Sunday, June 29, 2008

bathing beauty!

Still really gross outside. The fog is what I guess London's like [I've never been, though I did have to go through Heathrow to get to Spain] and you can see how everyone's thinking, "Ugh, I need to be outside in this crap?"

It feels like November, and even though the sun isn't supposed to peek out until Tuesday, let's not forget that it's actually summer...July starts on Tuesday! While we wait for the clouds to go away, let's look at a key, key part of summer, one that can drive us all nuts: bathing suits! The bathing suits of the 50s and 60s are coming back in a big, big way. And why not? They're flirtatious, sexy, and super feminine. They put us in mind of a simpler time, a time before the anorexia epidemic [thanks, Twiggy!], hardcore porn, and Brazilian bikini waxes. Oh, if we could only go back!

Designers desperate for new ideas have heard our plea [sort of] and have trotted out an array of lovely one-pieces with ruching in all the right places and bikinis that spare us the ass crack. Even in Sephora stores, the summer displays take us back to pin-up glamour; the models are wearing those hot bathing suits with big flowers in their lovely curled hair. And they're selling makeup! Makes you want to curl up with an old movie, doesn't it? The movies...if it weren't for stars like Bettie Page, Betty Grable, and Marilyn Monroe, more of those bathing suits probably would've sat on the shelves. Those women made prudery a little less appealing. Being beautiful and sexy was something the girl next door could do, too. Eat your heart out, Donna Reed.

I read somewhere that bathing beauties and pin-ups were a fabulous byproduct of a war-ravaged economy that meant cutbacks everywhere, even on cloth. So hemlines went up and "legs became the new breasts" [I swear to you, I read that somewhere]. Instead of men ooh-ing and aahh-ing over a nice pair of boobs, they looked south to women's legs, you know, cuz they were more visible and really hot, come to think of it. And then, after the popularity of nose art [pretty women painted on war planes], WWII soldiers started receiving large shipments of cards and posters with pin-ups to keep morale high. Pin-ups like Betty Grable and her million-dollar legs in one of those demure bathing suits. The bikini debuted in 1946 and the rest, as they say, is history.

And now, some photos:

The first photo is from a lovely site called Pin-up Girl Clothing. Their stuff is great, if not a bit pricey. The second is that famous photo of Ms. Grable and last, but certainly not least is the bombshell Jayne Mansfield wearing a bikini in a studio portrait.

The weather's crap, but use the time for a bit of online [or, if you're super motivated, unlike myself] in store shopping for a retro bathing suit so that when the sun does come out, you can pamper your pins with a little sunshine. Add falsies and heels for the full effect. Cheers!

Baby Girl Boutique: more fun retro clothes]
A Brief History of the Bikini from Slate Magazine


  1. Wow! That red suit is beyond hot. I'm convinced that the red one-piece is sexier than any bikini could ever be. I mean, think of Pam A. in Baywatch.

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