Retro Chic: Vintage-Inspired Swimsuits

It’s that time of the year again ladies! The beautiful three-month long period that strikes fear in the midriffs of many. However, despite the dread we feel in having to flaunt what our mothers gave us, a silver lining is in the midst of this misery: bathing suit loveliness!

Swimwear fashion comes in an abundance of similar finds: triangle tops, skin-tight bandeaus, and matronly one-pieces. It’s the same images over and over again, which, in the life of an au courant, is unacceptable. So how, pray tell, can we dig ourselves out of this unfortunate rut? Easy: take a peek into the past with vintage-inspired swimwear. Why not take a cue from the ladies that made swimwear totally runway-worthy?

With that, jump off the standard bikini train and opt for styles that channel your retro starlet. You'll be asking yourself more than ever, “Am I a Jackie… or a Marilyn?”

With vintage, it’s all about color and it's all about the fit. In a season defined by vitamin D intake and itty bitty bikinis that flaunt a lack of core workout, it’s about time we take it back a few decades and re-visit a time where modesty was chic and the details were key.

1. Ruched Halter Neck Swimsuit by Norma Kamali ($534):
Ruching? Check. One-piece? Check. Curvaceous hourglass look? Check, check, check! With this royal blue swimsuit, midriff flaws are the least of your problems as your curves are hugged in all the right places. Overall, it gives you a sexy Marilyn shape without exposing much— totally in check with 1950s fashion philosophy.

2. Micro-Mesh Nylon High-Waist Brief and Bandeau Top by American Apparel ($41):
With American Apparel’s Micro-Mesh High Waist brief and bandeau top, the 40’s inspired trend has transcended into the world of swimwear. Yet, despite its super tummy-hiding abilities, the exposure that makes a bathing suit, well, a bathing suit, is kept intact. Ultimately, the sheer fabric presents a terrible tease but who says sexy has to give it away for free?

3. Eyelet Handkerchief Bikini by Shay Todd($255):
This Shay Todd number will certainly have heads turning as you strut down poolside. With the ruffled top and matching bottoms, it’s the perfect compromise between pool babe sexy and girlish modesty, as you channel the white-hot peasant look that made the seventies super influential.

4. Cape-Stripe Underwire Tank by J. Crew ($125):
Admit it. Barbie has been your fashion icon since, like, the beginning of time. What better way to pay homage to your former playroom companion than by sporting the swimsuit that made her famous? Similar to her zebra-striped swimsuit, this J.Crew interpretation is just as timeless. The vintage-inspired silhouette, underwire and halter straps are details that make this a darling addition to your swimsuit collection.

5. Amalfi Cutout Woven One-Piece by Missoni ($580):
Crocheting was a popular trend that went global during the 1970s. It was so big that it carried over into the swimwear world and appeared in bikinis made out of the woven design. Missoni’s Amalfi cutout woven one-piece totally channels the hippie fad that defined a generation.

6. The Elisa Maillot One-Piece by Lisa Marie Fernandez ($385):
Quench your neon thirst in this highlighter yellow one-piece by Lisa Marie Fernandez. Topped off with a zipper finish, it’s a rad pick from a decade defined by unique designs and crazy colors. With a shapely silhouette and a racer-back, it’s the perfect suit for both a run down the beach and a fun game of volleyball!

7. Polka-Dot Bandeau Bikini by Rosa Cha ($355):
Rosa Cha’s black and white polka-dot bandeau bikini is classically inspired by 1940s simplicity. With mini polka dots scattered throughout the two-piece, it’s the perfect choice to wear on a trip to the French Riviera! It’s glamorous and subtly sexy—a modern take on a pin-up classic. Rita Hayworth, eat your heart out.

8. Naval Bandeau Bikini by TopShop ($50):
From ruffles to crochet and plain red one-pieces, the late seventies were iconic in the world of swimwear. With this Topshop Naval Bandeau, the sexiness that made the seventies popular is revisited, as the suit’s patriotic colors symbolize a decade that proudly celebrated the birth of our independence.

9. Colorblock One-Piece Swimsuit by Spanx ($198):
Channel your inner 1960s bond girl in this one-piece swimsuit. Built with color blocking panels and a sweetheart neckline, it’s tough girl chic with a pinch of vintage delicateness, specifically engineered with underwire cups and a crisscross back to give off a sleek silhouette. Slip one of these on and you’ll be able to perform your own rendition of Honey Ryder’s emergence from the water.

10. Sweet Papaya Underwire Bra and Tie Short by J.Crew ($131):
Allie Hamilton has got to be one of my favorite female protagonists of all time. Not only because she’s admirably feisty, but because of her quintessential 1930’s wardrobe. The minute I laid eyes on her swimsuit in The Notebook's memorable beach scene, I was beyond floored, which brings to light J. Crew’s sweet papaya tie shorts and matching underwire top. The vintage-inspired, summery print with the sash tie finish, this two-piece is the perfect twist on a classic from the past.

Tagged in: fashion, vintage, summer, swimsuits,

Fashion / Trends


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