Whether it’s patterns from the psychedelic ’70s, peek-a-boo cutouts and high waists that harken back to a more modest fashion era, or headscarf stylings that seem to shape-shift through the ages, swimsuit fashion is experiencing a return to retro style. Glamorous suggestions of Old Hollywood along with the swanky vintage flair of the ’60s and ’70s lend an element of playful fun that leaves you feeling like you’re the star of the silver screen — or maybe just like you are a teenager again! Whatever high waists, headscarves and oversized sunnies may conjure for you, one thing is for sure: Retro swimsuit fashion is back!
So, let’s take a look at swimsuit styles, then and now, to see how these elements of fashion have come back. Enjoy!
Then & Now: Retro Swimsuit Styles
When it came to bikini fashion in the ’50s, high-waisted bikini bottoms were de rigueur. For this cut, the waistline measured up to the natural waistline, always covering the belly button. This swimsuit style should come as a welcome fashion trend for those who are more hesitant to bare their midriff. Plus, the look exudes a vintage glam, embracing a classic feminine silhouette that flatters most figures.
It seems like peek-a-boo cutouts can be seen throughout the history of swimsuit fashion. These playful yet modest peeks of skin “leave something to the imagination,” as the old saying goes, which is certainly why they have stood the test of time and have made a comeback now. And the great thing is that you can choose a peek-a-boo cut that is most flattering to your figure and your modesty preference, whether that is a side lace-up bikini bottom, side waist cutouts or some other playful “sneak peek.”
In keeping with the movement towards the modesty of vintage swimwear, suits are mimicking what was once called a “playsuit,” which combines a short-sleeved or sleeveless top with an uber-short pair of shorts or a skirt. This romper-style look was worn either as a bathing suit or over a swimsuit while at the beach, in the backyard or while playing sports — essentially leisurewear for the seaside. It’s definitely a versatile and easy solution for active days spent at the water’s edge.
Wear it as a turban, a headband-style wrap or a “Kelly wrap” (as in, Grace Kelly) — the headscarf is such a fun and personality-packed addition to your swimwear arsenal. These head wrap styles range from classic and elegant to bohemian and edgy. Grab the fabric and print that captures your personal style, and Google some head wrap tying techniques for a beachside look that really sets your overall swimsuit style apart.
Oversized Cat-Eye Sunglasses
Oversized sunglasses and cat-eye sunglasses have both made a comeback, among other retro glasses models, but the oversized cat-eye is the current darling of the sunglasses world. Whether thoroughly modern in style or with that throwback acetate look, the elegant yet fun, art-forward sweeping angles of the cat-eye have reclaimed their place in our summer wardrobes. Choose subtle and sleek if that’s your style, or embrace this vintage look with dramatic size or bold colors.
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
- To Something Blue and Cannonball Swimwear for providing the perfect swimsuit looks and accessories
- To J Michael’s Spa and Salon for doing our models’ hair and makeup
- To the Omni Louisville Hotel for providing their rooftop pool as the stunning backdrop for our modern models
- To our photographer, Christine Mueller Photography, for shooting absolutely breathtaking photos
- To our stylist extraordinaire, Shannon Kessler of Primp Style Lounge, for making our models look incredible
- And last, but certainly not least, to our models Adrienne Pool, Miss Kentucky United States 2018; Laprecious Sade Brewer, Ms. Kentucky United States 2018; and Liz Bernard, Ms. Woman Kentucky United States 2018