23 June 2010Features
It’s summer time. That means no school (for some) and lots of relaxing by the pool (hopefully) for most. For the ultimate chill-sesh you will probably need your iPod, a good book or gossip magazine, your towel, sunscreen, sunglasses, and of course, your itsy-bitsy-bikini! The bikini is a part of our poolside attire that most of us take for granted, and we never really think about life before the bikini. However, it has actually only been around for about 64 years now. In fact, when it was first created in France, it was considered so scandalous that the models refused to wear it, and the original designer had to enlist a stripper instead. Below is a brief time line all about how the bikini evolved to the beachfront and poolside staple it is today
4th Century: It was not uncommon for Greek and Roman gymnasts to dawn what we would call bandeau tops and bikini bottoms that would not look out of place at the beach today.
18th Century: In the 18th century, it was fashionable to keep the skin white and untouched by the sun. So, when it became popular to flock to the beaches with the invention of railroads and convenient transportation, ladies dressed accordingly. They would often wear bonnets, shawls, and gloves as they approached the bathing machines (like a cabana on wheels), and would often sew weights at the bottom of their dresses to prevent them from flying up with a gust of wind.
1915: Thanks to Australian swimmer and silent film star Annette Kellerman, American women began embracing the one-piece knitted maillots to beaches.
1940’s: Two-piece bathing suits jump on the scene, with actresses such as Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, and Lana Turner all wearing the halter top, high waist suit. Interestingly, the bottoms had to cover the hips, naval, and bottom, and even that was controversial!
1940’s Cont’: At this time, “hot” women were known as “bombshells” and any woman that was intensely attractive was “atomic”. So, when two French designers created even skimpier versions to the two piece, they were given explosive names. The first was the atome, and the second was le bikini, referring to where the United States began atomic testing-Bikini Atoll.
1960: After bashing the French women for their “scandalous” and indecent tastes in swimwear, women in the United States embrace the bikini, and gradually accept it as acceptable beachwear.
1970’s: Women like Cheryl Tiegs began to change the way women decided who should wear a bikini. Before, it was common for curvier women who were busty and soft around the middle. Tiegs and other models who possessed an athletic figure then set the precedent for what is still in vogue today. However, more and more designers are creating bikinis for all shapes and body types.
We can’t write about swimsuits in the 1970s without also mentioning Farrah Fawcett and Bo Derek, who took the one-piece swimsuit to new heights.
Today: Looking at a beach or poolside these days you will notice that bikinis are even more popular than one-pieces with younger (and sometimes older) women. Bikinis can be worn by women of all shapes and sizes! After all, it’s not the suit that makes you sexy…it’s your confidence!
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