Retro Swimsuit

AKA: vintage swimsuit, old school style swimsuit

How to say it: re-troh

Traditional Features: 

1950s Style

  • swimsuits that are obviously inspired by trends, fashions and attitudes of the recent past.
  • Styles are usually drawn from swimwear designs of the 1940s – 1990s

21st Century Retro Swimsuits

In the 21st century, retro swimsuits are huge, particularly one-piece styles and high-waisted bottoms. Suits inspired by the glamour of the 40s and 50s were particularly on trend for the 2014 Summer season and there are a plethora of pretty, feminine styles currently available on the swimwear market.

Jessica Simpson LOFT

Jessica Simpson, LOFT

Seafolly Topshop

Seafolly, Topshop


…of the style: Fashion has always looked backwards for inspiration and swimwear is no different. Granted, swimwear as we know it has only really been around since the 1940s, and needed a couple of decades to try out all the new stuff, so ‘retro’ style swimwear probably didn’t come about until the 1980s or so (although I couldn’t find an exact date as to when swimwear designers first created ‘retro’ swimwear).

Retro swimwear are suits, both one and two-piece, that are very obviously inspired by styles of the past. Boy-legs, high-waists, long-line tops, ruffles, swim skirts and glamorous halters are all good examples of signature design features from the 1940s, 50s and 60s that are regularly used in modern swimwear.

In the past, retro swimwear has mainly been the realm of those that subscribe to an overall retro style in everyday life (think circle skirts, petticoats and beehives). However, in recent seasons retro swimwear has made a serious comeback and Summer 2014 saw styles inspired by the past all over the catwalks and marketplace, causing fashionistas everywhere to join their retro sisters in swimwear styles reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe or Grace Kelly.

The beauty of retro swimwear is that, as a category, it encompasses a large range of styles – many of which are very flattering to the female figure in all its shapes and sizes. Due to this factor, and the fact that swimwear designers have pretty much done everything new and need to start reinventing the past to create new looks for the seasons to come, it seems likely that the retro swimwear trend will last a little while, and when the trend does die out, retro swimsuits will permanently have found a home in the modern swimwear market.

…of the name: They are called retro swimsuits as they are inspired by styles of the past.

For more info on Retro Styles and Trends try Wikipedia or CheekyChicClub or do an online search for ‘retro swimwear’.

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