Swimsuits aren’t always what they are today. From the modest full-length bathing dresses with pants in the 1800s to the contemporary bikinis we see today, swimwear styles continually evolve like everyday clothing. Many iconic swimwear styles have shaped the current fashion trends of bathing suits. The team at Lulus thoroughly explored how swimsuit styles have changed over time, in the form of this new infographic.
1946 marked a monumental moment in swimwear history with the introduction of the bikini. While variations of bikini-like swimwear existed for centuries, the modern bikini revolutionized the industry. In May 1946, French designer Jacques Heim launched a two-piece swim garment called the Atome, followed by Louis Réard’s bikini creation in July 1946. The name “bikini” originated from Bikini Atoll, a coral reef in the Marshall Islands. Although Heim’s version was the first to be worn, the term “bikini” eventually became the universally recognized term.
Initially met with scandal and disapproval by many (except in France), the bikini gained mainstream acceptance in the 1950s. The bikini’s popularity received a significant boost when French actress Brigitte Bardot was photographed wearing one on a beach in 1952 and featured in the French film Manina, The Girl in the Bikini. The iconic appearance of Ursula Andress in a bikini in the 1962 James Bond film Dr. No further cemented its status as the preferred swimsuit choice for women.
While bikinis retained their popularity, new styles emerged alongside them. Towards the end of the 20th century, the television show Baywatch triggered a trend with female lifeguards flaunting red, high-cut swimsuits. This revitalized the popularity of one-piece swimsuits. Additionally, the tankini gained prominence in the 1990s, combining a tank top with a bikini bottom.
Today, there is a wide array of popular bathing suit styles, including one-piece suits, bikinis, tankinis, and swimming dresses. Furthermore, retro swimwear is making a comeback. So, what type of swimsuit do you prefer?