Whether you’re poolside, lakeside, or oceanside, a vintage swimsuit will be your best friend for many years to come. It’s a great decision for anyone who wants to add a dash of trendiness and a sprinkle of timelessness to their swimwear collection. When you borrow from the past, you look elegant and playful. It’s time to try this perfect combination for your next sun and sand adventure.
What you may not know if you haven’t tried vintage fashion before is that it’s incredibly easy and effortless, especially when you’re planning your next getaway. Remember all those photos of your mother or grandmother kicking it back with cat-eye sunglasses and a silk scarf? It’s not old-fashioned, it’s chic! And you can get in on all the fun, too, with our easy tips and tricks.
Pay homage to summer days gone by with a retro swimwear look. You just have to choose your era, silhouette, and style, and you’re well on your way to dressing your vintage best at the beach.
The easiest way to narrow down your swimwear choices is to decide on the silhouette that’s your match. Figure out what makes you feel the most comfortable when you’re shoreside or poolside and find the fit that’s just right.
Maybe you feel your best in a curve-hugging one-piece swimsuit, where you can add a retro touch with a keyhole or halter neckline, à la Marilyn Monroe. Or if you prefer to show off a little more skin, you’ll want to try a tankini or bikini. If you hate tan lines, a bandeau top will make you feel like a French New Wave film star. If you have a larger bust, finding a fit with the right amount of support will be key. If you prefer to keep it modest, opt for a swim dress or swim shorts. To add that vintage touch, choose a high-waisted style.
If you want to master the art of retro swimwear and transform yourself into a vintage beach vixen, it’s important to choose the decade that speaks to your personal style. Flipping through photos of vacations and fashions from decades past is all part of the fun!
For example, if you opt for a 1940s style, you’ll be looking for modest swimwear that keeps it flirty with patterns like seersucker and polka dots. Think high-waisted, ruched bikinis or one-piece swimsuits with a keyhole neckline.
Or maybe 1960s silhouettes are more your cup of tea. That’s when bikinis started getting teeny and bathers favored modern embellishments like belts or ruffles. You can even play with a stylish swimsuit coverup to enhance your boardwalk strut or help you transition from sand to boardwalk cocktails seamlessly.
Dressing in a vintage swimsuit doesn’t have to look like you're wearing a costume, but it should add an element of playfulness and fun to your seashore style. Pay homage to your favorite decade, and don’t forget to add your own personality to the mix to bring the swimsuit into the modern era. Try pairing a classic silhouette with a bold, modern print like tropical florals. You could also try a more modern color palette like teal or magenta on a retro bathing suit shape.
You can also enhance your feminine look with accessories. As a nod to eras past, try a wide-brimmed straw hat or big sunglasses. Your beach bag can also easily blend in with your retro look when you tie a silk scarf to the handle. Choose a pattern that complements your swimsuit and coverup. Last but not least, your beach towel should match your new look. Wouldn’t it be fun to go vintage from head to toe all the way down to the towel you’ll lay on? Nautical stripes or bold tropical flowers will suit you best here. Once you’ve got all your accessories in tow, you’ll never want to change back into your streetwear.
Before you dive in with a new swimsuit, you should consider how much you’ll be moving around in it and how comfortable you’ll need to be. If you’ll be playing beach volleyball, hanging ten on a surf or boogie board, or captaining a speed boat, you’ll need something you can move around in. When you go for a retro look, you’ll rarely have to sacrifice style for comfort. Just try a high neck swimsuit or even high waist swim shorts if you’ll be romping around in the sand or hitting the waves. If you love to lay in the sun or under an umbrella, you can relax with a strapless or halter style.
When looking to go vintage for your next beach adventure, there’s so much to choose from and so many decades to honor that you can’t go wrong with the swimsuit that feels the best when you try it on. Vintage style really works for anyone. You can even go retro when you’re in the market for a maternity swimsuit.
Remember to have fun and embrace the glamour of yesteryear with a playful and elegant look. Just don’t make the same mistakes those vintage sunbathers did — pack your sunscreen before you head out for your next day of fun in the sun.