High Rise Bikini: Definition, Styles & More

What is a high-rise bikini?

A high-rise bikini is a style of two-piece swimsuit featuring a top and bottoms where the bottoms have a higher cut waistline that sits above the hips. The high-rise bikini bottom has a waistband that rests at or near the natural waist, 2-3 inches above the belly button. This is a higher rise compared to low rise and mid rise bikini bottoms where the waistline hits at the hips or just below.

Below are the characteristics of a high-rise bikini:

  • Waistband sits high on waist – Rises anywhere from 1 to 5 inches above the navel, fully covering the lower abdomen.
  • More torso coverage – Provides moderate to full coverage of stomach and hip areas compared to low-rise or Brazilian cuts.
  • Retro, vintage aesthetic – Harkens back to modest pin-up style swimsuits of the 1940s, 50s and 60s.
  • Often high-waisted – Hits at or above the natural waistline at the smallest part of the torso.
  • High cut legs – Extends high on the outer hips but not as extreme as Brazilian styles.
  • Mido or full rear coverage – Covers most or all of the buttocks.

By covering more surface area on the torso and rear, high-rise bikini bottoms create a more modest, classic pin-up look compared to skimpier modern cuts.

Different styles of high-rise bikinis

High-rise bikini bottoms encompass a range of specific styles united by their signature high waistline sitting close to the natural waist. As one of the trendiest swim looks, high-rise bottoms now come in an array of cuts catering to different coverage needs and fashion sensibilities.


Showcases curves with minimal fabric over the rear. The cheeks are partially exposed for a flirty look. Pairs a very high-cut leg with the high waist.


Skims over the contours of the rear with high-cut sides, similar to Rio-style tangas. Less coverage than a classic brief back but not as daring as a thong. The leg comes up high on the hips to elongate legs.


A happy medium with medium seat coverage in the back. Follows the natural curves of the rear and hips without massive exposure. Leg height is medium as well.

High-waisted Briefs

Mimics the fuller coverage of traditional brief bottoms applied to a high waist silhouette. The backside coverage is full and modest while the front remains high-cut on the thighs.

High-waisted Boyshorts

Combines the retro high-rise waistline with a curved boyshort leg hemline. This lengthens legs while covering more surface area over the rear and hips compared to skimpy cuts. The loose legs create a sporty short look many find comfortable and flattering.

High-rise bottoms range from very skimpy in back to quite modest. But the signature style element remains the inch or two of extra fabric encircling the waist compared to low-rise cuts.

Skirted bikini

Features a flared skirt overlay that starts at the waistband and flares over the upper hips. Provides increased rear coverage while allowing thigh exposure.

Pros and cons of high-rise bikini bottoms

High-rise bikini bottoms offer both advantages and disadvantages compared to low-rise bikini styles depending on a woman’s needs and preferences.


  • Slimming effect on the torso – The high waist draws eyes up through the midsection, making the torso appear longer and leaner. This creates the optical illusion of a slimmer core.
  • Covers stomach – The extra fabric over the stomach camouflages problem areas like the muffin top region prone to bulges in low-rise suits.
  • Hides scars – The tummy coverage conceals C-section scars, stretch marks, or other flaws women may feel conscious about. High rise cuts allow women to confidently wear bikinis after childbirth.
  • Stays put – The higher waist does not ride or shift out of place like low-rise styles. Active swimming and sports are easier without having to constantly hike up sliding bottoms.
  • Retro vintage look – From pin-up icons to 1950s swimwear, high-rise bikinis evoke glamorous old Hollywood style. The nostalgic look flatters many body types.
  • Adjustable fit – Tie-side and belted versions allow customizing the waist size for comfort. The ability to loosen or tighten the waist prevents pinching and muffin tops.
  • More daring leg cuts – With coverage in the torso, high rise bottoms can use tiny ruched back or thong cuts to show off the rear and legs.


