Back in the 1950s women’s swimwear was not only fun but it was ultra glamorous. There were many different styles such as strapless, skirted, and even appliquéd and often featured boning and tummy control panels based on corset styles of the time. The one-piece was very much the accepted choice and you really had to be a daring girl to venture out in a bikini. Many fabrics were used such as cotton, nylon and the revolutionary Lastex which allowed the fabric to be stretched in two ways. Patterns that were fashionable in everyday clothing, such as gingham, florals and polka dots, were used in many designs and often were contrasted with quite elaborate plain fabric detailing.
All these styles were highly flattering and were constructed to work with the wearer’s body and not against it. Many modern styles today are great if you look like a swimsuit model but I personally would opt for vintage style swimwear any day. So, as we really are beginning to see signs of the summer approaching our shores, I have put together my latest Wednesday Wish List of vintage style swimwear.
I absolutely adore this White Retro Cherry Print Swimsuit from For Luna and would love to wear it lounging by the pool (if only I was going away!). Designed by the Esther Williams brand, it really is as 1950s as it gets with its ruched detailing down the front and sides, halter-neck straps (which can be tied behind the back to create a strapless silhouette), skirted front, low cut leg at the back and, of course, the fabulous cherry print fabric. However, it has definitely been made with the 21st Century girl in mind as it has a lot of support inside with tummy control and bust padding. It also comes in a wide range of size from 8 up to 18 and is recommended up to a F cup bust.
Another Esther Williams swimsuit, this time offered by Deadly is the Female, the Classic 50s Swimsuit in Emerald Velvet is the epitome of beachwear glamour. It’s got all the ingredients of the pin up style with a ruched skirt, halter neck straps and sweetheart neckline at the bust, plus you can actually swim in it! Again, it is offered in a wide range of sizes from 8 to 20, so just about anyone could embrace their inner Hollywood Goddess in this.
An uber cute strapless number, this Vintage Pinup Style Swimsuit with Ruched Front and Flower from Pinup Swimwear by Lucy B could actually pass for the real mccoy. It’s made in a very mid-century pale aqua blue and gathers up on the seam where all of the detail is focused. The white stem of the flower runs all the way up the seam and features two appliquéd leaves half way up and a large flower at the top, creating a stunningly authentic look. Inside it has a padded bra structure which is further enhanced by bust shaping boning to give you a perfect pin up shape. It runs from a UK size 4 to 16.
1950s style swimsuits seem to very in at the moment but this beautiful 1930s Style Bathing Suit from Sarina Poppy Weddings would definitely make you stand out from the crowd. Based very much on the style of the time, it has been updated and made from double thickness Lycra rather than wool as they would’ve been originally made in. I love the shorts-style leg and nautical stripes as it really does give it that perfect Flapper feel, however, it only comes in four sizes, 8 to 14.
I can imagine many a 1940s girl who would’ve loved this Red Plaid Swoon Swimsuit from Vintage Suits by Mary because from the front it looks like a bikini but is actually a one piece. It would’ve allowed them to bare a little midriff without the scandal of a two piece. It has been recreated from an original Cole of California Swoon swimsuit, which were much loved in the 1940s, so it has a real authentic feel. I just love the tartan style fabric and the gorgeous bow at the bust, which adds a further risqué touch. It comes in a wide range of sizes from extra small to 2XL.
And, talking of risqué, I couldn’t forget the bikini. These gorgeous Hello Sailor! Bikinis from Janna Drakeed are exactly the sort of bikini I would wear. The nautical theme, high waisted bottoms and cute white trimmed halter neck top, it’s got everything I would want in terms of style. The top is constructed like a sports bra to give you a decent amount of support without the use of padded cups and is double layered to help suck everything in. It only comes in three sizes but each one covers a wide range of measurements.
This Hollywood Bikini from Boux Avenue reminds me so much of my childhood. I had a plain blue bikini like this that had a white skirt attached to it. I loved that bikini, it was so girly and, even then, very retro. The pink gingham of this bikini, along with the little skirt detail, gives it that girly feeling and I know I would love prancing about in it on the beach, just as I used to do as a child. The top is sized using bra sizes so comes in a wide range of sizes from 30C – 36E and the bottoms are only available from size 6 to 12.