Boyleg Swimsuit: Definition, Styles & More

What is a boyleg swimsuit?

A boyleg swimsuit refers to a style of women’s swimsuit featuring a specific shorts-style bottom with legs extending to the mid-thigh. Similar to regular swim briefs, boyleg bikini bottoms offer fuller coverage in the rear than a traditional string bikini yet still reveal the thighs and hips.

Boyleg suits get their name from the “boy shorts” style leg openings which mimic shorts and provide more fabric than a standard bikini. The fabric skims over the hips and rear while the legs hit at mid-thigh, covering more skin than a brief or cheeky bikini.

Below are the characteristics of a boyleg swimsuit bottom:

  • Inseam length of 3 to 5 inches, landing mid-thigh
  • Bottom coverage over the rear, not exposing bottom curves
  • Fitted silhouette hugging hips/thighs without major looseness
  • Leg openings with straight, clean edges, no ruffles/frills
  • Waist hitting below the navel, not high-waisted
  • Side fabric fully covering outer hips and rear end

Why is it called a boyleg swimsuit?

Boyleg swimsuits get their name from the loose, boy short-style leg openings which mimic men’s boxer shorts in a shorter length. The roomy leg design originates from men’s swim trunks and board shorts which feature loose legs for ease of movement.

Bringing this loose silhouette to women’s swimwear resulted in the boyleg style bottom. The roomier legs offer women more coverage than a traditional brief while maintaining a body-skimming silhouette that flatters curves. The looser leg shape coupled with the shorts-length fit lent itself to adopting the “boy short” moniker, later modified to “boyleg” in women’s swim lingo. The roomy legs keep these bottoms decidedly less cheeky than other cuts.

The boyleg swimsuit bottom ultimately transfers the comfortable fit and athletic functionality of men’s swim trunks to flatter the feminine figure. The styling nods to men’s shorts while tailoring adapts this silhouette for a woman’s curves. This versatile shorts-inspired style with legs halfway between a bikini and board shorts lent the perfect name: boyleg.

Different styles of boyleg swimsuits

Full rear coverage boyleg – This more modest style of boyleg swimsuit bottom extends the fabric to fully cover the rear. It resembles boys’ swim shorts or briefs. The extra fabric avoids exposure while still contouring the hips and rear shape.

Moderate rear coverage boyleg – A middle ground between full coverage and a thong, moderate coverage boyleg swimsuits curve under and around the rear cheeks with a 2-4 inch rise. The curved leg and rear shape showcase a woman’s contours in a flattering way.

Low rise boyleg – A low rise boyleg sits below the navel, between 1-3 inches below the belly button. The lower waist elongates the torso and legs.

High cut boyleg – The leg openings on a high cut boyleg swimsuit extend toward the hip bones, sitting at or just below the crease between the thighs and hips. This style reveals the outer curves of the rear while still covering the actual cheeks. The inner crease of the rear remains concealed.

Ruched boyleg – This boyleg swimsuit uses ruching or gathered, pleated fabric through the hips to add fullness over the rear and upper thighs. The ruching creates a slimming effect for curvier figures by concealing bumps and areas prone to muffin-topping.

Faux-wrap boyleg – The front waistline features an asymmetrical cut with one side extending longer, mimicking a twist or wrap effect. But the boyleg bottom remains fully intact on the sides and rear. The faux wrap look slims the waistline and flatters the abs.

High-waisted boyleg – This retro-inspired boyleg swimsuit rises to the natural waistline or slightly above, 2-3 inches above the navel. The higher cut provides more torso coverage and accentuates hourglass curves.

Sarong boyleg – A lightweight sarong wrap made of sheer fabric covers the front waist and hips of the boyleg swimsuit bottom. It attaches at the sides leaving the rear exposed.

Pocket boyleg – Side pockets are sewn onto the outer thighs of the boyleg swimsuit, functioning like shorts. Zippered pockets allow securing keys and cash for ocean dips.

