Basking in the sun, 1950s style
BY; SHIMA RAZIPOUR
As bathing suit season approaches, swimwear companies begin to seek trendy pieces to sell at their stores. Swimwear lines have produced pieces that include stripes, high-waisted bottoms, floral print, polka dots, and one pieces. Today, many bathing suits have been inspired by the tight-fitting pieces once worn in the 1950s.
Many fashion icons, including Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian, have promoted their curvy figures and benefit from the retro bathing suit lines that are known for shaping the body and emphasizing curves.
In the 1950s, the bathing suits were created to hide problem areas for women while emphasizing attention on their bust and bottoms. Today, this continues to be a hidden strategy amongst bathing suit lines that sell.
Barbie, who has become a fashion icon to women all over the world, was recently seen posed on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue. She can be seen wearing a black and white, striped, one-piece bikini similar to many worn in the 1950s.
1950s-inspired swimsuits convey glamour with a formal, structured fit. These bathing suits have several characteristics including corsetry cups that lift the bust and tighter bottoms, clinching at the waist.
“I think that it’s a great cut for certain shapes, but I myself do not prefer it. It makes me feel older than I am. I like a good Brazilian cut, with some type of stringy top,” Ariana Armendariz, stylist and wardrobe coordinator for Chris Brown, said.
In the 1950s, manufactures began including stretch tummy control panels to hold in the stomach and added bra cups to bathing suit tops. Many of the pieces could be worn strapless, halter, or with straps that would button onto the inside. Although the two-piece bikini had been released in the 1950s, women continued wearing the flattering one-pieces.
Bathing suits in the 1950s were created with several different fabrics including lined cotton, stretch, ruched, and nylon. Many of the swimsuits were cut at the top of the leg to allow the legs seem long and lean. Since the bikini was still considered risky, women continued wearing the traditional one piece bathing suits.
The retro bathing suits have become popular at pool parties where women can still feel sexy showing their skin, but feel as though their trouble areas are hidden. Unique Vintage's swimwear line carries an assortment of retro pieces for every shape on their website.
“I like it. Especially when a girl wears it with Christian Louboutins,” CSULB alumni, David Train, said. Many retro bikinis are commonly seen worn with thick framed glasses, a floppy hat, or a scarf tied at the waist.
Retro bathing suits aren't only popular among women. Today, many men are styling the vintage-inspired shorts at the pool. Rusty Zipper Vintage Clothing has several shorts for men including bathing suits and everyday wear shorts. The clothing store’s website includes Men’s vintage inspired shorts from the 1940s-1980s.
The shorts vary from Hawaiian themed to bright colors that all typically cut mid-thigh. The styles include Mod, Tennis, Retro Rainbow, and Men’s Totally 80s shorts. Although this style is not as popular as the retro bikinis are for women, there are some men that have been rocking this style.
“I like it. I hate the normal board shorts, they look unclassy,” Tran, said.
Despite their comeback, many women continue to prefer to standard bikini.
“I’m already curvy as it is. I prefer something that I feel comfortable in, yet let’s my bum show. I like how I look in a two-piece that shows my stomach,” CSUDH student, Shannon Lear, said.
Popular swimwear lines including Victoria’s Secret, have several imitations of the retro bathing suits worn in the 1950s. Victoria’s Secret carries a firm control one- piece retro starting at $156. Several stores include similar items at lower costs including Target and Ebay.