The Evolution of Swimwear

The development of swimwear over the years has been revolutionary, with stark changes within just a few decades - Think, there was once a time when women's swimwear had to be a specific length before going for a swim in the sea! Historically, the significant turning point for swimwear was in 1946. But let's take it back a little further to really unpick the evolution of swimwear. 

Before 1910, swimwear resembled a long dress. Over the next few decades, necklines became lower and hem lines became shorter, garments were more close-fitting and weren’t far off today’s unitard with slightly more coverage. In the 1940s, swimsuits looked like short dresses or two pieces. Then in 1946, the first bikini was created by Louis Réard, which was considered extremely provocative and bold! But received a very positive reaction by many. 


By the 1950s, there was a shift to make swimwear more comfortable, with a change of materials. American model, actress and singer, Marilyn Monroe, became an icon for the progressive, figure-hugging two pieces. The 1960s was a decade that inspired women to wear what they desired without judgement. As a result, tighter and smaller swimwear became popular. By the time of the 1970s, the boundaries were pushed further, swimwear was smaller and more revealing, with the introduction of cut-out swimsuits and string-style bikinis. Vibrant and colourful prints became fashionable.

woman in the sun in 1950 vintage swimwear bikini
two women at the beach in vintage pink polka dot bikinis in 1960s
two women on sandy beach in yellow swimwear in 1970s

Neon colours and low plunging swimwear dominated the 80s. Notably, the bikini lines became higher, right above the hips, which was a key moment in this decade. 

three women at the beach in summer in neon swimwear

1990s - Cue Baywatch! The classic red swimsuit with a high cut leg and square neckline was iconic. Moving into the early 2000s, swimwear was becoming more athletic and sports inspired. The tankini became extremely popular too. 

blonde women at the beach in summer with red swimsuit


brunette woman at the beach in summer wearing tankini

And fast forward to 2020, what more can we say, Tomia has your back. With a driving force to adapt how the fashion industry produces garments, we focus on creating classic, lasting pieces that you'll want to wear time and time again. 


4 women at the beach in orange leopard print and black marble swimsuits