Bandeau Swimsuit

AKA: bandini

How to say it:  ban-doh  swim-soot

Traditional Features: Bandeau Swimsuit

  • strapless style of swimsuit
  • can be a one-piece or a bikini with a narrow, straight strip as the top
  • usually made from highly elastic fabric
  • neckline may be straight across or curved
  • can have side boning to increase support
  • may or may not be worn with detachable strap
  • can have additional embellishment or decoration

21st Century Bandeau Swimsuits

The bandeau swimsuit is as popular as ever in the 21st century. The simple lines of the style have allowed designers to get very creative with fabric and embellishments, making the bandeau a very pretty option for bikinis and one-piece styles alike.

JETS by Jessika Allen Juicy Couture Beach

JETS by Jessika Allen, Juicy Couture Beach

MARC by Marc Jacobs Topshop

MARC by Marc Jacobs, Topshop


…of the style: The bandeau swimsuit is a highly elasticated, strapless style of suit that is cut straight across the top of the bust.

The first bandeau styles were worn by Roman women in the 4th Century, however the style didn’t appear in modern swimwear until the 1940s. The straight, strapless neckline was first used on one-piece suits, but as the two-piece and bikini styles became more popular, the bandeau top evolved into a narrow strip of fabric that covered the bust but exposed the midriff. Early bandeau bikini tops did not have any additional support in them and so had to rely on solely on the stretch and fit of the fabric; this meant that bandeau tops were often very tight and had a flattening effect on the bust area, which was not always kind to a womanly figure.

As the style evolved, boning was added to the sides of the top to increase support, more highly elasticized fabrics were used, and the top/bottom edges of the bandeau were curved; this gave the bandeau top more support and shape, and made it much more flattering to busts of all sizes. Design features such as o-rings, twists, flounces and bows have all been added to the relatively simple bandeau style allowing it to change with the trends and remain relevant in the swimwear market from season to season.

The bandeau style was particularly popular in the 1950s but was overshadowed by the string bikini in later decades, before regaining ground again in the 1980s. In the 21st century the bandeau swimsuit holds a large sector of the market as designers continuously take the simple, flattering style and make it their own.

…of the name: Bandeau is derived from the French word bande meaning “strip”.

Random Facts

  • the bandeau bikini was apparently the first style of navel baring two-piece to be accepted outside of France in the 1950s.

For more info on Bandeau Swimsuits try Wikipedia, Everything Bikini or the Fairchild’s Dictionary of Fashion

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