Most Common Materials Used For Bikinis

Bikinis have changed a lot from their inception. Today, they are one of the most popular fashion items in the world and they come in numerous styles.

One of the more notable changes is the change to materials being used. While some of them are traditional bikini fabrics such as nylon, there are also a lot of materials that are used in a limited capacity. Fashion designers like to mix and mash so we have some really intriguing concepts. Keep in mind that besides the basic pattern and the body of the bikini, additional accessories and parts may be used to complete the design. 

bikini materials

Here are some of the most popular materials being used for modern bikinis.


Nylon has always been at the forefront when it comes to these particular items. Today, they are the most common material used due to its softness and comfort they provide. This is imperative for swimwear as you want to feel relaxed while on the beach.

Another reason that makes it so desirable is its stretchiness. As you will most likely perform physical activities on the beach (most notably swim), it is very important to have a reliant fabric that allows a full range of motion. To top it all off, nylon adapts to your body’s shape which makes it much easier to pick the right product.

Most companies will rely on a mixture that has 80% nylon and 20% elastic part. The elastic part is referred to as Lycra, elastane or spandex; it all depends on a manufacturer and part of the world where it was produced. There isn’t any universally accepted material so you might encounter various fabrics depending on where you’re buying. Although this 20 % doesn’t seem as much, they do provide necessary elastic that will make a swimsuit much more adaptable.

Here are some of the main characteristics of the material:

  • It is very soft and stretchy adapting to your figure
  • Nylon is very strong and durable which allows you to wear a swimsuit for several years
  • The material dries very quickly and you can hand-wash it
  • Nylon can repel water. Some items have UV resistance but rarely have chlorine resistance which makes it much better for beaches than closed pools


Polyester is the second, most common fabric for beachwear. Products made from this material are common among professional swimmers, water polo players, and other athletes. The main reason for this is its high chlorine resistance and durability which makes it a primary option for pools and physical activity. Unlike nylon, you are able to print stuff on polyester.

Here are some of the main characteristics of the material:

  • It is very soft and stretchy adapting to your figure
  • The material is even more durable than nylon which makes it ideal for extreme situations and prolonged athletic usage
  • Polyester is very similar to nylon in the sense that it is easy to dry and can be hand-wasted
  • It repels water, you can print on its surface, it has high UV resistance and chlorine resistance


Besides these two main fabrics, the swimsuit industry is experimenting with various other options. Some of them stick for a while and others quickly perish. One of the good examples of quality fabric is textured fabrics.

Keep in mind that this is a type of fabric. It includes materials such as neoprene, ribbed and velvet. Fashion companies are constantly experimenting with them. They come and go out of trend and manufacturers are trying to do their best to optimize them so they can work for bikinis.

  • Neoprene

Neoprene is a type of rubber material that has lots of quality traits. It is very durable yet flexible and manages to retain flexibility in different temperatures. As a result, this material is especially great for insulation. Swimsuit companies are commonly using this material for scuba diving suits. The produced fabric is usually much thicker than other bikini materials.

  • Ribbed

Second on our list are ribbed items. In order for the fabric to be produced, companies are fine-knitting numerous smaller fabrics into it. The ribbed texture is created by alternating knit and purl stitches. The manufacturing process allows a lot of modifications. For example, the fabric can be less stretchable and denser. You can also try the stitching pattern with a bit of different materials. This can lead to more fashionable items or items with different properties. Besides bikinis, it can also be used for other types of swimsuits.

  • Velvet

When it comes to overlooked fabrics, we have to mention velvet. Although known for its superb softness, the material is not often featured on the covers of fashion magazines compared to some other fabrics. Still, that doesn’t mean it’s bad. In fact, it is really amazing and can present you with some additional options when it comes to swimsuits. Swimsuits made from velvet look really dashing and you will love having such a piece in your collection.

  • Other common materials

Of course, there are much more materials being used or experimented on. More notable ones are corduroy, mesh, types of cotton, etc. Not all of them perform well. For example, cotton is notorious for its durability which is why these types of swimsuits never became popular (even though cotton is practically used for any other type of outfit).

Other considerations for bikini materials

Whether or not a particular material will fit or how will it feel on your body you depend on numerous factors. In most cases, it is about your body features. But it also has to do with the material itself and its innate properties.

Here are some of the main considerations you need to keep in mind.

  • Weight

Bikinis and swimsuits, in general, are usually very light. In most cases, they are between 180 and 200 grams per meter square. But, companies are also making lighter materials. Gemma is a good example. This fabric weighs 150 grams per meter square and you will hardly feel it on your skin. Some heavier fabrics will go above 200 but they aren’t as popular as your regular ones. At the end, who wants to feel heavy while on a beach?

  • Composition

As previously mentioned, bikinis usually rely on a mixture of materials. These percentages can play a major role when trying out a model. If a product has more spandex to it, you will feel increased stretchiness. This is why it is best to feel the fabric before buying it or at least check its composition.

  • Sustainability

Like in any other industry or with any other fashion item, individuals are putting more and more emphasis on sustainability. Although a bikini may be a perfect fit for your body, you might have issues with the manufacturing process. Some materials are especially troublesome for the environment and may leave a heavy carbon footprint. As a result, bikini manufacturers started creating fabrics such as Econyl or Repreve. The materials are based on recycled nylon. Basically, the fashion companies will find disposed nylon on landfills, recycle it and start using it for their products. Some of that nylon may be salvaged from disposed trash bikinis. Like with any other recycling process, it makes the product completely safe for human use and you won’t have to think about whether or not it is clean enough.

Bikini products are always fashionable but they are also intriguing. The product is constantly evolving and the best way of observing this is through materials being used for their production. At this point in time, consumers have various options at their disposal and we bet they will have even more in the near future.

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