The way we wore… swimwear

Beach season is approaching, along with the usual struggle to find suitable swimwear. But we should think ourselves lucky. Here’s a few blasts from the past, to prove that we’ve genuinely never had it so good…



Hollywood added some much-needed glamour to bathing suits after film actresses attracted a lot of public attention. With slightly higher cuts and tighter fits than the practical pre-war swimsuits, we were on the road towards Lycra…



Things were becoming a bit more risqué as mesh or a sheer fabric was added to the midriff area, a small step towards the acceptance of far more revealing suits.


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Bikinis were a stylish alternative to the one-piece suit but the bottoms totally covered the wearer’s rear and came up to almost cover the navel. Most contained some nylon for a fitted and modern look… though the bathing hat was still obligatory, often covered with plastic flowers.



The sexual revolution changed swimwear forever. By the mid 70s bikini tops were similar to bras and the one-piece was highly cut to show off the hips – often in a paisley pattern.


Muscled fitness woman wearing bikini and retro 80s pink sunglasses. Brown hair. Studio shot against grey.

A time of rising leg lines and complete lack of modesty – thongs were fashionable on the beach! Tan lines were easily avoided with skimpy bikini tops often made from mesh for an all-over even tan, and swimsuits came in animal prints with cut outs. It was all very Dallas.



The tankini was in – a two-piece suit where the top met the bottoms or revealed a little midriff. Still popular today, the top half can also been work as a sun top if it has hidden support. Technology meant hidden tummy-firming panels, and bust-uplifting cuts. Plenty of celebrity paparazzi snaps meant swimwear was suddenly a designer must-have.



Love it or hate it the Monokini is a sexy, slinky one-piece that looks like a two-piece. Obviously only suited for the very slim and toned or for those wishing to make a statement! We won’t even mention the Mankini…



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