Browse around for retro swimsuits, sexy bikinis and tips to enjoy your next beach holiday.

Posted on Friday, January 27, 2012
Rihanna wearing a silver monokini swimwear on a cruise in Hawaii

Monokini swimwear is one of the more revealing types of swimsuits. Looking at it from the back, it's easy to mistake it for a bikini. Seen from the front, however, its deviation from the usual bikini is readily apparent . It doesn't leave the midriff totally uncovered; instead, the swimsuit's top and bottom pieces are connected, usually along the midriff and leaving the sides of the torso bare. This is why it is also known as a cutout swimsuit.
First topless monokini bathing suit design from Rudi Genreich
But during the monokini's early days, only the wearer's bottom part was covered. When Austrian-American designer Rudi Gernreich launched the original monokini in the early 1960s, it caused quite a controversy since it left the breasts uncovered. It consisted of just a bikini bottom that covered the stomach and part of the upper thighs, and two attached thin straps that went around the neck.

Today, monokini swimwear generally covers the bust area, although there are still designs that remain true to Gernreich's vision and leave the chest bare. These are mostly seen in areas where topless bathing is permitted. Those who prefer not to go topless but still want to show off their figures in a revealing swimsuit have plenty of other design options to choose from.

Various monokini bathing suits are available from both top-notch fashion designers, which can cost hundreds of dollars, to more affordable versions from mass retailers like Wal-Mart. Both resources are popular among countless women.

AnnaLynne McCord in a neon pink cutaway monokini swimsuit

As an example, there's TV actress AnnaLynne McCord, who has been photographed wearing designer monokinis from brands such as Juicy Couture and Calvin Klein. However, there's also a picture of her wearing a $13 monokini that she bought from Wal-Mart. Then there are also photographs of singer Rihanna in Hawaii clad in a revealing silver monokini (see top picture).

There are numerous monokini variations that a woman can choose from in order to draw attention to the best parts of her body. Some monokini bottoms are high cut, exposing a lot of thigh, while others are more modest. The rear part may be cut in the g-string style to bare the buttocks or be like the more traditional bikini to provide more coverage. Monokini swimwear tops are available in a variety of styles as well: from bandeau cuts to halter tops to deep-vee necklines that go down to almost the navel.