Monday, June 22, 2009

Vintage and Retro swimwear: When bathing suits flattered almost any body type

Which high end designer comes to mind who has brought back the flattering silhouette of the sophisticated retro / vintage bathing suit...Norma Kamali of course!

Her swimwear collection comes directly from the era when suits flattered almost any body type. For those that lack, add ruffles and full ruching to either the front or back. This can give the illusion of a fuller bust or rounder backside. For those with, smooth out and increase support in the front, flatten the ruching or have no ruching at all in the back, and watch how it minimizes these areas.

However, like most fabulousity, the price points for these beauties can start at $350. So for the vintage vixen on a budget, I've collected a few goodies from collections that are easier on the clutch.


I can't write this post without acknowledging the collection of the 1950s "Queen of the Water", Esther Williams. This water lily lived in bathing suits, and has now put her life experience into a swimwear collection.
You'll notice on her site that a good portion of her collections are definitely for the more "seasoned woman" but I think the few I've posted (and there are more on the site and Mod Cloth) are age appropriate for a broader age range, and with price points starting at $79, they're also financially appropriate for a broader budget range.

Vamp Maillot, the halter 1pc in buttercup, and Signature Yacht Dot, the high waisted halter 2pc are from Jantzen, known for their swimwear line advertised by their famous Diving Girl logo. We retro and vintage buffs have all seen it, right? Anyway, the 1pc can be found at Macy's, Dillards, and a few other places for around $100, but the 2 pc has been a little harder to come by. Ebay and other online auctions may be the best place to start.
These are also by Jantzen and are sold at Laraines. Tell me you don't love these prints! I'd be shocked. The brown bandeau with floral print is only $78! The Monte Carlo Dot Vamp Maillot, $113.

I don't really agree with the choice of model for these suits but I do like the style, and I love when, Urban Outfitters gives a nod to vintage and retro. The Kimchi, $98, in new lily, definitely gives more curves to the model while the Lux Lamour, $69, in navy, eh, not so much. Put it on the a curvier figure and it will be amazing.

For those more inclined to Pin Up, this cherry collection from Pin Up Girl Clothing is probably more your bag. Transform yourself into Bettie Page at price points starting at $68, oh yeah!

I'd love to hear of your successes and frustrations in your search for the perfect vintage or retro swimsuit, and for those brave hearts, maybe send a photo or two.

Veni, Vidi, Vintage!


  1. I love the ruffly one!! It will give me the look of having a bigger bust!!! Always like that!!


  2. Gorgeous suits..swoon! Thanks so much for posting these!

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