The History of the Bikini Through the Decades

*AD – The history of the bikini through the decades is a collaborative post

For the more daring, a bikini is a must for going on holiday. A two-piece swimsuit is a great alternative to the traditional all in one. For this post, I’m going to share with you how the bikini evolved through the decades. Recently you may have seen my posts on men’s hairstyles through the years so I thought I would go back in time with one of the women’s most loved Summer clothing items – the bikini! Below is the history of the bikini from the 1930s up to the 2010s.

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Back in the 1900s women wore wool dresses to the beach. I remember looking through old photos of relatives seeing them dressed this way when my beloved late Aunt got her pictures out. I don’t know how they did it. It wasn’t until thirteen years after women were allowed to compete in the Olympics, in 1913 that swimwear designer Carl Jantzen introduced a two-piece bathing costume to enhance their performance. We would only see it as shorts and a t-shirt nowadays.

The 1930s and 40s

Ladies started wearing two-piece garments that showed some midriff. But as time went on and with World War II looming fabric was rationed. Therefore the bikinis and hems got shorter. Through the 1930s swimsuits gradually began hugging the body, with shoulder straps that could be lowered for tanning. 

In 1946, spirits were high with the war over and the world’s smallest bikini made an appearance. But quickly moving on to 1947 when Louis Réard, a Parisian engineer, introduced an even smaller suit—made from just 30 inches of fabric! 

The 1950s

The early 1950s saw beaches across Europe and the Mediterranean try to ban the bikini. Brigitte Bardot makes a splash at the Cannes Film Festival in 1957 where she’s photographed wearing a bikini on every beach in the south of France. Marilyn Monroe is found to be following suit in the US. 

The 1960s

My favourite fashion era is the 1960s. In 1962, the iconic Ursula Andress emerges from the sea wearing a belted white bikini as Honey Ryder in James Bond’s Dr No. It’s also the first year the bikini is on the front of Playboy magazine. 

The 1970s and 80s

In the 1970s bikini’s got smaller and less structured. The string bikini was a hit with many. In 1983 we saw Carrie Fisher in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, as Princess Leia wearing a gold metal bikini in a non-beach setting. By the late 80s, bikini bottoms grow smaller than ever, as G-strings make their way from Brazi.

The 1990s

1994, saw the bikini crowned as the official uniform of the Olympic Beach Volleyball players. In 1997, 51 years after the bikini’s debut, and 77 years after the Miss America Pageant was founded, the contestants were allowed to wear two-piece swimsuits. The contestant from Hawaii, Erika Kauffman, wore the briefest triangle bikini of all and won the swimsuit competition!

The 2000s

In 2003 the bikini revived Demi Moore’s Hollywood career when she stepped out of the ocean in a black bikini in the film Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.

The 2010s

In September 2011, Lilac magazine becomes the first Arabic magazine to show a bikini front cover. The 22-year-old model, Huda Naccache, from Israel is pictured posing in a black sequinned bikini.

So as you can see the bikini has had quite a journey through the decades. Films, magazines, and sports. It’s become an iconic piece of clothing in the modern woman’s wardrobe. With many different designs available to suit the modern-day woman from push-up bikinis and tankinis women are more than ever embracing their body shape. 

The History of the Bikini Through the Decades

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There are many types of bikini’s to suit different body shapes, here are a few of them listed below:

  • Bandeaukini or Strapless Bikini
  • Multi-String Bikini
  • String Bikini
  • Microkini
  • Tankini
  • High Neck Bikini
  • Trikini
  • Sling Bikini
  • Skirtini
  • High-Waisted Bikini
  • Fringe Bikini

Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you have enjoyed my post on the history of the bikini through the decades. A good time to dream of future Summer holidays at the beach.

rachel bustin
Thank you for sharing

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