A one-piece swimwear most commonly refers to swimsuit worn primarily by women and girls when swimming in the sea or in a swimming pool, playing water polo, or for any activity in the sun, such as sun bathing. Today, the one-piece swimwear is usually a skin-tight garment that covers the torso, although some designs expose the back or upper chest.
Before the popularity of the two-piece swimwear, and then the bikini, virtually all women's swimsuit completely covered at least the wearer's torso, and men also wore similar swimwears. While the bikini has increasingly found popular acceptance since the 1960s, the one-piece swimwear has maintained a place on beaches to this day.
The most common type of one-piece suit is the maillot (a term that is not generally used anymore) or tank suit, which resembles a sleeveless leotard or bodysuit. There are variants of the one-piece swimwear, including halterneck styles and plunge front swimwears, as well as wrap-round ("surplice") and bandeau styles. The pretzel suit is another style of the one-piece swimwear. Recently, athletic swimwears have used a variety of new shoulder strap styles, including the racerback, fastback, and flyback styles, some of which have also been used on other athletic wear. Another recent innovation in one-piece swimwears is the bodyskin, which superficially resembles a unitard or wetsuit. Although these cover the entire torso, arms, and legs, their function is not modesty but reducing friction through the water for professional swimmers. Their surfaces are made of textured technical fabrics which are engineered to cut through the water in the same way as fish or sharkskin.