Guide to Vintage and Retro Style Swimwear

Guide to Vintage and Retro Style Swimwear

With Mondo Kaos we always face summer with great joy. We are delighted that we can find all the wonderful vintage summer dresses in a myriad of colors and patterns. Sunglasses and sandals come to the store, and then of course summer is bathing season, and the time of year to show all our vintage inspired swimsuits and bikinis forward.

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

The swimwear has a pretty amazing story, which we will share with you here, and then we will show you a little of the amazing vintage style swimwear we lead in Mondo Kaos.

The history and development of swimwear

Vintage swimsuit

The swimsuit as we know it today only emerged around the 1930s. In antiquity, we probably have murals of something resembling women in bikinis, but it is believed that these were used for sports and that people swam naked.

The swimsuit began its 'modern' history when spa baths began to emerge in the late 1600th century. From here, the woman / woman started wearing bathing suits (men swam mostly naked), in order to be able to walk in the water. These were nightgown resembling serk, in ankle length made of wool, canvas or flannel. The swimwear should be heavy when it absorbs water, and not float up, so that you do not accidentally see bare legs or arms. It also had to be large so that it did not resonate with the body, and of course it did not have to be transparent and thus made the contours of the (female) body visible.

As the industrial revolution gained momentum and railways were introduced, the chances of getting on the beach increased. As you became happy to swim, these suits were developed even more, but the important thing was still that you were completely covered. Thus, women also wore trousers with the cuff below, to hold them in place. Some even sewed lead into the bottom of the hem to keep them down. Decency was the watchword!

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

Swimming as a sport - swimsuit as a necessity

Around the middle of the 1800s, something started to happen. Sports became popular! Women also started playing sports. The woman's swimwear went to the knee, however, still tied in to the leg so that the trouser leg did not come up too obscenely high, short or no sleeves, and the fabric became lighter.

But as sports and swimming became more and more popular, and even came along to the Olympics, one began to realize that one needed something more practical to swim in.

The 'modern' vintage swimsuit

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

The next development was that swimwear was no longer just for bathing in, but for sunbathing. They began to introduce lower necklines, to remove the sleeves and to make a more snug-fitting swimsuit. The two-piece bath set was also invented.

Vintage bikini

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

Our selection of vintage & Retro style swimwear

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

She became known as the Million Dollar Mermaid!

The 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 swimsuits as you see them in the 1940s and 1950s, on eg pinup girls and Hollywood stars. Think the famous 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 bowls 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 at once feel beautiful and sexy. It is a great alternative to the bikini for you who want to be a little more covered. It is great for women of all sizes and therefore we also carry all our vintage swimsuits in plus size.

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 amazing ones bikinis from Esther Williams also very reminiscent of those we know from the pinup girls. They have the perfect vintage pin-up vibe. They fit all body shapes and figures and are incredibly flattering. They are made of a smooth fabric in the finest quality, and the top has soft bowls with reinforced sides. It has a beautiful adjustable halter neck so you can adjust it perfectly to your chest 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 folds in the sides give a comfortable look and flatter the hip area without you having to feel narrowed.

You will look great in a vintage bikini whether you sunbathe by the pool or take 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 are happy to help and guide you to find the right bathing suit to suit you.

Our skilled and professional staff will surely be able to guide you to find your new favorite vintage swimsuit or bikiniwhether you are going on vacation or staycation.

Come and try on your vintage and retro style swimwear in 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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