Happy birthday to the itsy bitsy teenie weenie bikini! The two-piece suit is celebrating its 59th year on July 5, so we’re looking to celebrities like Beyoncé, Paulina Gretzky, Emma Roberts and Nina Dobrev for a little swimsuit inspiration.
Invented by Louis Réard in 1946, the original design was inspired by women sunbathing in glamorous St. Tropez. The designer noticed the ladies would roll up the edges of their swimsuits to expose their midriff to the sun. According to Time, Louis went on to describe his initial creation as a “two-piece bathing suit, which reveals everything about a girl except for her mother’s maiden name.”
Decidedly controversial thanks to its exposure of the navel, it took a while for the bikini to catch on. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1950s, when Hollywood stars like Ava Gardner, Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor began wearing the suits, that stores really started stocking them.
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Since then, the bathing gear has become a staple on beaches around the world, in a variety of styles. They come in string form, a midriff-sparing tankini, options with board shorts or fuller tops and even a frilly skirtini.
And since Old Hollywood took up the style its been a consummate favourite of A-list leading ladies. A quick scroll through Instagram will turn up endless photos of celebrities lounging around in bikinis.
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There are those who go skimpy, like Paulina Gretzky, and others who opt for more coverage, like Beyoncé’s retro suits. There are simple, monochromatic designs as well as flirty and fun ones. There are even athletic options for those who dig a waterside workout, like Kaley Cuoco Sweeting and Nina Dobrev.
One thing that’s clear is there’s a two-piece option for everyone. Wondering what to wear this summer? Here are some must-nab suits inspired by our favourite stars.
Sarah Kelsey is a gal in the know who regularly appears on television and writes for a variety of outlets. Check out her work at sarahkelsey.ca, on Twitter @sarahkelsey, Instagram @sakelsey and Pinterest @sakelsey.