100 Years Of Fashion: Women's Swimwear

The fashion evolution and revolution

fashion swimwear

Women's bathing suits were not always stylish. The first swimsuits were quite draggy. Women's bathing suits were designed to cover the whole body until around 1910. Modest necklines, elbow-length or long sleeves, and a knee-length skirt were required. In order to make sure no skin was showing, women were required to wear stockings under their swimwear so their legs were completely covered. Princess Diana's Throne prediction may actually come true.

In the early days of fashion wool or cotton was used in the making of bathing suits.

The ladies of the early 20th century are not alone in wondering how they were able to stay afloat. The bathing suits were made from water-absorbent materials and weighed up to twenty-five pounds. That's really bad! According to Insider, women sewed small weights to the hems of their bathing suits so the skirt wouldn't float in the water and reveal any skin. The 19th and the beginning of the 20th century saw the popularity of bathing slippers. The feet were protected from any shells or glass on the beach with these slippers.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, bathing suits have improved. We are thankful for that. Let's take a look at how bathing suits have changed over time.

In the 1920s bathing suits became more practical. The swimming gowns of earlier years were replaced by a one-piece suit. As the years went on, more of the leg was exposed. The lines began to fall.


Speedo introduced the first swimsuit made of material other than wool, and Jantzen introduced some of the first swimsuits made of stretchy fashion material. 

The swimsuits were much more comfortable to wear because of this change. Swim caps were very popular during this time and were used to keep hair dry during swimming. Some of the caps had a strap that you could put under your chin to make sure it stayed in place.

City governments were scrambling to make sure women didn't lose their modesty completely. 6 inches or more above the knee was unacceptable, as well as the arm openings and necklines. Some women were forced to leave the beach while others were arrested if their swimsuits didn't meet the requirements because police forces were at certain beaches to measure swimsuits that appeared to be breaking the rules.

swimsuits became more revealing in the 1930s than they were in the 20s. The one-piece still reigned supreme, but now they were all made from rubber-based materials that were lighter and more comfortable than the woolen garments of the past.

Women wore bathing suits in the 30s that showed their backs and shorts that were higher than what was allowed during the 20s. thinner straps were introduced in the 30s. With styles changing to reveal more skin, tanning also became very popular, and fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli took it upon herself in 1932 to design a swimsuit that had an open back complete with a sewn-in bra to allow women to tan without dealing with any swimsuit lines. Thank you, Elsa.

In the 1940s, the one-piece fashion continued to evolve.


The classic bathing suit was reinvented to look more feminine and resembled a fitted dress complete with a V- neck and thin, feminine straps. The skirt covered the hips, butt, and upper thighs. Some were loose-fitting and others hugged the legs and hips.

The invention of first bikini was made in the 40s. The bikini we all know and love is the creation of Louis Reard. The first bikini was designed in July 1946, and it was named after a Pacific Ocean island that was used to test nuclear weapons. Reard's design set the stage for other designs. The first bikini only showed a glimpse of the women's midriffs. There was a halterneck top and shorts. Betty Grable was known for her bikini-clad look. bikinis became even more revealing at the turn of the decade with some designs forgoing straps altogether.

The 1950s saw the arrival of swimwear that was more structured. The corset's style was mimicked by some swimsuits. One-piece swimsuits were still very popular, but only the bravest dared to wear a bikini. The classic corset look could be attributed to the sewing of the back or side seam of the bathing suit.

Designers began to experiment with various fabrics, such as nylon, Lastex, and even lined cotton when designing swimsuits of the 1950s. 

Some of the most common characteristics of 50s swimsuits are their sturdy fabrication, inner corset-like construction, and modest bikini-line coverage, according to an article written by an author. There are flaps at the bustline that can be styled to either emphasize smaller breasts or make bigger breasts appear smaller. Sunhats, sunglasses, and sarongs were popular accessories.


As the film industry took off, the popularity of 50s swimsuits went up. The first woman to ever appear in a bikini on-screen was Bridget Bardot. The popularity of 50s swimsuits was influenced by stars like Marilyn Monroe and Bettie Page.

swimsuits went crazy in the 1960s The one-piece bathing suit designed by Gernreich was the most risqué bathing suit yet. The monokini is a bathing suit that shattered the modesty of swimsuits. The first swimsuit that allowed women to go topless was this one. Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani, Emanuel Ungaro, Oscar de la Renta, and André Courrges were some of the designers who entered the scene with swimwear.

Swimsuits became less taboo during the 60's. The world followed in the footsteps of Ursula Andress, who starred in the first James Bond film, and wore a bikini. The bikini was made more acceptable thanks to the help of the actress.

swimsuits of all types were seen on the beach Many of the one-piece swimsuits had cutouts around the midriff to show off some skin. The swimsuits designed by Pucci were popular. The terry cloth swimsuits were popular.

