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Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Itsy-Bitsy Teeny-Weenie...

Today's History Lesson...fashion (swimwear)

Reflecting on the title, Itsy-Bitsy Teeny-Weenie..., more than likely the little 60s tune immediately came to mind...that is, if you grew up in the 50s/60s era of music.

  This summertime song was a #1 hit by Brian Hyland in 1960. The song is performed by Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy on the Muppet Beach Party CD. Picture a Night club scene from the 50s / 60s with a dance floor that has many film star guests; then, add Miss Piggy and Kermit The Frog.
It is not the tune that is the focus today but the topic of the tune: the bikini. While the first bikini is not as itsy bitsy as the bikinis of today, one must look at the times in which it was first introduced, then, enjoy the travel through the centuries as you marvel at the evolution of swimwear. Notice the pictures are mostly frontal views but I dare say the 'behinds' were completely covered...at least in the earlier years!

TIMEPhotos: The First Bikini Introduced July 5, 1946

The FIRST Bikini

'The modern bikini was introduced by French engineer Louis Réard and fashion designer Jacques Heim in Paris in 1946. Réard named his swimsuit the “bikini”, taking the name from the Bikini Atoll, one of a series of islands in the South Pacific where testing on the new atomic bomb was occurring that summer.’

Micheline Bernardini, 18, an exotic dancer is holding
a small box into which the entire costume could be packed.
Um-m-m? Could the bikinis of today be packed in an
even smaller box? Perhaps a thimble!
(You've come a long way, baby !)

Swimsuits haven't always been typically baring. Peruse some of the earlier 'models' that led the way to the bikini. Which ones do you sometimes still see today? Which would you like to be available once again? Think carefully for you just may get your wish. Fashion is always going back in time presenting reflections on yesteryear.
Late 1800s
"What do you think, Babe?"
Cover-up, cover-up, cover-up is the way of swimwear in the 1880s until about the early 1900s. Women are not supposed to reveal too much skin for that would present too much ogling by the men! Swimsuits of this era resemble dresses thereby allowing for very little exposure to man, as well as the blazing sun! Not much chance for a bronze suntan, girls!

Not your cup of tea?

"I think you need to stop there, mister!"

Fashion history makes waves in the Roaring Twenties as styles take on a curvish nature -daring and sexier - allowing for more skin exposure. Liberated from long skirts, the introduction of the sleeveless tank suit hugs every body curve making women feel sexier than ever. However, restrictions are still in place (time isn't right yet for complete freedom): a city ordinance requires swimsuits to not be more than six inches above the knee! Imagine that! Um-m-m? Prelude to the mini-skirt?
Perhaps this style offers you the more rounded teacup?
Ooh, la-la!
Bearing some relationship to the swimsuit of today is the one-piece backless suit of the 1930s. Not as ugly as in the twenties, the suits become more sleek with scooped out backs to allow for tanning. Women during this era like to show off their tanned backs in backless and low-backed dresses. Favorite colors: navy, white, cream, grey, black and buff with touches of red. Also in this era, is the introduction of the two-piece swimsuit leading up to the bikini in the mid-1940s.

Does this one seem more your style, more on the oval side than round?
Darling 40s
"All my life I have been looking for class...but this, is real class!"

The 1940s are very popular for their halter top bathing suits promoting the sexy corset-style. Introduced are a darling two piece with bloomer-style bottoms and the stripy one piece. Some were even designed with straps that unfastened to prevent tan lines. This one would most definitely be admired by the sun bather!

Do you perhaps find this one a little more alluring to your style and taste?.
We never get tired of being told we're pretty!

Imitative of the recent past the styles of the fifties - fun and flattering retro-inspired swimsuits - blend the best of the old with the best of the new. Detachable straps are still in during this era with almost every woman appearing to be wearing what one would view as the equivalent of a beach corset! Flowered, polka-patterned swimsuits evoke the cheery styles of the 1950s with mustard being a popular color. These swimsuits epitomize perfection for a day in the sun whether or not your intentions are cruising the boardwalk. 

Okay, this one has to be more of your liking - look at that cute little skirt! Yes?
"Fun, Fun, Fun. . ."

In full swing, the beaches sing to the tune of the bikini: Bryan Hyland kicks off the Decade of the Bikini with his smash hit Itsy-Bitsy, Teeny-Weenie, Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini! The end of the 1950's, the waistline has been lowered and the fascination of the day is "the navel." The young and the restless lead the way with the shrinking bikini BUT not far behind are women of all ages.

1960s: The 60s saw a revolution in fashion. Along with new innovation in fabrics. Rudi Gernrich change the face of swimwear with his radical design. The thong for men and topless swimsuit for women were the precursor in the modern day bikini. He is perhaps most notorious for inventing the first topless swimsuit, or monokini, as well as the pubikini (a bikini with a window in front to reveal the woman's pubic hair) and later the thong swimsuit. He was also known as the first designer to use vinyl and plastic in clothes, and he designed the Moonbase Alpha uniforms on the television series Space: 1999.

Now, we're talking! Do you 'dig' this one for a great tan?


Disco 70s
No string or thong, just those with cut outs!
The string bikini and thong bikini are revealed to the world, pushing the levels of public exposure to previously unheard of extremes. More recent one-piece swimsuits include revealing cutouts that leave very little to the imagination.

How daring are you?

Windows, windows, windows...
What can be said about the 80s swimsuits or should I ask, what can't be said? Check out these descriptors for starters:
* high leg line
* low armholes
* v-kini's, culotte
* low waistline
* topless
* side halters
* asymmetrical
* layered
* exercise inspired
* cut out one piece

AND, just when you thought that was enough...

* false belted waists
* skinny straps
* tying on sides
* knotting
* wrapping
* T-backs
* contrasting twists
* geometric seaming
* buttons, rings, zippers 

Are you ready to be a cut-up 'cut out'?

Did you really expect a thong?
The theme of the 90s is still the rising legline with its corresponding rising waistline thus exposing the midriff from the waist up, and recovering the navel. Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, both men and women are arrested for wearing thongs on state property, e.g., state beaches. Therefore, they are worn at pools, on city, county and federal beaches, and occasionally, even on the street!

Did you find your best fit yet?

 These are possibly conservative!
Interesting how many of the styles of the past have come around again in the 21st century. Yet, one major change is the shift from covering up to exposing more, more, more!

Here IS the THONG! 

This is more like it for the 21st century!
Perhaps you found your best fit, perhaps not. At any rate, at least you have a multitude of choices from any era you so desire. Just Google it! There are a plethora of Bikini Variants!