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The best high waisted swimwear offers unparalleled support and style. A two piece that delivers all the benefit of a bathing suit, the high waist helps to contour and support your silhouette, while still allowing you to fill some sun on your middle.
A continued swimwear trend, high waisted swimwear delivers on style and shape. Creating an hourglass silhouette, there is something about high waisted swimwear briefs that screams old-school Hollywood glamour, that gives this modern piece of swimwear a delightfully vintage feel. Favored by starlets such as Marilyn Monroe, if you're looking to create or support curves on the beach this summer, then high waisted swimwear is the style to be shopping. With many swimwear briefs now crafted with in-built support, they can feel supportive and sexy in one hit, giving you all the confidence you need to just enjoy the weather.
“The high-waisted swimwear trend is back for good reason as it defines your waist and offers a bit more coverage in the tummy area,” says personal stylist and jewelry designer Zoé DuFour. “They’re super flattering on any body shape, super glamorous, and not just for poolside lounging.” High-waisted briefs can be full or high coverage across the bottom and have high-cut or lower legs. The style you choose will depend on the look you’re going for, as well as what makes you feel most confident. The same goes for your top half. The best swimsuit top for you might be a bust-boosting balconette, a tan-line-avoiding bandeau, or a racy plunge style and if you're buying separates, at least you can get the right fit for your top and bottom halves.
25 high waisted swimwear looks that fashion experts rate for this summer and beyond
1. Madewell Ribbed Balconette Bikini Top and Second Wave Ribbed High-Cut Bikini Bottom
Like your swimwear to be relatively no-frills? Then you’ll love this simple, understated set from Madewell. The high waisted swimwear briefs and balconette top have been given an on-trend update with ribbed fabric, and we love the deep aubergine colorway for a refreshing step away from classic black, which is not only on-trend but flattering on all skin tones. Spanning an XXS to an XXL, this bikini should fit up to a size 18, although without cup sizes this is possibly not great for larger busts. As part of the brand’s Second Wave collection, this two-piece is made from 80% recycled nylon that would otherwise have ended up in landfill. One of the best sustainable swimwear brands to stock up on this season.
2. Everlane The ReNew Plunge Triangle Top and The High Rise Hipster Bottom
American clothing brand Everlane is best known for creating on-trend pieces that are designed to stand the test of time, and its swimwear is no exception. Leopard print is a firm fashion favorite, but this zebra iteration offers a fresh take on the classic animal trend. Don’t worry if that’s not for you though, as there are four different colors to choose from too.
The plunging triangle shape of the top will enhance even the smallest busts, providing support and lift while creating subtle cleavage. As for the briefs, they sit just below the belly button, making them not the highest of swimwear briefs in this piece, but a pair that still has good coverage across a middle, as well as good bum coverage. The whole set was fit-tested on more than 100 women to ensure maximum comfort and a spot-on look.
3. Hunza G Jessica Bikini
Hunza G’s USP is its one-size-fits-most approach, made possible by its signature Original Crinkle fabric. This bikini will fit those sized between a 6 and 16 by stretching and adapting to your shape. It’s expensive, but this feature makes it an especially smart investment if you’re worried about size fluctuations. This particular design includes a pull-over plunge top with a statement diamante heart in the middle for added sparkle and interest. The high waisted swimwear brief has a real '50s feel, delivering a retro finish to the look. Sitting high on the waist, this pair gives plenty of midriff coverage to give you a smoothed and sculpted silhouette, while the leg is quite high, flashing a little extra cheek at the rear. The space blue shade is slightly bolder than navy, and our top choice for all-year-round wear. Ideal for what to pack for a beach vacation this summer, as the briefs can be paired with other bikini or tankini tops too.
4. H&M Padded Bandeau Bikini Top and Bikini Bottoms
For affordable swimwear, you can’t go wrong with Scandinavian clothing brands H&M, and for a stylish classic high waisted swimsuit you’ll wear summer after summer, black is always a strong choice. This two-piece will suit all figures but is especially good for creating the illusion of curves on athletic frames. The bandeau top has lightly padded cups (that are also removable) for shape and support, while the swimwear briefs are super high waisted to really put the focus on your middle and hips. With a slight V on the waistline, that dips under your belly button, these high waisted swimwear briefs subtly narrow your middle and elongate your frame.
