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The tankini has only recently entered the swimsuit fashion scene. It was designed to combine the modest coverage of a one-piece swimsuit with the convenience of a bikini (a woman need only remove the bottoms to use the bathroom). A tankini swimsuit generally consists of a tank-style, tight-fitting top that ends anywhere from just below the waist to the top of the hips. This top is paired with traditional bikini bottoms.

The tankini is still quite young and has not yet developed a compelling history. The tankini can, however, already claim a few renovations on its traditional style, including the ruched tankini and the camikini. A ruched tankini contains elastic sewn into the sides of the tankini top that allows for adjustable top length and greater waist definition. This particular innovation is a great boon for women with long torsos. The camikini is quite similar to the tankini in its design. However, the camikini generally pairs a more structured, camisole-type top with bikini bottoms to provide more support for women with large breasts.

While the tankini offered great hope to women at its birth into the fashion world--due to its additional concealing coverage--it is not the magic swimsuit bullet it was at first perceived to be. If worn in the wrong manner, the tankini can accentuate undesirable characteristics, just as any other swimsuit. The tankini works best for slim women with long torsos, as the tankini top can break up the torso and lend it a shorter appearance. The tankini can also be flattering on women with fuller figures. For these women, however, it is important to ensure that the bikini top and bottoms meet. A tankini top that is too tight or ends too high on the body can result in unattractive belly bulges. To find an attractive tankini fit that will flatter your body, try pairing a light-colored, ruched tankini top with darker bikini bottoms.

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