The 60s set the stage for more revealing bathing suits, and the 70s followed suit with swimsuits showing more skin than ever. Most swimsuits have a high-cut leg. The rise of the thong and sheer fabrics left little to imagination during this time.

The 70s swimsuits were designed to move with women's bodies, so the structure that was so popular in the 50s was quickly starting to dwindle. Super small bikinis that showed off as much skin as possible were among the swimsuits that hugged women's bodies. Carrie Fisher made metallic fabrics popular. During the 70s, silver and copper swimwear were a staple on the beach. The swimsuit styles of the 70s were influenced by another star, who wore a red one-piece. One of the styles that defined the 70s and had a big impact on fashion is Fawcett's swimsuit, which is currently on display at the Smithsonian Museum.


In 1979 one-piece swimsuits were popular. The swimsuits were known for their asymmetrical necklines. The fun patterns continued to appear.

When you think of the 80s, bright colors, high-waist pants, and great music come to mind, and swimsuits of this era embraced the fun, sporty, over-the-top trends.

During the 80s, women were able to mix and match their tops and bottoms in order to create their own unique color combinations, thanks to the popularity of color-blocking. Neon colors were all over the place. Designers started to experiment with more types of fabric and swimsuits were made from material that protected the wearer against the sun's harsh UV rays. Some bathing suits had rash guards that made them more comfortable.

The swimsuits of the 80s continued to build on the styles that were popular during the 70s. Plunging necklines were popular, and they were ensured to stay in fashion by stars. The popular sporty fashion of the time was mimicked by high-waisted bottoms and tankini-style tops. The swimsuits were designed to make a bold statement and have dramatic back details. During the summer holidays in the 80s, the beaches were a lot of different colors. You were going to be noticed if you wore a swimsuit.

"Baywatch" is one of the most popular shows of the 90s. According to Insider, bathing suits made of bright red fabric along with super high-cut legs were wildly popular. Saved by the Bell had an impact on the swimsuits of this era. The actors on the show wore neon swimsuits and bikinis with fun patterns.

One of the most influential designers of the 90s was Helmut Lang, who designed a bikini that consisted of boy shorts and a shirt. The design set a new trend that continued throughout the decade. Creative necklines zips, and athletic designs were some of the cool things.

By the time 1994 rolled around, swimsuits with sparkling studs started to appear on the runway. The world took notice of the bandeau tops and large bottoms. In 1996, the swimsuit designs drew inspiration from the one worn by Hayek in "From Dusk Til Dawn." Gisele Bndchen was one of the stars who wore swimsuits with polka dots.

Anne Cole's tankini became a staple at the beach after the 2000s. It had ordinary bikini bottoms and a tank top.

The tankini wasn't the top dog. The sporty designs introduced by Speedo led designers to take a more minimalist approach. High-end swimwear was very simple. When the film "Blue Crush" was released, sporty swimwear became even more desirable, and mixing and matching tops and bottoms became popular again.

The 70s metallic colors came back in 2003 and the 60s monokini came back in 2006 It wasn't a completely topless swimsuit this time, but it was focused on baring as much of the wearer's skin as possible. halter neck swimsuits were all the rage in 2005. Stars like Kim Kardashian took to studded swimsuits almost immediately in 2008. The sarong was popular with both bikinis and one-piece. The 80s color-blocking trend came back in 2009.

There were a lot of new swimsuit styles and the rise of the body positivity movement. In 2010, bikini bottoms got some added detail in the form of straps or strings, while designers in 2011 brought back some of the metallic fabrics that were popular in the 70s and00s.

Designers went back to designing bikini bottoms that sat extremely low on the hips because of Kate Upton's appearance in the 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Simple designs were making a comeback, playing around with neutral colors and cutouts. In the year 2013, swimsuits were adorned with beads and sequins, while in the year 2014, they were decorated with scalloped trim. Various swimsuits have this design, and it was made popular by stars. The crochet bikini was one of the major trends of 2015. The Tommy Hilfiger show made these swimsuits popular. The rest of the world followed in the footsteps of the models who wore these bathing suits.

The 80s neon colors came back in the last half of the year. The puka-shell-trimmed swimsuits took the world by storm in 2019.

swimsuits were once again borrowed from other eras when the 2020s arrived. The small bikini that consisted of a skimpy ruched top and equally skimpy bottoms was a big hit in 2020. After Winnie Harlow wore a tye-dye swimsuit to the beach, people began to buy into the trend.

In the future, one-piece swimsuits are back in style. The asymmetrical look is created by the one-shoulder strap. Adding gold accessories complete the look. You can jump into the pool at a moment's notice if you wear swimwear which is everyday clothes. The stringy bikinis were back in style, and this time they were made for all body types. The monokini and ribbed swimsuits were back.

The 2020s are borrowing a lot of styles from the past and we are here for it.

Source: www.glam.com