Rashguard boyleg – A rashguard shirt extends down past the waistband to fully cover the stomach above a boyleg bikini bottom. The rashguard adds sun protection on the midriff.

Patterned boyleg – Vibrant all-over prints and bold colors upgrade the boyleg’s aesthetic beyond basic black and solid hues. Popular prints include floral, abstract, graphic, and animal prints.

How should a boyleg swimsuit fit?

For ideal comfort, support and opacity, the boyleg swimsuit must encapsulate your frame smoothly without restriction.


The suit’s upper banded edge should circulate your natural waistline, not digging into soft tissue. High enough to conceal the navel on longer torsos. The fabric feels secure, not loose.


Fabric should lie flat across the stomach without gapping or squeezing areas like under the bust or tummy. No pinching occurs at the sides from poor elasticity. Breathing unencumbered.


Buttocks feel fully supported through the rear without half moons peeking through leg holes. Bottom edge follows the underside gluteal curve. Minimal visibility of cleavage lines.

Thighs Outer thigh exposure hits around midway between hip and knee joints. Hemline runs horizontally. Legs accommodate muscular shape without constriction behind knees or rubbing inner thighs.

Crotch Depth

Adequate interior room exists for the crotch without too much excess fabric bunching. Front liner prevents revealing anatomy, even when wet. Rear accentuates curves minus unflattering divots.

Pros and cons of boyleg swimsuits


  • Flattering fit for many figures – The boyleg’s medium leg and waist coverage complements wider ranges of body types versus tiny bottoms. Fuller seats and thick thighs are comfortably contained.
  • Covers and shapes rear – Boyleg bottoms obscure less desirable backside areas but still enhance its curve through strategic seams and pattern placement. The coverage builds confidence.
  • Stomach slimming effect – Boyleg cuts draws eyes up through strategic color-blocking and ruched waist detailing to slim the midsection visually.
  • Freedom of movement – More fabric allows a greater range of motion and activity versus skimpy bottoms prone to riding up. Active water sports like paddleboarding are enabled.
  • Protects sensitive skin – Added coverage shields delicate bikini zones prone to razor irritation from exposure to sun and friction. Minimal tan lines.
  • Conceals imperfections – The boyleg obscures cellulite, scars, stretch marks and other blemishes women may feel self-conscious about displaying.
  • Retains warmth in water – The leg coverage retains body warmth during cooler water activities compared to briefs.
  • Quick drying fabric – Swim-friendly fabrics shed moisture quickly after pool and ocean wear to maximize comfort.


  • Tan line challenges – Boyleg bottoms create distinct tan lines on the thighs which some view as unfeminine. Their fuller seat can also leave a visible panty line.
  • Not sexy for some – For women who embrace tiny bikinis, the boyleg provides too much coverage to show off assets or impress a partner.
  • Conceals leg shape – Hiding upper thighs and their natural shape shortens leg length visually for a less flattering effect.
  • Traps moisture – More surface fabric tends to trap moisture against the body after swimming versus low-cut briefs that bare skin.
  • Rides up – When wet, boyleg bottoms often ride or wedge up into private areas, requiring frequent adjusting.
  • Limited coverage options – Few boyleg styles plunge as low up top as triangle bikini tops. Busty women may struggle finding adequate bra coverage.
  • Can dig in – Thicker seam edging and elastic bands around boyleg leg openings occasionally dig into flesh, causing chafing and irritation over time.
  • Not age appropriate for all – While popular among Gen X and millennials, younger and mature women may view boylegs as unflattering or outdated.

How much coverage do boyleg swimsuits typically provide?

Boyleg swimsuits provide medium coverage compared to other swimsuit styles, with more fabric than a bikini but less than a one-piece. The hallmark of boyleg bottoms is the modest hip and rear coverage from their boyshort-inspired design. Compared to skimpy bikini cuts, boylegs offer far more coverage and security for the bottom half. The extra fabric through the seat and hips allows boyleg wearers to move and play without fear of exposure. The shorts-style cut provides protection for the delicate bikini line region as well. The loose legs are also more forgiving and flattering for curvier hip and thigh shapes versus clingy briefs.

