In honor of National Bikini Day, we thought we’d dive into the history of the beloved two-piece. Here are a few fast facts about how this iconic swimsuit came to represent carefree summer confidence as we know it today.
- Fact #1 Though two-piece bathing suits have been around for quite some time in one variation or another, it wasn’t until WWII when the style really took hold in the western world. Due to war rationing, the United States government limited the amount of fabric manufacturers could use, and the modern day two-piece was born.
- Fact #2 In 1947, French designer Louis Réard introduced a swimsuit made of just 30 inches of fabric, and named it “the bikini” after Bikini Atoll, the site of the first atomic bomb test.
- Fact #3 In 1951, the bikini was banned from beauty pageants all over the world for being “too scandalous.”
- Fact #4 In the 1950s and 60s, bikinis grow in popularity as more and more Hollywood starlets like Elizabeth Taylor, Bridgitte Bardot, and Marilyn Monroe start to confidently wear the new style.
- Fact #5 In 1964, Sports Illustrated kicks off what will become its famed annual tradition: the Swimsuit Issue.
- Fact #6 The 1980s and 90s bring with them even tinier styles and more iconic bikini movie moments.
For being so little, the bikini sure has made a big splash. We’re grateful that in recent years there’s been a change in conversation around the idea of who does or doesn’t look “good” in the famous suit.
Spoiler alert: if you have a body, then you already have a “bikini body.” No fad dieting or unrealistic “perfect body” expectations necessary.