What they wore on the beach in the 60s – a glimpse into the beachwear fashion of the 1960s

Neil Patrick
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Following on from the 1930s, 40s, 50s and early 60s swimwear kept in line with the ultra-feminine look dominated by Dior; it evolved into a dress with cinched waists and constructed bustlines, accessorized with earrings, bracelets, hats, scarves, sunglasses, hand bags and cover-ups. According to Vogue the swimwear had become more of “state of dress, not undress” by mid-1950s.

The first bikinis appeared just after World War II. Early examples were not very different from the women’s two pieces common since the 1920s, except that they had a gap below the breast line allowing for a section of bare midriff. They were named after Bikini Atoll, the site of several nuclear weapons tests, for their supposed explosive effect on the viewer.

 

 

Bathing Beauties.1960s.Source

Bathing Beauties, 1960s Source

 

 

 

1960_Source

1960 Source

 

 Lady modelling a swimsuit line in the 60s.Source:Australian National Maritime Museum’s Gervais Purcell collection.

Lady modelling a swimsuit line in the 60s. Source:Australian National Maritime Museum’s Gervais Purcell collection.

 

Gottex Israeli fashion house, Tel Aviv, 1961.Source:Australian National Maritime Museum’s Gervais Purcell collection.Source

Gottex Israeli fashion house, Tel Aviv, 1961 Source: Australian National Maritime Museum’s Gervais Purcell collection Source

 

Swimwear Fashion show.1960.Source

Swimwear Fashion show 1960 Source

 

Gottex bathing suits modeled at the Sheraton Hotel in Tel Aviv.Source

Gottex bathing suits modelled at the Sheraton Hotel in Tel Aviv.Source

 

Girl in bikini standing high with sky background.Source

Girl in bikini standing high with sky background Source

 

Swimwear model. Source

Swimwear model Source

 

Swimwear model.c.1966.Source Florida Memory

Swimwear model, c. 1966 Source  Florida Memory

 

Beach Girl 1968.Source

Beach Girl 1968 Source

Through the 1950s, it was thought proper for the lower part of the bikini to come up high enough to cover the navel. From the 1960s on, the bikini shrank in all directions until it sometimes covered little more than the nipples and genitalia, although less revealing models giving more support to the breasts remained popular. At the same time, fashion designer Rudi Gernreich introduced the monokini, a topless suit for women consisting of a modest bottom supported by two thin straps. Although not a commercial success, the suit opened eyes to new design possibilities.