Monokini vs. One-piece | Choose the right one for you

Have you ever heard of a monokini? Perhaps you have just heard of monokini's revolutionary and controversial design and want to know more? Maybe you want to try something sexier for your next trip to the beach. Now, there are a plethora of swimsuits to choose from, and perhaps you are wondering if a monokini would be better than a one-piece. In this case, you are in the right place because this blog post is for you!


Orchild One Piece Ivory

Orchild One Piece Ivory


What is Monokini and The History of Monokini

Monokini is a topless swimsuit with two thin straps. Yes, you have read it right! Rudi Gernreich designed it to revolt against the sexualization of the human body and protest against a repressive society. His controversial design included coverage for the bottom to the upper thigh and shoestring laces, making a halter around the neck. Some credit Gernreich's design as a symbol of the sexual revolution. His designs were a way to push his socio-political views.

The first to wear a monokini was Carol Doda on June 22, 1964, in San Francisco at the Condor Club. The second was model Toni Lee Shelley who had been arrested for it.

Women's wear daily published the first photograph of Peggy Moffitt wearing this controversial design on June 3, 1964, which led to controversy in America and many other countries. All the previous models had denied wearing the monokini for photoshoots.

The word monokini comes from excluding the prefix "bi" and adding "mono." Gernreich thought "bi" means two - because a bikini comes in two pieces. But bikinis were named after Bikini Atoll by creator Louis Read.

Rudi Gernreich's idea was not to sell monokini commercially, as it might change his original motive. It was Susane Kirtland of Look who encouraged Rudi Gernreich to sell it. Gernreich sold thousands of swimsuits. It became an instant hit amongst the people, contrary to what he thought.

An intriguing court case published on March 12, 1965, titled "Topless Triumph," reads as follows:

Inasmuch as the spectacle of the nudity of the human body has nothing intrinsic in it that would outrage normal, even delicate decency, and since Claudine Durand concealed her sexual parts with a sufficiently opaque monokini, we acquit her."


Orchild One Piece Black

Orchild One Piece Black

This, and many such instances, made the monokini a controversial yet famous swimsuit, which led to many topless clubs in the '60s.

Three thousand monokinis were sold, but only two were ever worn in public.

Modern monokini swimsuit designs

Some manufacturers and retailers refer to the modern monokini as a "topless swimsuit," "topless bikini," etc. But modern monokinis have come a long way from their breasts-exposed predecessor. Modern monokinis are more practical, covering the breasts. It strays away from the fundamental idea of Rudi Gernreich's design but is still fun to wear nonetheless.

Monokini swimsuit designs

  • Design monokini: They give a sexy look, with cut-outs and midriff, showing your curves while covering what needs to be covered.
  • Halter Backless Monokini: It is a backless bikini with a halter and a cage design that makes you look fabulous on the beach!
  • Push-up monokini: They come with a halter design. This monokini gives an enhanced look to the breasts and shows the shape of the waist. It also has cut-outs and a cloth that attaches the bottom to the top.
  • Mesh monokini: It is a fantastic mesh swimsuit that is see-through but has a solid covering for the private parts. This highlights the body for perfect day-out swimming.
  • Embroidered monokini: It gives a look of elegance with exquisite embroidery. There are many different designs with multiple colors.
  • Brazilian print monokini: These monokinis are lively with all the different geometrical shapes that are similar to Batik.
  • Vintage monokini: During this new trend of everything vintage, a vintage monokini is a great choice and a cute one! They come in polka dots, thin straps, halter necklines, etc.
  • Chevron monokini: A chevron monokini is a zig-zag printed one. It can come in two colors showcasing the pattern or in multi-colors.
  • Pleated monokini: These monokinis cover any fat on the waist, giving the body flatter and curvier shape. Heavier women and girls usually prefer them.



 Eloise One Piece in Sky Blue

Eloise One Piece in Sky Blue

One-piece is a swimsuit that covers the body from shoulders to buttocks. It can, at times, cover the thighs to knees.

