for more modest swimwear, while others may be more relaxed. Use your judgment and dress accordingly.
- Respect: Respect cultural norms and customs when wearing a bikini in public. In some cultures, showing too much skin may be frowned upon. It’s important to be aware and respectful of local customs.
- Hygiene: Ensure your bikini is clean and in good condition before wearing it. Proper hygiene is important when it comes to swimwear.
- Confidence: Remember that wearing a bikini is about feeling confident and comfortable in your own skin. Embrace your body and carry yourself with confidence.
It’s worth noting that bikini etiquette can vary depending on personal preferences and cultural norms. Ultimately, the most important thing is to wear what makes you feel good and to be respectful of others.
Hopefully, by now, you have a good sense of what each situation demands, and we wish you the merriest of times in having fun in the sun!
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website's content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra's expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.