Vintage Swimsuits We Wish Would Make a Comeback
In the 1950s, fashion took a fabulous turn. There were bright colors, new silhouettes, and flashy trends around every corner—and summertime was a time to break out your polka-dotted high-waist bikini, pleated-skirt swimdress, or flirty pin-up one-piece. Pair it with a bright red lipstick or brushed-out curls, and you’d be set.
Reminiscing on some of the most iconic swimsuit looks of decades past makes one thing clear: Retro swimsuits were the best. Flattering, fun, and not-too-revealing, there really is a lot to love about the vintage swimsuit. So much so, that we’d like to bring them back into style. For good! Who’s with us?
Here are the best retro swimwear looks from 50s, 60s, and 70s.
Sophia Loren, 1965
The Italian actress has always known how to dazzle the crowd, even in a classic black one-piece.
Ava Gardner, 1945
This bathing suit proves one thing: Yellow was definitely her color. (Did any color look bad on Ava Gardner?)
Natalie Wood, 1959
Between the leopard print and red neck scarf, actress Natalie Wood mastered the "Old Hollywood" look in this high-waisted bikini.
Elizabeth Taylor, 1959
We can't forget this iconic white suit from the actress' movie, Suddenly, Last Summer.
Jane Powell, 1955
We all know what they say about an itsy-bitsy, teenie-weenie bikini—er, one-piece! Polka dots are forever classic.
Rita Moreno, 1961
Just because you're sunbathing doesn't mean you should skip the accessories, right? Southern gals would approve.
Ann Sheridan, 1950
Ah, this bathing suit should only be served with a cold glass of Royal Crown Cola.
Marilyn Monroe, 1951
A polka dot bikini is classic. Marilyn Monroe practically coined the look.
Glamour Magazine, 1955
Who doesn't love a classic red-and-white color palette? We'll take one of the polka-dotted scarves, please!
Virginia Mayo, 1945
The American actress struck a glamorous pose by the pool in a striped two-piece. You really can't go wrong with a high-waisted silhouette.
Monte Carlo, 1970
This mystery woman isn't famous, but she is quite the chic vacationer, hmm? Accessories are key.
Janet Blair, 1950
All Southern gals know that redheads absolutely pop in green. It's just a fact.
Joan Scott, 1955
If only we could all look so fabulous in a white one-piece (and be lounging on the beach in Cannes).
Pat Hall, 1950
She made us not dislike yellow and green together, which is an impressive feat.
Marilyn Monroe, 1948
Marilyn, you just get us: Southern women like to throw a matching lipstick shade in their beach bag, too.
Jill St. John, 1967
You might recognize this polka-dotted style from the 1960s movie, How I Spent My Summer Vacation.
It makes sense that the celebrated dancer (who performed with the likes of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly) would rock a bikini like nobody's business.
Virna Lisi, 1965
The drop-dead gorgeous Italian actress changed our minds about skinny stripes, that's for sure.
Karen Jensen, 1967
The American actress looked like pure Americana in a red cut-out swimsuit in '67.
These two vacationers are the level of summertime chic we aspire to.
Cleo Moore, 1955
The renowned "blonde bombshell" wasn't one to shy away from a bold leopard print—and we're here for it.
It makes sense that the less modest version of the 1960s two-piece would be found on the beaches of France. We salute her confidence!
Natalie Wood, 1960
We did love a pastel check pattern in the 1960s, didn't we? Natalie Wood certainly made it work.