5. Mango Draped Bikini Top and High-Waist Bikini Bottoms
Spanish clothing brand Mango's swimwear comes up small, which makes it a great choice for petites. We love the muted purple shade of this bikini, which manages to toe the line between vibrant but not attention-grabbing. The top is a bandeau design with ruched, gathering detailing, a great option for those looking to create a fuller bust and detachable spaghetti straps that you can keep on for support, or take off to avoid any tell-tale tan lines on your shoulders.
Featuring a mid to high waisted brief, these swim briefs finish just under the belly button, offering good support across a middle. With the same ruche detailing on the side, for a tummy skimming finish, these are particularly good if you want something to sit softy over hips.
6. Skims Shaping Swim Off The Shoulder Bikini Top and Ruched High-Waisted Bottom
Looking for something a bit fancier than your average high waisted swimsuit? Try this statement set from Kardashian-owned brand Skims. With all the glamour you might expect from Kim, the off-the-shoulder detailing adds elegance to your top half, evoking an almost gown-like aesthetic and comes with the added benefit of a V-wired neckline for lift and hold.
The high waisted briefs pack a punch too and are an update on the brand’s original Sculpting Swim High Waist Bottom that now sit lower on the legs and offer fuller back coverage and a light compression ruched panel for enhanced stomach support. Making these a riff on the best shapewear, so your silhouette will be contoured for the pool too. What we really love about Skims is its size inclusivity, from an XXS through to a 4X, making it a great choice for plus size swimwear shoppers.
7. Good American Always Fits Shoulder Bikini Top and Good Waist Cheeky
Crinkle swimwear remains a huge fashion trend for 2023. Not only does it incite some '90s nostalgia (which designers can't get enough of right now) but it adapts to your shape and won’t show any sweat marks as clearly as smooth fabric will.
This set is free from hardware like strap adjusters and back fastenings for a second-skin fit that makes it a joy to wear and the one shoulder, combined with bandeau delivers a super cool finish. The briefs are high waisted, coming up and over belly buttons for a secure fit, and the leg is cut high too, making your pins look endless.
8. Away That Day Cannes Top and Tahiti Bottom
If you’re splashing out on new swimwear, you want it to stand the test of time, and the high-quality fabrics that Away That Day use retain their just-bought look and feel wash after wash (just make sure to follow the care instructions). It’s a mix-and-match affair - which is perfect if you're a different size on the top and bottom - but we love the combination of the Cannes top and Tahiti bottoms for some pool-side elegance with a modern twist. Available up to a 3X in a host of hues, you can mix and match block colors together, or wear them with other swimwear pieces already in your closet.
With an almost regency-inspired neckline, the square silhouette, with central hardware delivers a fashion-forward feel. While the back-bow detail adds a super feminine feel. But for us it's the high waisted swimwear briefs that really make this one of the best. With a supportive waistband that will smooth and contour your shape, the side tie detail, as with some of the most successful dresses to hide a tummy, creates a narrowed silhouette for an hourglass finish, by drawing the eye up and in to your smallest part.
9. Riot Swim Eden Top and Bottoms
Feeling a little bit daring? The briefs in this high waisted swimsuit set are high-waisted but cut scantily at the back with a thong shape, for those who want a cheek tan too. It’s a similar juxtaposition on the top half, with a simple, almost crop-top shape finished off with spaghetti straps and a cut-out panel at the back. For a twist on traditional high waisted swimwear.
The fabric that Riot Swim use is a buttery soft nylon and spandex blend for a silky feel with plenty of stretch. The only downside is the sizing, with an extra large equating to a US 10 and UK 14, we're hoping for further sizes soon. In a 'digital lavender' hue, this swimsuit taps into WGSN's Color of the Year 2023 for that extra dose of trend-worthiness.
