We wondered the same thing. We thought it was about time someone put up a guide for women who maybe aren't the most experienced bikini shoppers in the world. Somewhere you could learn about the different styles of bikinis, how they're best worn and cared for, and the best places online to get them. From this simple idea, the Bikini Buying guide was born. We hope you find the information here useful.

Types of Bikinis

The first thing anyone should consider when buying a bikini is what type of bikini is best for you. To that end, we've assembled a short list of some of the more popular styles of bikinis. This is by no means meant to be a definitive list of every type of bikini under the sun. Rather, just the most popular and best selling bikini styles currently available.

Triangle top bikini

Triangle Top Bikini

When most people think of a bikini these days, this is the design that they think of. Triangle tops are aptly named for their triangular shape. There are normal and enhanced triangle tops. The enhanced versions feature a slight taper to the fabric in the cleavage area, to show off enhanced breasts. Some triangle tops feature crystals or other embellishments for an added bit of visual flair. And after all, when you're buying a bikini, visual flair is one of the things you're going for.

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Bandeau top bikini

Bandeau Top Bikini

The bandeau top is often incorrectly identified as a tube top. While a tube top is almost always one continuous piece of fabric, the bandeau is usually two or more pieces, attached in the middle and tied in the back, with no shoulder straps. Like triangle tops, bandeaus can be embellished with crystals or other decorations.

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Knotted top bikini

Knotted Top Bikini

Knotted top bikinis are so named due to their having one or more knots tied in the front of the bikini. The back can have either traditional clasps or ties. Knotted tops are great for those of us with smaller breasts as they put more emphasis on the design of the bikini than the size of your chest.

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Butterfly top bikini

Butterfly Top Bikini

Another one named for it's shape, the butterfly top looks great on both small and large breasts, natural and enchanced alike. Butterfly tops usually consist of small-diameter string, much like you'd see in a triangle top or micro bikini. Like most bikini tops, they can be embellished with crystals or jewelry.

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String bikini bottom

String Bikini Bottom

The string bikini is definitely the most risque of all, simply because it covers so little. Granted, they're not the most comfortable bikinis in the world, but they do have the capacity to draw quite a bit of attention, if that's what you're after.

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Brazilian bikini bottom

Brazilian Bikini Bottom

The Brazilian bikini obviously has its roots in South America, but it has quickly spread to every corner of the globe. The Brazilian bikini bottom offers a lot more coverage than the average string or micro bikini bottom, yet by riding lower on the hips, it still retains quite a bit of sex appeal.

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Pucker bikini bottom

Pucker Bikini Bottom

The pucker bikini bottom gets its name from the way the fabric is sewn along the back seam, giving it a "puckered" appearance. Pucker bikinis are great for those of us who need a little more coverage, yet still want something that will accentuate the shape of the buttocks.

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Pucker bikini bottom

Whale Tail Bikini Bottom

The whale tail bikini bottom gets its name from a pretty obvious place - when you put it on, the fabric takes on the shape of a whale's tail. Whale tails usually use a similar sewing method to the Pucker, giving it a puckered look. The whale tail is classified as a thong, so if thongs aren't your thing, generally speaking, you'll want to avoid the whale tail and go for something with more coverage, like a Brazilian bottom.

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How to care for your bikini

It's always best to follow the manufacturer's guidelines when it comes to washing your bikini, but there are some general rules that almost all of them will suggest. First, hand washing is always best. Bikinis are delicate, and need to be treated as such, otherwise they won't last long. It's usually best to use cold water and a very mild detergent, using the stronger stuff only for spot cleaning. Always avoid putting your bikinis in the dryer with the rest of your clothes. Again, bikinis are delicate, and a dryer can (and usually will) rip them apart. Hanging your bikini up to air dry is still the best method.

Where to Buy

We've always been a fan of most of the bikinis the models wear in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. You can see all the brands they trust and use here! Happy shopping.

Other useful bikini resources: Brazilian Bikini | Brazilian Thong | Yellow Bikini | Green Bikini | Tanga Bikini