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History of Women's Bathing Suits


Like a Glove -- Lycra/Spandex (1960s)

The appearance of Lycra in 1965 made swimsuits stretchy, fast-drying and even more revealing. Here, Salvador Dali kisses the hand of Raquel Welch.
The appearance of Lycra in 1965 made swimsuits stretchy, fast-drying and even more revealing. Here, Salvador Dali kisses the hand of Raquel Welch.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In the mid-'60s, the look of the bathing suit took a turn toward the revealing, but not in the cut. It was the material that began to show so much more.

Spandex came on the swimsuit scene around 1965, and it was a huge hit. Suddenly, bathing suits were shiny when dry, glistening when wet, and left absolutely nothing to the imagination either way. God help the good girl if it suddenly turned cold.

The second-skin bathing suit we know today was born, with all of its quick-dry and easy-swim charms.

In the following decade, women's swimwear designers would take the daring, baring fabric to (what we thought was) the limit of skimpiness -- a move that put Farrah Fawcett on millions of bedroom walls …


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