10. & Other Stories Square Neck Bikini Top and High Waist Bikini Bottoms
Prints are a great way to make a statement with your swimwear, and are particularly strong if you're looking to skim over a midriff, as the print acts as the main focus of your swimwear. The green shade gives this bikini a really fresh, summery feel that’s heightened by the addition of teeny tiny flowers as part of the ditsy print. The square neckline of the top is great for making narrow shoulders look wider, which is great for creating balance with curvier bottoms. The crop top cut also gives this set a sporty vibe, particularly when teamed with a high waisted brief. Some of the best high waisted briefs, these come up past your belly button, showing just a slither of your middle, making them ideal if you're not quite used to wearing a two piece yet, and give great bottom coverage too. Both are made from recycled fabrics for extra eco brownie points.
11. Whistles Gingham Texture Bikini Top and Bottom
Gingham or picnic checks is one of those prints that never really goes out of style, and remains popular season after season, particularly in the summer months. Ideal for swimwear as it lends itself to that summer aesthetic, blue and white is some of the most traditional for this print. The sporty crop top is great for pairing with white linen pants on the beach, or slipped under an oversized white shirt on vacation. The high waisted briefs are super cute too, crafted from a supportive yet stretchy fabric that skims your belly-button and finished with a gold tab on the side. A good amount of coverage at the back, both on your torso and across your cheeks makes this a great look for sun and sand filled days.
12. & Other Stories Underwire Balconette Bow Bikini Top and High Waist Bikini Bottoms
We love a multi-tasker, and there is more to these high waisted bikini bottoms than initially meets the eye. They can be worn in two ways – either pulled up to their full height to sit over your waist and cover your belly button, for a seriously sculpted finish, or folded down to show a flash of the contrasting lining for a hit of dopamine dressing color. The mix of bright red and hot pink is unexpected, and both really pop against each other. The top doesn’t have any hidden secrets but is no less playful, and the supportive, wired bandeau top is finished off with a cute bow between the cups for a feminine feel. Utterly charming, we picture this one working best on a sun lounger with a cocktail in hand.
13. Lululemon Waterside Pull-On Swim Top and Super-High-Rise High-Leg Swim Bottom
If you take swimming seriously, you’ll want a high waisted bathing suit brimming with technical details. This Lululemon set won’t hold you back as you hit the water, with soft fabric and four-way stretch that moves with your body. It dries fast when you’re out too, so you don’t need to worry about carrying soggy kit with you. As for the design, it’s simple, chic, and elegant with medium coverage on your bust and bottom. The buttercup yellow shade is bang on trend, spotted across numerous runways in recent shows. With '90s fashion trends very much on the agenda right now, this set plays perfectly into the retro aesthetic.
14. Reiss Cristina Wrap Design Bikini Top and High Rise Bikini Bottoms
Perhaps better known for crafting some of the best blazers and wedding guest dresses, Reiss have applied the same attention from its formalwear collection to the detail on this bikini. The high waisted briefs sit high just grazing the top of the belly button, this is teamed with a medium-rise leg offering a lightly lengthening affect. Thanks to the dark black hue, if you love these high waisted swimwear briefs, you could team them with numerous other swim tops too.
As understated as the brief is, the action is all up top, with the chic wrap design that gives your bust the perfect cleavage enhancing look, much like some of the best push up bras. The slightly shaped straps help to create a regency-core feel, while the wrap and bow at back design gives this swimsuit designer style at a straight to market price tag. Choose from white or black for a monochromatic look.
15. Lululemon Ribbed Swim Top and High-Waist Medium Swim Bottoms
Another sporty little number, this ribbed high waisted swimsuit set will look just as good on a sun lounger as it will in the pool. Lululemon sells its swimwear by cup sizes, and this bikini designed with smaller busts in mind, suited best for A to B cups. The pastel peach shade is really pretty but can look a bit wishy-washy without a tan - so one to save for the end of your vacation. With a flat fronted brief that comes high up the torso, this design mimics some of the best underwear for a midriff skimming fit. The bikini top features a small criss cross feature for added detail.
16. Ted Baker Royella Longline Floral Bikini Top and Rosaby High Waisted Floral Bikini Bottoms
Ted Baker might not be one of the first brands that spring to mind when you think of swimwear, but its small, carefully curated offering is well worth a browse. This two-piece is our top pick, in no small part thanks to the addition of one of the label’s signature floral prints. There are borrowed-from lingerie features too, especially on the bustier-esque top complete with molded cups and boning at the base that delivers a longline finish that looks oh-so-chic.
