History Of The Bikini
Bikinis have been around for much longer than you think. The first bikini is dated as far back as 5600BC, and there were female athletes during the height of the Roman Empire who wore bikinis in athletic competitions.
But Christianity and the medieval period brought in religious conservatism, and bikinis were no longer in fashion. Two-pieces turned into ankle-length bathing gowns to promote modesty. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that Australian swimmer (and later Olympian) Annette Kellerman proposed a then-controversial skin-tight one-piece, which paved the way for a skimpier two-piece later on.
At first, it was only burlesque and vaudeville dancers who wore two-pieces, but the late 1920s saw a precursor to the modern bikini on the beaches of Russia and Germany. Films started showing women in bikinis and other two-piece outfits.
Then World War II hit, and there was a major fabric shortage. Bikinis got even skimpier as clothing materials were rationed. The post-war era saw the most provocative swimsuit ever designed – the Moonlight Buoy, which was made of lightweight material and came with a buoyant cork. This allowed the wearer to bathe nude while keeping their bikini afloat.
But the bikini as we know it today came from designer Louis Reard. His bikini was the first to show off the wearer’s navel and was, at the time, the world’s smallest bathing suit.
While there was a lot of resistance to Reard’s design (and later, even skimpier two-pieces), the bikini prevailed. It was associated with sex appeal, so when the sexual revolution happened, bikinis boomed in popularity.
Today, bikinis come in a huge range of styles and designs, from high-waisted vintage two-pieces to barely-there string bikinis.
What Makes For A Good Bikini Body In 2019
Before bikinis came onto the scene, having the best body wasn’t a major concern. Sure, physical appearance was still important, as was fitting in with the ideal body standards of the day. But bikinis introduced an obsession over having the “perfect” physique – an ample bust, trim waist, curvy hips, and long, shapely legs – that you would be proud to show off in a two-piece.
For a very long time, this set some very unrealistic standards for women and girls. Models, celebrities, and other famous personalities set the bar for what was considered beautiful and beach-ready.
But in recent years, the world experienced an epiphany – most women didn’t look like the stars on magazine covers and in movies. And that was okay. Instead of pushing a message that harmed the majority of women, we started to push self-love and confidence in your own skin.
Today, every body is a bikini body. There’s no physical requirement to wear (and look good) in a bikini. So this summer, be a little kinder to yourself, and rock that bikini like it’s nobody’s business!
The Best Bikini Bodies In The World
15. Marilyn Monroe
Actress, model, and singer (c. 1951)
14. Grace Kelly
Actress and Princess of Monaco (1955)
13. Ursula Andress
Actress, on the set of Dr No (1962)
12. Raquel Welch
Actress, on the set of One Million Years B.C. (1966)
Model, at the home of producer Charles K. Feldman (1967)
10. Serena Williams
Tennis champion, in Miami (2014)
9. Ronda Rousey
MMA fighter, in Captiva Island (2015)
8. Iskra Lawrence
7. Kate Upton
6. Anna Faris
Actress, on the set of Overboard in Vancouver (2017)
5. Ashley Graham
Model, in Nevis (2018)
4. Katelyn Ohashi
Gymnast and US Olympian (2018)
3. Kim Kardashian
Model, entrepreneur, and social media influencer, in Costa Rica (2019)
2. Demi Lovato
Actress and singer, in Bora Bora (2019)
1. Emily Ratjakowski
Model and actress, in Bermuda (2019)
These celebrity bikini bodies are all different, but they’re all equally gorgeous as well. Let this be a reminder to us that there isn’t only one way to be beautiful and that the best bikini body is the body you love and take care of.