Each year, the swimsuit repeatedly remains a strong contestant in the competition for the most popular form of swimwear for women. However, it has had an almost unprecedented resurgence of popularity recently. It is a great alternative to a bikini, since not all of us feel “bikini body ready” by the time summer comes around. Compared to the bikini, not only does the classic swimsuit play a larger role in the history of beachwear, but it is also a firm favourite for the likes of Kylie Jenner and Bella Hadid, modern-day celebrities who are often considered to be two undeniable pioneers of 21st century fashion.
Among the styles both Kylie and Bella are most commonly pictured in, are those reminiscent of the classic 1980’s style swimsuit with the high leg exposure (as pictured above). Swimsuits like these arguably define the female figure more so than a bikini, highlighting the waistline tastefully and also covering the part of the body where many of us pin our insecurities – the tummy. Whilst some of us may still view swimsuits as only appropriate for our year 7 swimming lessons, they have nonetheless managed to reassert themselves as a strong contender in women’s swimwear trends, bouncing back as a more fashionable and flattering form of swimwear than which some would have previously viewed them to be.
Despite all of these recent developments, bathing suits, as they were more historically known, were only (believe it or not) introduced less than a century ago. They proved to act as revolutionary catalysts in changing rules and perceptions of modesty for women. By the early 1920s they had been reduced to a one-piece garment that covered the upper body along with the tops of the legs. Before this however, they would have covered more of a women’s outer body, allowing for little exposure to the sun or, perhaps more importantly, other members of the public.
With brands such as Topshop, ASOS and Zara incorporating numerous swimsuits into their summer collections this year, it is evident that the swimsuit is now just as popular as its rival: the bikini. They are – or could well be deemed to be – a more sophisticated form of beachwear, giving a woman enough bodily coverage without the exposure of too much skin. It is inevitable that they will continue to dip in and out of our summers yet to come, offering a great alternative to the classic bikini, an item that not all of us are always great fans of.