A fairly high waisted swimwear brief, these pretty floral bottoms skim the belly button and feature clever pink piping on either side of the center of the midriff. This adds attractive detailing, but all elongates your frame by drawing the eye down and along the body acting as illusion panelling.
17. Melissa Odabash Hamptons Navy Ridges Bikini
Having launched her namesake label in 1999, Melissa Odabash is considered by many as the first lady of swimwear and this chic navy two-piece is reflective of the brand’s timeless approach. With a bralette style top (complete with knot detailing), the bra top cuts away, giving you plenty of opportunity to tan to the max. The high waisted briefs are not as full as some of the briefs featured here, sitting below your belly button, but thanks to the high quality, firm fabric, you'll still feel gentle sculpting. The ribbed detailing adds a little bit of texture and interest without stealing focus from the cut and even better, the fabric boasts SPF50 protection too. Although don't forget to top up the exposed bits. Buy now, wear forever.
18. Solid & Striped The Lilo Top and Bottom
Add a nod to the '50s to your closet with The Lilo set from Solid & Striped. The underwired top has flattering demi cups for maximum cleavage, as well as removable padding if you prefer to go without them (or want to take them out for washing).
The matching briefs are plain - making them great for pairing with other bikinis during your trip. But their secret power is the narrow band at the top which helps to keep them perfectly in place and should stop them from rolling. Finishing under the belly button, these offer good amount of coverage across the front and back. The fabric quality is really good, but you’ll still need to follow the washing instructions carefully to keep the blue hue fresh.
19. Aerie Straight Scoop Bikini Top and High Waisted Bikini Bottom
The sister brand of American Eagle, what we love most about Aerie’s swimwear is the purse-friendly prices. This full-coverage, high waisted swimwear set is not only cute (we are big fans of the bold floral print) but earth-friendly too, made from 80% recycled nylon to give unwanted materials a new lease of life. The extra coverage on the bottom sees these briefs come up past the belly button, sculpting stomachs, waists and hips on the way.
The crop top cut for the upper part of the bikini gives this design a sporty and youthful feel and while the brief comes up high, you can still get plenty of sun on your main torso with this design.
20. Faithful The Brand Sol Bikini Top and Dylla Bikini Bottoms
The balconette shape and underwiring works in tandem with the supportive straps on this bikini top to shape and lift your bust without the need for extra padding. The bottom half works hard too, with a high-rise, high-leg shape that provides medium coverage and plenty of stomach support. We love that the fabric has a high-gloss sheen to it, making the geometric print look extra luxe. Just add gold jewlry and some statement eyewear from this season's sunglasses trends and you’re good to go.
21. Jade Swim Apex One Shoulder Top and Bound Bottom
Jade Swim take a minimalist approach to its designs, to create swimwear that sculpts and shapes your body. Both the top and briefs in this set are made with seamless construction so your swimwear sits flat and comfortably without any niggling seams to worry about, to give you the smoothest finish. Made in California from extra-soft nylon and spandex mix, the top is fully-lined, so you don’t have to worry about showing too much. In terms of cup sizes, a large equates to a D, and this style isn’t wired, so you may find that the fit is low on support if you have a larger bust.
As for the high waisted swimwear briefs, the seamless construction is ideal for giving your the smoothest of finishes, and coming up well past your belly button, they're ideal if you want more coverage. Available in 11 different colorways, you can rest easy about finding a color that suits you and that will mix and match with existing bikini tops, if you fall in love with the high rise design.
22. Solid & Striped The Eva Tie Ribbed Top and The Brigette Belt Ribbed Bottom
If ever there was a swimsuit that said holiday-in-the-Riviera, it’s this one. The high-waisted cut of the briefs gives this bikini a touch of old-school glamour, especially with the addition of a removable belt, which really helps to draw the eye to your middle, narrowing your waistline.
The top is great if you’re in-between sizes thanks to the adjustable halter neckline that can be loosened or tightened depending on what you need. We’re big fans of the ribbed matte fabric too, and the sky-blue shade is bang on trend.
