History of Women's Bathing Suits


Yay! (Meet the Bikini, 1960)

Itsy-bitsy for sure. Julie Newmar models the suddenly de rigueur bikini in the 1960s.
Itsy-bitsy for sure. Julie Newmar models the suddenly de rigueur bikini in the 1960s.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The design that provoked a nation-wide gasp of indignation in the 1940s became nothing short of a phenomenon as the '60s took hold.

By the start of the decade, it was not only acceptable but even somewhat common to see young girls wearing bikinis at beaches and backyard pools. It's the rise of the latter that may have paved the way: Suddenly, women had a private swimming area in which to get accustomed to being so bare.

The 1960s bikini was pretty tame by today's standards: The tops covered every centimeter of the bust-line, and the bottoms stretched all the way from just below the navel to the top of the thigh, and they were not, typically, skin tight. -- at least not until about mid-decade, when a swimwear revolution came about. Around 1965, textile makers changed everything …

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