Considering that I am from the Midwest, where we are experiencing what most are calling The Polar Vortex or Chiberia (for my Chicagoans), it only seems fitting to daydream about being somewhere else… somewhere warm. Most of my friends have already started planning vacations -- as something to look forward to while we wait in misery for this apocalyptic winter to end. Naturally when preparing for a warm weather vacation the number one item to check off the packing list is a swimsuit.
Over the past few years, the trend in swimwear has deviated to older more flattering styles, such as those of 1940s and 1950s pin-up girls. I’m talking about high waists, halter style tops, and even one-piece swimsuits. This vintage style of the 40s and 50s is a lot different than the typical Spring Break string bikinis and bandeau tops that we see so commonly now. The vintage style is reminiscent of anything as youthful and playful as Gidget, to something that is sexy and shapely like Marilyn Monroe’s famous shots on Long Island's Tobay Beach in Oyster Bay.
Not only does this style make a statement but there are also benefits to wearing vintage-style swimwear. For starters, the silhouettes of these vintage suits are extremely body-conscious. Also, higher-cut bottoms elongate the legs, and higher-cut waistlines hide tummies. Furthermore, well-placed ruffles can cover up anything from a smaller bust to larger thighs. And lastly, my favorite rule --- polka dots never hurt anyone and can clearly be more flattering than stripes. Stripes whether they be vertical or horizontal can accentuate problem areas on your body in a negative way.
Normally, I would promote second-hand finds but I think second-hand swimsuits might be a little too intimate to re-wear; it probably crosses some line of decency. However, if you truly feel the need to reuse, go for it! But for those who do not want to re-wear swimsuits, I am sharing some of my favorite vintage swimwear links below (since it is clearly too cold to go out and physically shop at a store).
First, there is the iconic designer, Norma Kamali.
Second, there is the body-conscious brand, Bare Necessities. There’s something here for all body types. http://www.barenecessities.com/Swimwear_catalog_nxs,121.htm
For those who are flirty, there’s Pinup Girl Clothing. Not only will you find an amazing swimsuit at this website, but you also find some matching duds at extremely affordable prices.
And for the girls who want vintage with a modern feel check out ModCloth.
Another favorite site of mine is Unique Vintage. This site is cool because they also carry 1920s and 1930s inspired flapper dresses and petticoats.
In 1946, designer Louis Reard created the Bikini, which was worn by exotic dancer, Micheline Bernardini.
The name ‘bikini’ derived by Louis Reard was named after Bikini Atoll in the South Pacific. This is where post-war testing on the atomic bomb had begun on July 1, 1946, and so the name stuck in the public consciousness.
During World War II, war production required vast amounts of cotton, silk, nylon, wool, leather, and rubber. The War Production Board issued Regulation L-85 in 1942 that rationed the use of natural fibers, reducing the amount of fabric in women's beachwear by 10%. To meet the regulations, swimsuit manufacturers produced two-piece suits with bare midriffs.
End note -- Can we have a Solar Vortex, please?