One-pieces come in many varieties: full-sleeved, half-sleeved, or sleeveless.

History of one-piece

It seems like swimsuits cannot stay away from controversy and extensive history. One piece is shrouded by history too!

The modern one-piece we know of today was made famous in the 1900s. Thanks to Annette Kellerman, the general public accepted this suit widely. She was arrested for wearing a one-piece on the Boston beach in 1907 for "indecent exposure" of the back, back, arms, and legs. She had adopted this swimsuit from England.

Her arrest led to a broad public outrage, which publicly accepted the swimsuit. This one-piece later came to know as the " The Annette Kellerman." By 1910, it became an accepted attire for women in many parts of Europe.

The 1912 Summer Olympics authorized one-piece as the official swimsuit for the competing women. It was also the first year women could participate in the Olympics.


Jillian One Piece in Seashell

Jillian One Piece in Seashell


The main difference between modern monokinis and one-pieces

Modern monokinis and one-pieces look somewhat similar, but they have their differences.

One piece, as mentioned above, covers the body from shoulders to buttocks and beyond. It can even have a mini skirt on the top. On the other hand, the monokini is "skimpier" with a V-cut bottom. Monokinis tend to show more skin due to the shape of the piece and a more close-fitting look.

Why millions prefer one-pieces

One-pieces are on-trend for ages. They surely are gaining a higher demand than bikinis. So why are one-pieces more preferred than them?

They are currently in style.

Women's fashion changes rapidly and quickly, and one-pieces are the new fashion trend. They have been in style for quite some time and yet hold their position as beloved swimwear. The most prominent manufacturers mass-produce one-pieces because they are so high in demand. If you scroll through social media during the summer, one-pieces will take over your feed!

They are classy

They are in trend and yet classy! Thanks to many A-list celebrities and heartthrobs like Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and Sofia Loren. So now, you can have fun, be sexy and yet classy. And make your Instagram look cool.

They are considered sexier than bikinis.

Bikinis are excellent, but one-pieces are cooler. They might show less skin than bikinis, but they come in unique designs. You can choose if you want a more high leg cut or a v-neck, a full-sleeved or a sleeveless. Many one-pieces even cover you from knees to arms - there is one for everyone!

They can be used as a bodysuit or leotard.

The problem with bikinis is that they are not as accessible to wear everywhere. Many restaurants have a ban on them. In cases like this, one-pieces are handy because they can be worn with jeans, a skirt, or shorts, making your swimsuit transform into a fabulous outfit for other places.

No fear of losing the other piece

Bikinis and socks - you will always lose a piece from the pair. But that will not happen with one-pieces. And neither the fear of mismatched bikinis!

And losing a one-piece is not easy! And even if you lose one, you will not be left with a useless pair. Sadly, we cannot say the same for bikinis.

Better sun coverage

Bikinis leave a lot of skin for the sun. That is unhealthy because the sun's UV rays can cause severe damage- from cells dying to life-threatening skin cancer. Using sunscreen is always better, but they do not protect you well if you stay under the sun for hours. That is why a one-piece is handy. It provides ample coverage for your stomach and somewhat of the back. That is so much more coverage than what a bikini would be.

Now here is the real question, which one should you wear?

Both have a controversial history and pros consumers cannot deny. Now which one is a better choice boils down to individual taste and differences in body sizes.


 Hailey One Piece in Leopard Print

Hailey One Piece in Leopard Print



In conclusion, monokinis or one-pieces are great for your next pool party or a trip to the beach! Both have enriched the history of decades-old and are still a significant mark on fashion. Whether you choose one-pieces or monokinis, you will look great in them. Both one-pieces and monokinis have more designs and varieties than bikinis.

You can even create make-shift outfits from them. And the biggest key-take from this - monokini and one-piece are not the same thing! Though some people think otherwise.


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With love, the Ishine team