Wrap Swimsuit

AKA: cross-over swimsuit, wraparound swimsuit

How to say it: rap

Traditional Features: 

Wrap Swimsuit

  • one or two-piece swimsuit that wraps across the body
  • usually v-neck
  • can wrap at the front or back, but the front is more common

21st Century Wrap Swimsuits

The 21st century wrap swimsuit comes in many guises – one-piece, bikini, halter or shoulder straps, the universally flattering style is a perennial favourite with women everywhere. From high-end to high-street, brands constantly re-invent the classic design to keep it new and popular every season.

ASOS Boden

ASOS, Boden

Gottex Sunseeker

Gottex, Sunseeker

Origins…

…of the style: The wrap swimsuit is a style that’s not really chronicled in the history books and so any history or timeline I have been able to come up with was gleaned from images of the past.

The earliest instance of a wrap swimsuit that I have been able to find is in the 1960s, however there weren’t many images of the style from that decade, so while it certainly existed, the wrap look doesn’t appear to have been particularly popular. This seems to have changed in the 1970s as the traditional wraparound look, with the two halves of the suit wrapping around the front of the body to create a v-neck, became fashionable in both swimwear and regular clothing (Diane von Furstenberg released her iconic wrap dress in 1974).

One-piece wrap swimsuits continued their run of popularity throughout the rest of the 20th century, but at the same time the look evolved; the wrapping technique changed to accommodate the bikini – either wrapping around the back, across the bust and fastening behind the neck in a halter style, or adopting a more traditional bikini top style with long tails that wrap around the torso beneath the bust.

In the 21st century the wrap swimsuit is still popular and various styles are available on the modern market. Given the universally flattering appeal of the look, it seems unlikely that the wrap swimsuit will ever disappear from the swimwear landscape.

…of the name:  The swimsuit wraps around the body, hence the name.

Once again, there isn’t really any written information about the history of the Wrap Swimsuit out there, but an online image search for “Vintage wrap swimsuits” will bring up examples from the 60s onwards.

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