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The Evolution Of The Bathing Suit - From Robes To Barely There Bikinis

The bathing suit is probably the item of clothes that has seen the most evolution over the years and has literally gone from a swimming suit type robe to an ultra-revealing bikini in a matter of decades. Let’s take a look back at how much fashion has changed bathing suits over the years. Checking out the bathing suit trends might even want to make you grab your bikini and head to the beach.

Summer is right around the corner, so to get you in the mood we thought it would be a good idea to take a look back at the history of the bathing suit and how much the styles have changed over the years. Fashion comes and goes but also speaks volumes about the society we live in; so what does the evolution of bathing suits have to say about each period?

Bathing suit evolution in pictures

Everyone loves a day out at the beach, right?! A trip out to the beach is one summer’s must-do activities for many people. What’s do you need to look great at the beach? An awesome looking bathing suit of course! Let’s take a look at the evolution of bathing suits from heavy and bulky swimming suits to the lighter, more stylish and barely there models we see today. Ready to take a trip down memory lane?

Happy 72 years, bikini!

The bikini will celebrate its 72nd birthday this year, so to get you in the mood for some summer fun and sun, we thought we’d take a look back at one of the summer beachside must-haves.

1820's fashion essentials

In the 1820s when women wanted to go for a swim they wore voluminous robes which completely covered their bodies.


Bathing suits got lighter in the 1870s

In the 1870s women started to wear lighter swimsuits, although they didn’t completely get rid of the puffy bouffant sleeves until years later.

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Jumpsuits for men and tights , hats and slippers for women

At the end of the 19th century, men started to wear what we know today as jumpsuits, whereas the women opted for swimsuits which they paired with tights, hats and slippers.


Make way for the tans!

When the 1900s came around beachside activities really grew in popularity especially diving. It was at this point that women decided to ditch their long robe like swimsuits and go for lighter bathing suits that would actually help them tan easier.

Say hello to the one piece bathing suits

One piece swimsuits burst onto the scene in 1910 and its rising popularity was increased by people’s growing love of the beach.


Style revolution for men

By the time the 1920s got here, men were still trapped in their long jumpsuits, although the styles and cuts of the material saw a big shake up.

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Skintight suits

In the 1940s swimsuits evolved yet again and became skintight.


Birth of the bikini

In July 1946 the French designer Louis Reard presented his bikini collection in a Paris showroom and it’s fair to say that the birth of the bikini sent shockwaves through society.


Did someone say color?

The 1950s saw swimsuits for both men and women become more and more colorful.


Because who doesn't love pattern?!

In the 60s patterned swimsuits in particular bikinis made their way onto the big stage and dominated beach fashion everywhere. As for men, surf shorts became the must-have item. The 60s also saw the creation of the monokini by designer Rudi Gernreich.

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The Farrah Fawcett effect

No one can deny that the 70s were marked by Farrah Fawcett and her extremely low-cut swimsuits. At this point people were becoming a little more adventurous with their styles.


Show some skin!

The 1980s were all about low-cut swimsuits that showed the most skin possible. The 1980s ladies’ beach look included a sexy swimsuit, huge bouffant hair and a pair of show stopping earrings.


Baywatch gang

Baywatch burst onto our TV screens in the 1990s and the show’s influence saw our swimsuits get a sportier style. The Baywatch beauties were known for wearing revealing red swimsuits with thick straps.


He was a skater boy, she said see ya later boy

It’s only in the 2000s that men’s swimsuit fashion really got an update and became longer and looser just like skater pants.  


Oh hello Victoria

It was also in the 2000s that luxury brands such as Victoria’s Secret introduced their range of women’s swimsuits and made the bikini even sexier.


Which brings us to today ...

Today, wearing a swimsuit is both about looking good and feeling good, which is why brands now cater to all body types.

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