From Bond girls to Blue Crush and non-cinematic moments in between, see which swimsuits were having a moment the year you were born. The bathing suit is reflective of the era in more ways than style — were women expected to be more covered up? Was the economy booming or busting? A simple one piece or flashy bikini can tell the tale.
Jane Russell was one of America's very first major sex symbols. The actress proved that a covered up one-piece could pack a curvy punch in the more Puritanical mid-50s.
The bikini began to emerge in the late 50s, seen here in the South of France. It was originally invented by Louis Réard in 1946, but wasn't widely embraced until much later.
Elizabeth Taylor stole the show in the film Suddenly, Last Summer in this somewhat baggy white maillot. This less composed look was a step away from the perfectly coiffed '50s into the looser 1960s.
This gorgeous Slim Aarons photo illustrates the low-slung bikini bottom style of the early 1960s, paired with a strapless top. Consider it a bikini with structure.
A more tailored suit continued to reign as the 1960s went on. A smart woven hat made for the perfect accessory.
Raquel Welch has one of the most famous figures ever in cinema. This halter style two-piece and Barbarella-esque hair showcases the over-the-top mood of the moment.
Model Pauline Stone wears a petal-embroidered strapless bikini layered under a sheer wide-lapel tunic. Bathing suits were merging with fashion in the late '60s in cool and futuristic ways.
Jane Birkin in the Summer of Love wears a barely there bikini with a delicate gold necklace. It signifies the ending of the big-haired '60s and a move into the more natural bohemian 1970s.
This little gingham two-piece doesn't have the structure of earlier bikinis. It's meant to move with the body and showcases an ease that women were beginning to have in the laid-back early 70s.
The original Foxy Brown Pam Grier wears major sunnies and a crocheted bikini top. The look in swim mirrored the look in fashion, which was all about natural fabrics and a less-is-more approach.
Jackie O was never one for anything too bohemian. This photo on a boat in a white headscarf and tied black bikini showcases a more streamlined mid-70s vibe.
In one of the most famous bathing suit photos of all time, Farrah Fawcett set off a trend in plunging one-piece halters with little to no lining. Baja blankets were optional.
Princess Caroline of Monaco is seen here in a white maillot with tie details on the sides. This peek-a-boo style set the tone for the time with its striking elegance and ease.
The early 1980s were not yet about over-the-top glamour. Margaux Hemingway wears a simple black one-piece here with slicked-back hair that is timeless.
Phoebe Cates influenced a generation of young women in this standout red bikini. No one ever thought about exiting a pool the same way ever again.
The teeny bikini look continues on into the 1980s, when simple designs were still in style. The smaller the better remained the edict of the time.
In current vernacular, the look in swim in 1986 was extra. Cut super high on the leg, with an open back and low top was the norm. You might throw on a head band to finish the idea.
Goldie Hawn in Overboard was the pivotal look in 1987—in other words look as rich and over-the-top as possible, especially in a swim suit. Wall Street was on the rise and so was wearing as much gold at once as possible.
Nicolette Sheridan proves that that dramatic high rise bottom continued as the '80s wore on. A fun floral print in primary hues was all the rage.Nicolette Sheridan proves that that dramatic high rise bottom continued as the '80s wore on. A fun floral print in primary hues was all the rage.
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