Togs, Cossies, Bathers? What do you call your swimwear?

What do you call your swimwear?

Like many things - sausage sizzles, free dress day, soft drinks, potato scallops (can you tell where I'm from?) -  swimwear is referred to by different names in different Australian states. We all have our own colloquial names for our swimsuits, which can often cause confusion and/or conflict between our fellow Australians.

Togs, cossies, bathers, swimmers, trunks, costumes, one piece, full piece, bikini, two piece, rashie, rash vest, rash guard, wet shirt, bottoms, pants, tankini, swim top, boardies, swim shorts - take a deep breath! 

With so much variation, let's see if we can guess where you're from by what you call your swimwear. 

Brunette model wears Pink Bloom floral long sleeve one piece swimsuit

Is this a cossie, togs, bathers, or are they swimmers?


Let's start with togs. In the broader English language, the word togs means clothes. You can have all kinds of "togs" - sporting togs, running togs - you can even get "togged up" apparently. In Australia, New Zealand and Ireland, the meaning has evolved to just mean swimming togs. We've all just dropped the 'swimming' part and kept it simple. 

Growing up in Queensland, togs was what we called our swimwear. On swimming days at school, we were told to bring "togs, towel, and 50 cents". I can still smell the popcorn available at the kiosk. Can you guess my age?

New Zealand and Irish friends will agree with Queenslanders that togs is indeed the correct and superior term for swimwear. When your preferred term crosses international waters, you know you're probably on the right side of linguistic history. 


Having a dad from New South Wales, I dabbled in the term cossies for a while, interchanging it with my beloved togs. It was probably just to humour my father, but I didn't mind throwing around a cossie here and there. It's cute. 

Derived from 'swimming costume', cossies is still prevalent in parts of NSW, (and a little of Victoria and Queensland), however it could die out as swimmers gains popularity in the state. 

Cossies is considered a little old fashioned by the younger generation in NSW, who prefer the term swimmers

Brunette model wears Positano Black double frill bikini top with high waisted pants

Are bikinis considered swimmers?


While I will always remain "Team Togs", swimmers does seem to be the logical term for swimwear. Swimmers offers virtually zero ambiguity as to what you're referring to with the key use right there in the name. 

Swimmers is used extensively across NSW, with the term creeping its way into South East Queensland and parts of Victoria close to the border. 

If we had to decide on a single national term for swimwear, I believe swimmers would be the most accepted by Australians of all generations. Why did that hurt to admit? Also, stop yelling at me!


Like most of our language, the term bathers is derived from the British name for swimwear, the 'bathing costume'. 

While NSW took the ‘costume’ part to create cossies, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania, ran with 'bathing'. Bathers became the name synonymous with swimwear in these parts, with the term outranking all others in the country. Sorry, togs.


Here at Curvy Swimwear we err on the generic side and usually refer to swimwear as simply that, or swimsuits. Swimmers and bathers get an occasional run but rarely do we refer to swimwear as cossies or togs. Sad face. 

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