23. Aerie Shine Pique Wide Strap Unlined Underwire Bikini Top and Crossover High-Waisted Bikini Bottom
A great choice for a hen weekend, a special birthday trip, or any time you just want to up the glamor, this set is complete with a shimmering fabric that catches the sunshine beautifully. The full-coverage cups are great for fuller busts, although this set only goes up to a DD cup, but they're ideal for creating a lovely and rounded shape.
The high waisted briefs deliver on detail, with an illusion V panel detail that creates a narrower waistline by drawing the eye in and along your frame, helping to define your frame and enhance your natural curves. We love the red shade, but there are three other shimmering options to choose from if it’s not your thing.
24. Faithful The Brand Farrah Bikini Top and Chania Bikini Bottoms
We’re suckers for a good print, and this abstract one from Faithful The Brand is one of our favorites this season. It’s the kind of bikini that doesn’t need much in the way of accessorizing, so keep your beach cover-up simple with a crisp white linen shirt (or a shirt dress worn open) and finish with your best sandals in tan.
It fits true to size, but the sizing only takes dress size, not bra cup size, into account, so if you have a larger bust, we recommend going one up from your regular size for a comfortable fit.
The high waisted briefs are high cut on the leg, giving a pin lengthening finish, although this does mean a large part of the upper thigh is exposed too, thanks to the high cut, that also sits well above the belly button, smoothing over midriffs. Slightly less coverage at the back, compared to other high waisted briefs, this set is ideal if its just a little added security and support on the stomach that you're after.
25. Frankies Bikinis Nick Floral Triangle Bikini Top and Jenna Floral High Waist Bikini Bottom
String bikini on the top, full coverage on the bottom, for many this bikini set will be the best of both, as just because you want some extra support on a midriff, doesn't mean you want or need heft structure across your bust. The halter-neck triangle top will enhance and show off your bust, while higher-coverage briefs keep your stomach and hips fully supported. The tropical floral print just screams summer, for a swimwear set that’ll make you want to book a far-flung holiday ASAP.
Are high-waisted bathing suits in style for 2023?
High waisted bathing suits are definitely a trend we’re continuing to see for 2023. In fact, this style is so popular that it feels more like an ongoing failsafe than a passing fad across all aspects of fashion. “I think as women we feel safe in high waisted styles,” says celebrity fashion stylist Ellis Ranson. “Whether it’s your jeans or bikini, we feel secure and covered up with the added bonus that they’re on trend with endless options in the shops. At one point the high waisted style felt very retro and vintage, but now more and more brands are using this shape as a staple with cuts and colors that make it feel much more modern.”
To make sure your high-waisted swimwear is really on trend, Ranson recommends also looking out for:
- Cobalt blue - “A huge trend for beachwear and a color that doesn’t feel scary to wear.”
- Lurex and sparkles - “They started to come through in 2022 but feel much bigger this season. The glittering fabric upgrades your usual staples for a more glamorous look.”
- Retro - “This is the most obvious trend and one where you’ll definitely see high-waisted swimwear.” Think '90s nostalgia all the way back to Bridgerton-inspired pieces.
What swimwear is best for defining your waist?
The best swimwear for defining your waist is anything that puts the focus on it. That could be a two-piece with high waisted briefs that sit on the smallest part of your torso, or a one-piece with a contrasting band of color or belt. The more detail here, the better. “High-waisted bikinis can help define your waist,” explains LA-based fashion stylist Robin Saperstein. “They can also help to smooth out love handles as well as hold you in. It’s sort of like what an undergarment does beneath clothes, making your stomach look smoother.” To make sure your high waisted swimwear really draws attention to your waist, make sure your bikini finishes on, or just before it. If it sits over and above your waist, it will distort your frame, and you won’t get the hourglass body shape effect that is most associated with this swimsuit silhouette.
Sign up to our free daily email for the latest royal and entertainment news, interesting opinion, expert advice on styling and beauty trends, and no-nonsense guides to the health and wellness questions you want answered.
Jess Beech is an experienced fashion and beauty editor, with more than eight years experience in the publishing industry. She has written for woman&home, GoodtoKnow, Now, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own and Chat, and is a former Deputy Fashion & Beauty Editor at Future PLC. A beauty obsessive, Jess has tried everything from cryotherapy to chemical peels (minus the Samantha in Sex and The City-worthy redness) and interviewed experts including Jo Malone and Trinny Woodall.
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