Women’s Swimwear Through History

December 11th, 2015
vintage swimwear-1950s

From conservative high-waist swimsuits to itty-bitty bikinis, swimwear has dramatically evolved throughout history. Year after year, we look to the latest bathing suit trends to make sure we dress in our poolside best. When summer rolls around, every woman strives to be on top of her swimwear game.

To take a look back at dominant trends in swimwear we’ll start with the 1950s. Although many celebrities were seen rocking what is often referred to as pin-up style suits, most women were still remaining quite modest at the beach. Moderate one-piece suits with full coverage bottoms were the main look. Think boy shorts or hip-huggers. The sixties welcomed the official entrance of the bikini. Women became much more comfortable showing some skin, and the styles became more low-cut and revealing.

In the seventies, swimwear was about experimentation. There were no limits when it came to cut, but most were high-cut and often unapologetically revealing. The ultra high-cut bikini bottoms and bra-like top can define 80s swimwear best. Thanks to Baywatch, the nineties embraced the super high cut one-piece styles that offered barely any coverage. In the 2000s we saw the rise of tankinis, and bathing suits with unique but unfriendly cuts when it came to tan lines. Of course, the barely-there bikini was the hottest choice for most of the decade.   

So, what’s hot now? The one-piece swimsuit has officially made a comeback. The classic monokini has returned, and that’s something to celebrate. Not only is it the most forgiving, but this style is also very chic and sexy. Here are a few ways to distinguish the modern one-piece from those of the past:

Peek-a-Boo Details

You will find a lot of monokinis with mesh panels or nude inserts that show off some more skin than an average one-piece. With different cuts, you’re sure to find a bathing suit with mesh panels in the most flattering places.


One-pieces with cutouts throughout the suit are extremely popular. Some bare the sides of your body while others show-off your midriff. Either way, this gives in an interesting flair to the look.

Serious Plunge Action

Deep V swimsuits are happening. This gives the one-piece a sexier look by showing some cleavage and elongating the neckline.

High-Cut Halters

The high neckline adds a stylish and contemporary touch. You’ll find a lot of beach babes rocking this look, usually with an open back.

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