Vintage Swimwear For The Modern Day Bathing Beauty

May 28, 2013 • Magazine, Vintage


To most of us, Memorial Day is the unofficial start of the summer. The weather gets consistently warmer, beaches open, people bring out the grills and summer festivals begin all over the country! And with the warm weather comes the dreaded (for some) swimsuit season … but don’t worry, history is on your side!  Whether you think you’re ready to bare it all or not, there is a bathing suit out there to make you feel like the bathing beauty you are meant to be.

So which way should you go?

Over the last several decades, we’ve seen a major transformation of the bathing suit from extremely covered and demure to skimpy and skin-baring. Swimwear has probably been around since the start of western civilization, but if you ask me it didn’t start to make statements until the 1940s and 50s. Yes, swimwear left a lot to the imagination when it came to keeping you covered, but it showed off a woman’s curves in a way that kept them feeling sexy and feminine. Sweetheart necklines, halter straps, ruched detail, and leg openings grazing the upper thigh gave the women of the time a pin-up girl chic look that is still swoon-worthy by today’s standards. I’m not surprised that there has been a recent resurgence of this vintage trend in bathing suits, as seen at Jason Wu’s Spring 2013 Collection. Fun colors, patterns and prints added to this silhouette giving it an extra girly boost that works swimmingly (pun intended!) for the Zooey Deschanel’s of the world.

Cut to 10-20 years later and we start to see very different trends that the beach beauties are flocking to … can you say skin? The bikinis of the late 1960s into the 70s reflected the newly independent and free spirited women of the time. Excessive amounts of fabric started to disappear and made way to the bikini much like we know today. In the 70s we also saw cutouts in bathing suits which are currently all over the racks not just in swimwear, but in formal gowns, casual tops and party clothes. Of course we did still see the one piece, but necklines got lower and leg openings hiked up to reveal more flesh and a sexy, more skimpy silhouette. I think every girl wanted to be Farrah Fawcett in Charlie’s Angels….even if was just for a second!

1. 1960s Swimsuits,

2. 1970s Swimsuits,

3. Vintage inspired Jason Wu Spring 2013 RTW,

4. Modcloth Beach Blanket Bingo Two Piece in White, $89.99

5. Unique Vintage All Black Monroe Two Piece Swimsuit, $64

6. Victoria’s Secret Beach Sexy Fashion Push-Up Triangle Top w/ Double String Bottoms, $75

7. Basta Surf Reversible Bandeau Bikini Two-Piece, $198

– Carmen Turner

Image Layout: Second City Style

See the Top Ten Summer 2016 Trends for Women Over 40

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