Guide til Vintage og Retro stils Badetøj

Guide to Vintage and Retro Style Swimwear

At Mondo Kaos, we always welcome summer with great joy. We are delighted that we can find all the beautiful vintage summer dresses in a myriad of colors and patterns. Sunglasses and sandals arrive in the store, and of course summer is swimming season, and the time of year to show off all our vintage-inspired swimsuits and bikinis .

But how do you choose your vintage swimsuit and why should I choose a vintage style swimsuit?

The swimwear has a rather fantastic history, which we want to share with you here, and then we show you some of the fantastic vintage style swimwear we carry in Mondo Kaos.

The history and development of swimwear

The vintage bathing suit

The bathing suit as we know it today first appeared around the 1930s. In antiquity, we have enough wall paintings of what looks like women in bikinis, but it is assumed that these were used for sports and that people swam naked.

The bathing suit began its 'modern' history when spa baths began to appear at the end of the 17th century. From here, men/women began to use bathing suits (men swam mostly naked) to be able to go into the water. These were nightgowns similar to ankle length, made of wool, canvas or flannel. The swimwear had to be heavy when it absorbed water, and not float up, so that you wouldn't accidentally see exposed legs or arms. It also had to be large so that it did not sound against the body, and of course it had to not be transparent and in that way made the contours of the (female) body visible.

As the industrial revolution took off and you got railways, the opportunities to get to the beach increased. As people became fond of bathing, these suits were developed even more, but the important thing was still that you were completely covered. Thus, women also wore trousers with cuffs at the bottom, to keep them in place. Some even sewed lead into the bottom of the hem to keep them down. Decency was the watchword!

Allegedly, there were many arrests due to a lack of decency on the beaches in the 19th century, and one can understand why if it had to be so cumbersome to bathe.

Swimming as a sport – swimwear as a necessity

Around the middle of the 19th century something started to happen. Sports became popular! Women also started playing sports. The woman's swimwear went to the knee, but still tied to the leg so that the pant leg did not come up too indecently high, short or no sleeves, and the fabric became lighter.

But as the sport and swimming became more and more popular, and even made it to the Olympic Games, people began to realize that they needed something more practical to swim in.

The 'modern' vintage swimsuit

Swimming became a very popular sport and tight-fitting one-piece swimwear was invented; the bathing suit! The focus was on health and the healthy body, and therefore it was no longer indecent to bathe in a bathing suit. They were also made in the newly invented 'nylon'. It was practical as it did not absorb water.

The next development was that swimwear was no longer just for bathing in, but for sunbathing. This happened because from the 1930s people started to have paid holidays and this called for a change in swimwear. They began to introduce lower necklines, to remove sleeves and to make a more tight-fitting bathing suit. The two-piece bath set was also invented.

The vintage bikini

But it was Louis Réard who ran with attention when he launched the bikini in July 1946, 4 days after the first American nuclear test at Bikini Atoll. The bikini was named after this event as the bikini in Réard's production was small like the 'atom' and fierce like the bomb. Apart from the fact that there was now a two-piece bathing suit, the new thing was that the lower part did not cover the navel.

Our selection of vintage & retro style swimwear

We carry the vintage swimwear brand "Esther Williams Swimwear". Esther Williams was the great swimming icon of the 40s and 50s. She started her career by swimming in a show with Tarzan star Johnny Weissmuller , here she was discovered by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and then she starred in 26 feature films throughout the 40s and 50s, all focusing on the sea and water.

She became known as the Million Dollar Mermaid!

Brand "Esther Williams" - Swimwear in vintage style

The beautiful one-piece vintage swimsuit from Esther Williams has an incredibly flattering fit. It leans on the vintage bathing suits as you see them in the 1940s and 1950s, on e.g. pinup girls and Hollywood stars. Think the well-known Betty Grable pinup photos from World War II, or the many beautiful photos of Marilyn Monroe. It is the ultimate retro swimsuit . The suit has a halter neck and soft pleats at the front as well as a small skirt. In addition, there are soft cups that gently hold the bust in place. This style suits all body shapes and is super flattering. We have it in sizes up to 5xl and in different colors and prints, so you can be sure that there is always a vintage swimsuit that suits your body type and unique personality!

A vintage swimsuit is so flattering and iconic in its expression that you will feel beautiful and sexy at the same time. It is a fantastic alternative to the bikini for those of you who want to be a little more covered. It is beautiful for women of all sizes, which is why we also carry all our vintage swimsuits in plus sizes.

Black swimsuit in 50s vintage style

Floral swimsuit in vintage 50s style

Black swimsuit with dots in vintage style

Bikinis from Esther Williams

Vintage style bikini with cherries

The fantastic bikinis from Esther Williams are also very similar to those we know from the pinup girls. They have the perfect vintage pin-up vibe. They suit all body shapes and figures and are incredibly flattering. They are made from a smooth fabric of the finest quality and the top has soft cups with reinforced sides. It has a beautiful adjustable halter neck so you can adjust it perfectly to your bust and figure.

The bikini bottom is in true vintage style, it has a timeless vintage shape with a high waist that creates the perfect hourglass figure. Light pleats at the sides give a comfortable look and flatter the hip area without feeling constricted.

You'll look great in a vintage bikini whether you're sunbathing by the pool or taking a dip!

How to choose Vintage & Retro style Swimwear

When you have to choose your bathing suit or bikini, you can of course come down to us in Mondo Kaos, where we will be happy to help and guide you to find the right bathing suit to suit you.

Our skilled and expert staff will certainly be able to guide you to find your new favorite vintage bathing suit or bikini , whether you are going on vacation or staycation.

Come and try on your vintage and retro style swimwear at Nørrebro, Copenhagen, we look forward to seeing you and helping you find the perfect piece of retro swimwear for you.

Loving greetings,
Team Mondo Kaos ♥

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