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Swimsuits Through History

From wool one-pieces to tiny bikinis.

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In just three minutes, BuzzFeedVideo takes you through a century of swimsuit styles...

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1920s

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Hollywood films are thought to have helped popularize bathing suits in the early 1920s. The most iconic swimsuit of the time was the wool Jantzen bathing suit, featuring the iconic “Red Diving Girl” logo. Some beaches across the U.S. even had regulations on what lengths were allowed. Although wool swimsuits were most common, this was the decade when Speedo released the first non-wool bathing suit.

1930s

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Latex and more form-fitting fabrics were incorporated into swimwear, moving away from the more restrictive wool swimsuits of previous years. ‘Molded fit’ helped define the bustline for the first time in the history of swimwear, adding to the more defined shape of the era.

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1940s

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Hello, bikini! In 1946, the swimsuit split in half when Louis Réard introduced the world to the bikini. Named after the atomic bomb testings at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, Réard chose the name because he expected the same explosive results from his invention. The bikini’s popularity was boosted by a wartime conservation of fabric.

1960s

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Swimwear continued to get smaller and smaller, and swimwear styles were influenced by the California beach party trend and the rise of surfing culture, seen in many films like Beach Blanket Bingo, which was just one in a series of popular beach party films starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello.

1970s

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Actress Farrah Fawcett became the face of swimsuits during the 1970s in America, with her iconic swimsuit poster selling over 12 million copies in 1975. Swimsuit colors were vivid, and styles varied more widely than ever before. One-pieces, bikinis, fun cover-ups - the opportunities to have fun with beach fashion were endless!

1990s

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Bright colors, ‘90s fashion, and a sporty lifestyle influenced swimwear of the decade. One iconic, athletic look was Pamela Anderson’s red Baywatch swimsuit. High-cut legs continued to be in fashion, a trend which began in the 1980s. You might also remember the tankini, which was introduced in the ‘90s as well. So much look, so little time!

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