Price ranges for boyleg swimsuits

With their simple, classic styling, boyleg swimsuits are available at nearly every price point to suit any budget, they can be found at moderate prices to keep you stylish poolside without breaking the bank.

Value: $15-$50 – Major retailers sell basic boyleg bikinis and tankinis for under $50. Limited colors, mostly solids and classic black/navy. Budget-friendly for casual wear.

Moderate: $50-$100 – Mainstream brands offer sporty boyleg swim bottoms with mix-and-match options from $50-$100. Larger size ranges, more colors/prints and details like contrast stitching.

Quality: $100-$200 – Specialty retailers stock high-quality designer boyleg suits ranging $100-$200. Premium Italian fabrics, flattering construction, and unique globally-inspired prints define this tier.

Luxury: $250+ – Haute couture boyleg swimwear from designers retail over $250. Handcrafted detailing, custom European fabrics, and application elevate these suits into luxury territory with investment price tags.

Should I wear boyleg swimsuits?

Boyleg silhouettes work well for certain figures:

  • Curvy frames – The higher cut legs balance fuller hips and rear while the skirt elongates the torso.
  • Athletic builds – Boyleg suits smooth and contour lean muscle.
  • Tall women – The high cut legs visually extend the legs on taller frames.

The advantage of boyleg swimsuits is blending modesty with subtle sensuality thanks to strategic cutouts. The high-cut legs, scooped rear view, and bare sides project classy allure without overexposure.

Women uncomfortable baring much skin may still feel confident in boyleg cuts. The fuller seat coverage prevents visibility issues common in tiny bikini bottoms. And the retro-inspired style channels vintage Hollywood glam.

In general

✔️ Wear boyleg suits if you:

  • Have an athletic, curvy or tall body type
  • Plan relaxed poolside activities
  • Prefer a bit more coverage than bikinis

❌ Avoid boyleg suits if you:

  • Are petite or boxy in build
  • Need performance for intensive sports
  • Really want to show lots of skin

Do boyleg swimsuits offer any sun protection?

The boyshorts’ design offers more fabric coverage over vulnerable areas like the upper thighs, rear, and hips. By covering more surface area, boyleg bottoms shield these areas from direct sun exposure versus skimpy bottoms. The boyshort’s extra fabric creates a protective barrier.

Since boylegs sit higher on the hips than low-rise bikini cuts, they protect the lower waist and hip bone regions which often get missed by bikini tan lines. The higher boyshort waist prevents burning and odd tan lines on the bikini line and stomach.

By covering more skin, boyleg swimsuits reduce risk of painful sunburn, especially on tender areas like the inner thighs. Their increased fabric density absorbs more UV rays before they penetrate skin. So wearers avoid the painful burn and peeling that can occur on bare thighs and rear sitting directly on hot concrete or deck surfaces.

The boyshorts offer tan line advantages as well by providing a more even, consistent tan. Their coverage prevents the stark contrast between tanned/untanned zones. The boyshort length creates a flattering, gradual tan line blending the thighs, hips and torso.

However, boyleg swimsuits still expose the shoulders, upper back, décolletage, and most of the legs. So wearers should remember to apply liberal sunscreen on these areas not shielded by the shorts’ coverage. And reapply frequently after swimming.

For maximum sun protection, boyleg bikini tops should offer moderate coverage over the bust and underarms, not just tiny triangles. Pairing boyshorts with a modest crop top creates a cute, shielded look.

Sophia is a Los Angeles-based writer who covers pop culture, gender, media, history, and plus-size fashion. With her keen eye for detail and a unique perspective, Sophia's writing captures the essence of the world around us, bringing it to life through her words.

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