  • Can feel constricting – The snug waistband required to stay up feels restrictive to some women who dislike the pinched sensation.
  • Causes muffin top – On the wrong fit, the tight band across the waist creates unflattering bulges and rolls above the hips rather than smoothing.
  • Less leg exposure – By covering more of the lower torso, high rise bottoms reveal less leg compared to low-rise cuts unless legs are cut very high.
  • Hides feminine curves – The extra tummy coverage also obscures the natural contours of a woman’s hourglass shape. This disguises feminine assets.
  • Aging look – For younger women, the high-rise granny panty appearance looks matronly and ages the beachgoer. Lower cuts feel more youthful.
  • Bathroom hassle – The need to pull most of the suit down to go to the bathroom can be annoying and awkward in public changing stalls.
  • Limited tan lines – Women hoping to achieve an all-over tan are denied line-free hips and abdomen the high waist covers up, leaving a distinct pattern.
  • Prone to wedgies – Stretching and activity often causes high-rise bottoms to ride up into uncomfortable positions requiring constant readjusting.

How does the waistline go on a high-rise bikini?

On a high-rise bikini, the top edge of the waistband aligns near the natural waist – where the midsection narrows above the rib cage. This creates a retro, modest pinup-style look by covering more area between the hips and torso. It gives greater torso and tummy coverage compared to a hip-hugging low rise alternative.

Below are the specifics about high-rise bikini waist placements:

  • Sits at or slightly above the natural waist indentation
  • Extends 3-5 inches above the navel
  • Hits at the bottom of the rib cage for many women
  • Creates a wide expanse of fabric between legs and torso
  • Offers increased coverage and security over stomach/navel

The exact waistline height and coverage varies by design:

  • Mid-rise – 1-3 inches above belly button
  • High-rise – 3-5 inches above navel
  • High-waisted – Toward the bottom ribs, 5+ inches above navel

How should a high-rise bikini bottom fit?

For optimal comfort, support, and a flattering look, high-rise bikini bottoms must fit properly through the waist, hips and rear. The bottom should offer ample coverage without being too loose or tight in certain areas.

Here is how a high-rise bikini bottom should fit:

Snug waistband – The waistband should fit snugly without pinching, cutting in or uncomfortably squeezing the torso. It should grip securely without sliding down. For proper support, the waist cannot be loose.

Waistband stays flat – When properly sized, the waistband should lie flat against the stomach without rolling over or creating bulges. No muffin top effect along the waistline.

Fabric skims hips/rear – Through the hip and rear areas, the bikini bottom should smoothly skim the curves without pulling too tight. A slight shaping effect is flattering without being constricting.

Ample rear coverage – Balancing a cheeky fit with modesty, the high rise bottom should adequately cover the rear, only revealing a hint of curve rather than full exposure.

Minimal gapping at legs – The leg openings should follow the lines of the body smoothly without large gaps along the thighs. No loose billowing fabric.

Fabric lays flat – Throughout the inner legs and front lining, the swimsuit material should lie flat against the skin, avoiding bunching that leads to discomfort.

Stays put during motion – The bottoms should retain their positioning, never riding up or sliding down with body movements. The fit should move naturally with the wearer.

No pinching or binding – From all angles, the suit should not dig into, pinch or bind areas like the inner thigh, rear crease or hip flex points. Pressure indicates improper fit.

Wrinkle-free appearance – The exterior fabric should be taut enough to avoid wrinkling which detracts from a smooth silhouette. Some ruching/gathering at the waist may intentionally add shape.

Should I wear high-rise bikini bottoms?

High rise bikini bottoms appeal to women seeking midsection control and a leg lengthening effect from their swimsuits. But the dramatic raised waistline also has downsides. Consider these factors when deciding if high rise bikini bottoms suit your needs:

Body type

The extended waistline flatters rectangle or ruler figures lacking definition at the waist. It also slims broader stomachs and thick middles. But pear and hourglass shapes already defined at the hips may not need waist enhancement.

Tummy control

If desiring to smooth the stomach or shape an undefined waistline, the built-in tummy control of a high rise offers sculpting power. But if your midsection is fairly flat, a regular bikini bottom may suffice.

Leg lengthening

The higher cut waistline has an elongating effect on the legs, making them appear slimmer and longer. This works well for shorter women or those with thicker, shorter thighs.

Torso proportion

Lower rise bottoms can shorten a long torso while high rise helps balance a proportionately short torso. Factor in your torso-to-leg ratio when considering rise height.

