The swimsuit, since 1968
The swimsuit, since 1968 Getty Images, Ullstein Bild

The swimsuit from 1968 to today


While the Second World War marked a turning point in the choices available for women in swimwear, it was not until 1968 that they were truly liberated from traditional customs. On the beach, women starting wearing bikinis, now the most popular choice of swimwear in the world. However, the one-piece, a design created by Jean Patou, was not to be outdone. Here's a breakdown of the trends that marked the evolution of the swimsuit from 1968 to today.

The hippie movement


From 1968, flower power - the symbol of the hippie movement - was all over bikinis. Women wanted to wear swimsuits that represented their own chilled-out, peace-loving style. They opted for light colors which showed off the curves of their bodies. Accessories such as XXL hats and necklaces were added as embellishments, and no-one cared about the resulting tan lines! For these women, it was essential that their beach looks went with the styles they wore every day: colors, flowers and a carefree attitude.

Appreciating the body


From the 80s on, a change took hold. Influence no longer came from the protest movement, but from the runways and designers. Fashion became more spectacular, liberating and appreciating the female body from the catwalk to the street. During this time, the swimsuit dropped its neckline further, revealing cleavage, and becoming smaller and smaller...!

The peak of this trend occurred in the 00s, when sensuality and sexuality were in fashion, breaking taboos and being accessible to the general public.

Surf's up

Towards the end of the 1980s, surfing and the relaxed lifestyle it inspired was reflected in swimwear designs, which featured palm trees and exotic flowers, always with a low cut. For those who preferred the bikini, modesty went out the window! The style shrank down to the "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini" celebrated in the catchy song by Brian Hyland. Another trend also emerged: all-in-one sportswear, enabling women who wanted to protect their bodies to enjoy watersports. Aware of the dangers of sun exposure, many opted for swimsuits that provided more coverage, contrary to the 80s.

These days, to show off their bodies, women prefer to vary between a one-piece and a bikini, both back in fashion. In 2015, several trends made a comeback. Many runway looks showed inspiration from the past: from shorts and high-leg cuts to fringe and vintage patterns, retro looks were all over the beach. Who should we thank for the top trends of the 20th century? The continuous cycle we call Fashion, it would seem.

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