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Vintage Inspired Swimwear

Updated on June 24, 2014

Vintage Swimwear for Women


Vintage Inspired Swimwear: Embrace your Curves

Let's be honest: I don't have a bikini ready body and with summer just around the corner I want to find a swimsuit that flatters my body and I won't be wearing a grandma suit either. Also, I really don't feel comfortable building sand castles alongside my 3 year old with anything "hanging out", if you know what I mean.

A great, trending alternative to the standard bikini are vintage inspired swimsuits. They're flattering, classic and sexy without being vulgar. Why not embrace your curves? Vintage inspired swimsuits have been historically flattering on women of all shapes and sizes. I'm going to outline some various vintage swimsuit styles that will make you and I look hot this summer.

Vintage swimwear for women: A hisory




A brief history of the swimsuit

Before I get into the various vintage inspired swimsuit styles, I’m going to give a brief history of swimsuits.

Pre-1800’s, there were no swimsuits. If you wanted to go for a swim, you went naked.

In the mid 1800’s, women wore bloomers and black stockings

New tank style bathing suits developed in the 1920’s and the new styles reflected a little less coverage, lower necklines and arms were now exposed.

Bikini’s were invented in 1946, named after the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, the site where atomic bombs were tested. The French invented the Atomi-”the world’s smallest bathing suit”.

The original Monokini was invented in 1963 by Rudi Gernreich. This style of swimsuit, exposing the breasts, pushed societal boundaries and was created as a statement.

In 1985, Rudi Gernreich, designed the lesser known pubikini, a swimsuit with a v-shaped opening that showcased the pubic area.

1990’s-the Slimsuit promised to take an inch or more off the waistline.


Popular Vintage Inspired Swimwear for today

1. One piece

This style of vintage inspired swimwear literally works for every body type. The ruching is stylish yet hides the parts you want to hide by distracting the eye with the lines and layers. The low cut legs flatter your booty yet don’t constrict. Now you can bend over, do jumping jacks and perform a swan dive in style and in comfort.

Most one-piece vintage swimsuits for women on the market are halter-style, but there are some strapless. Some swimsuits have removable, adjustable straps (note the red, convertible one -piece swimsuit below).

A lot of users liked the fit of the one-pieces. Some of the moms who reviewed this style of swimsuits said the suit “made them feel like a sexy mom”. One reviewer said her boyfriend thought the one-piece vintage inspired swimsuit was dowdy. To each her own, I say wear this suit with confident if you love it!

Convertible vintage inspired swimsuit




2. Tankinis or 2-pieces

I’ve always wanted to buy a tankini, but a lot of tankinis out there don’t have too much structure on top, the straps seemed stringy and I could never find a pattern I really liked. My swimsuit from Grade 6 comes to mind.

The new style of tankinis out there, especially the vintage inspired ones, have a lot more going on, style-wise. The tops are structured with clean lines and even ruching. The patterns are classic and elegant. I also like that the tankini bottoms often have low cut legs, for extra coverage. Vintage style tankinis are good for any body type and it’s a good choice if you want a 2-piece but don’t want to wear a tiny bikini.

Reviewers of the vintage inspired tankini said it was supportive (some tankinis include underwire for extra support), flattering, sophisticated and high quality.

Vintage Inspired Monokini


3. Monokinis

This Austrian-American designed vintage style swimsuit for women was originally a topless design, exposing the breasts, but covering the bottom. Some believe this design was a statement, taking away from the perverse side of sex. Modern monokinis are one-piece swimsuits that cover the breast and bottom.

Many modern vintage inspired monokini feature classic fabric and patterns.

Vintage 60s Margit Fellegi Cole of California Scandal Suit


4. Long sleeved

Long sleeved Vintage Inspired swimwear are for sure a unique fashion choice. You don't normally see arms being covered up at the beach, yet there's something so elegant about the cut of a vintage inspired long sleeve swimsuit.


Vintage Inspired Swimsuit: High Waisted bottoms


5. New Vintage-style bottoms

I really love the cut and feel of vintage inspired swim bottoms. The trend is lower cut legs, lot's of fabric support and various textures, mostly ruching. I didn't even know high waisted bottoms existed until I stumbled upon some Vintage swimwear websites. I think I found a winner here with the high waisted bottoms!

What's your favourite Vintage Inspired Swimsuit style?

What's your favourite Vintage Inspired Swimsuit style?

See results

Vintage Inspired Swimsuits for women

As you can see, there are many new and modern takes on Vintage swimwear and styles to suit pretty much any body type.

© 2013 healthygurl


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is a great article! I love the vintage inspired swimsuits. Voted up interesting!

    • healthygurl profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Canada

      I totally voted for wrapkinis too. Glad you liked the article!

    • healthygurl profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Canada

      Glad you enjoyed it!

    • FullOfLoveSites profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      I Google'd up about monokinis and I found up that it really had no breast coverage. Kind of shocked me. Hehehehe.

      Most of the bikinis now leave you with little to the imagination lol.

      Very interesting article, very well-written. Thanks for posting!

    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 

      8 years ago from The City of Generals

      Haha I voted for wrapkinis! I would always go for a kneeskin style that which covers the whole of the thighs down an inch above the knee. It's more comfortable to swim, play and move in the beach, especially when you have small kids to swim with.

      Very beautiful article healthygurl. I think we have the same style on swimsuits! :=)Thank you for this! :=)


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