Midriff self-consciousness

If wanting to cover or deemphasize the stomach region, the extra waistline coverage of a high rise matches this goal.

Muffin top prone

The tummy control panel built into most high rise bikini bottoms contains and smoothes any unsightly midsection bulging or love handles.

Retro aesthetic

The vintage pin-up vibe and cheeky rear coverage of high rise bottoms create a chic, fashion-forward look.

Athletic activity

The snugger fit and stay put waistband provides security during sports or rigorous water play. You won’t have to keep pulling it up.

Tanning purposes

The extra waist fabric can leave an unwanted tan line and inhibit even tanning of the torso.

How much coverage does a high-rise bikini typically provide?

A high-rise bikini bottom provides significantly more coverage than a traditional low-rise or mid-rise bikini style. The waistline on a high-rise bikini sits at or above the natural waist, generally reaching 1-3 inches above the belly button. This creates a waistband that frames the narrowest part of the waist while also covering the entire stomach area.

In contrast to low-rise bikinis that sit very low on the hips or mid-rise cuts that land right at the belly button, high-rise bikini bottoms conceal the entire navel and abdominal region. The extra fabric through the midriff acts like a built-in shapewear liner to slenderize the waistline and flatten the tummy.

The ample coverage of a high-rise bikini creates a very modest overall look compared to skimpier low or mid-rise cuts. While those bottoms serve up daring displays of hip, thigh and derrière, the retro high-rise bikini keeps things elegantly covered. The full seat contains the rear while the high waistband keeps the stomach and navel discreetly hidden.

However, high-rise bikini bottoms needn’t look matronly. Strategic sheer mesh panels, sexy hardware details, and cheeky rear silhouettes prevent the voluminous coverage from seeming dowdy. Cutouts, lace-ups and slimming seams maintain allure. Fashion-forward patterns and textures also inject youthful vibrancy into modest high-rise cuts

Can I swim comfortably in a high-rise bikini?

High-rise bikini bottoms certainly allow comfortable swimming, but they may work better for casually lounging poolside versus intensive water sports.

The higher waist positioning and fuller coverage of a high-rise bikini supplies more security and support than a skimpy string bikini prone to wardrobe malfunctions. The extra fabric through the midsection acts as built-in shapewear to smooth bulges. High-waisted styles also stay anchored in place, avoiding embarrassing shifting, gaps or riding up.

For leisurely swimming and floating, high-rise bikini bottoms supply ample coverage and confidence. The waistband remains fixed to conceal flaws, and the full seat prevents overexposure. The modest look frees you to hop in and out of pools hassle-free.

For active lap swimming, water aerobics or competitive swimming, high-cut athletic bottoms or swim shorts provide thrust-resistant security. Their higher waistbands and fuller seats emulate high-rise bikini coverage but with reinforced construction. Nylon-spandex blends stand up to chlorine and friction better than fashion bikini fabrics. Seamlessly lined gussets prevent pinch points.

Like any swimsuit, fit is paramount for high-rise bikinis to wear well while wet. Snug sizing without pinching ensures adequate stretch and give. Waistbands should fully enclose the torso without uncomfortable squeezing.

How much do high-rise bikinis typically cost?

When shopping for a flattering and fashionable high-rise bikini, expect to spend $50 to $150 for a quality set from a mainstream brand.

Here is a breakdown of the typical price ranges for high-rise bikini sets:

  • Budget brands – $30 to $50
    • Produced in high volume at lower costs
    • Sold at mass retailers like Target, Walmart
    • Limited style, color, and size offerings
    • Focus on affordability over quality
  • Mid-range brands – $50 to $100
    • Moderate production volumes
    • Sold at department stores and specialty boutiques
    • Mix of standard and trendy styles
    • Balances affordability with quality
  • Designer brands – $100 to $150
    • Lower production volumes
    • Sold at high-end department and specialty stores
    • Use premium fabrics and construction
    • More unique, fashion-forward styling
  • Luxury brands – $150+
    • Very limited production volumes
    • Sold at exclusive resorts and couture stores
    • Use extremely high-end materials
    • Focus exclusively on aesthetics and detail

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