Monokini: What Is It?

A monokini is a type of women’s swimsuit that exposes large portions of the body.

The name “monokini” is derived from “bikini”, with the “bi-” prefix referring to two pieces.

In contrast, “monokini” indicates a one-piece swimsuit.

Origins and History

The monokini style is designed to be revealing and provocative.

It features large cutouts that bare the torso, waist, hips and cleavage.

While bikini styles cover the breasts and genital area, the monokini leaves these parts exposed. Some designs cover only the nipples and pubic region, while more daring styles have no top or bottom portions.

While the original monokini revealed the breasts, later designs focused more on cutouts at the waist and hips while covering the breasts with mesh or transparent fabric.

Styles may use suspenders or strappy portions to connect the top and bottom.

Some have high-cut leg openings to show more of the hips.

Progression Over Time

The daring monokini was first created in 1964 by designer Rudi Gernreich, whose minimalist design featured no top to cover the breasts and only a small bottom portion that exposed the pubic area.

This progressive concept challenged prevailing notions of modesty in the 1960s and faced major backlash, preventing the style from gaining widespread acceptance initially.

Gernreich’s design bared the bosom, but later monokini variations focused more on cutouts at the waist, hips, and sides, using mesh, transparent and strappy fabrics to add some coverage to the breasts.

By the 1980s and 90s, the monokini swimsuit started becoming more of a trend, especially along European beaches.

Still, the abundance of skin shown by a monokini continues to push the boundaries of what is considered acceptable swimwear.

Today, the term “monokini” most often refers to modified one-piece swimsuits that incorporate strategic cutouts to create the illusion of a two-piece bikini.

The waist and midriff areas typically feature cutouts, exposing a flirty glimpse of skin while still providing coverage for the breasts.

Swimwear designers connect the cutout sections with creative fabrics like mesh, chains, ruffles or embroidery.

This allows the monokini to accentuate an hourglass figure by showcasing the waist between top and bottom.

While appearing almost like a bikini from certain angles, the monokini remains a single piece of fabric.

Styles and Variations

Thong-style monokinis take the rear exposure even further.

The back is very high cut, with a thin strip of fabric that covers only the anus and pubic area.

The buttocks are left mostly uncovered. Paraiso is a common brand for scant thong monokinis.

Styles and Variations

From very modest coverage to extremely risqué, modern monokinis come in a variety of colors and patterns.However, black and other dark shades are common, as they offer a more sultry look.

Other factors like the amount of rear coverage, height of leg openings, and presence of sheer or see-through fabrics impact how revealing the monokini appears.

Some feature a thong-like back with high-cut legs to expose more skin, while others offer full bottom coverage.

Supportive bust structure also affects perceived modesty.

Ultimately, comfort with exposure comes down to personal choice.

For many women, the monokini strikes the perfect balance of showing some skin while avoiding the potential issues of tiny bikini bottoms.

Fabrics may be smooth and matte or have some sheen or texture. Spandex blends provide stretch for a body-hugging fit.

They are commonly worn for tanning purposes to minimize tan lines. Some women prefer the minimal coverage for a feeling of freedom.

Monokinis are designed to show off large amounts of skin for an alluring look.

Although taboo in some cultures, they have become popular beachwear and swimwear in many Western countries.

The minimalist concept continues to influence swimsuit fashion.

The bold monokini look requires careful fit and consideration of local norms.

But for some wearers, it represents liberation and confidence.

By pushing boundaries, the monokini became a symbol of progressive attitudes towards women’s swimwear and sexuality.

Monokinis are a special type of women’s swimsuit that feature large cutouts and exposure.

They are designed to be provocative, showcasing the contours of a woman’s body in a sensual way.

Monokinis are distinguished from standard bikini styles by their audacious cutouts and minimal coverage of the breasts, hips and rear.


There are many types of monokini bottoms, ranging from full coverage on the rear to thin strips of fabric.

G-string and thong backs are common, sitting high on the waist to expose the hips and most of the buttocks.

The higher cut leg openings accentuate the curve of the hips as well. More modest monokini bottoms offer slightly more coverage but still include large cutouts.

Suspender-like straps run around the waist and between the breasts, connecting the front and back portions.

Slingshot monokinis wrap tightly around the hips for security. Some styles add mesh inserts along the sides rather than fully disconnected cutouts.

No matter the rear coverage, monokinis bottoms are designed to be cheeky and show plenty of skin.


The top portion of a monokini can also vary, from strapless bandeau tops to halter and choker necklines.

Some feature crisscrossing straps across the décolletage for an edgy look.

Sheer mesh panels and see-through fabrics retain the revealing concept while covering a bit more of the bosom.

Proper lining is important, especially for sheer areas, to maintain some privacy while modeling the swimsuit.

Thicker supportive padding may be needed in the bust for comfort and security during wear.

For the most daring looks, the breasts are left completely uncovered.

Monokini vs bikini

Compared to bikinis, monokinis can provide a bit more coverage and security.

The single-piece construction means you don’t have to worry about the top or bottom shifting out of place.

Sturdy straps across the shoulders help keep monokinis firmly on, even when wet.

Of course, wearers need to consider tan line potential based on the cutouts. And very skimpy monokini variations may not be as conducive to swimming laps as lounging poolside.

Still, the monokini offers women another option to show off their bodies with sensual cutouts minus the hassle of mixing and matching bikini sets.

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