« McChrystal, Petraeus, Afghanistan | Main | "Milkooks" »

June 29, 2010

Swimsuits over Time

The blog princess has been shopping online for a swimsuit and found this of interest:

From Jayne Mansfield to Heidi Montag, check out the most memorable bathing suit moments through the years.

bathingsuits.jpg

Is it just me, or has our in-your-face world lost something?

Posted by Cassandra at June 29, 2010 09:01 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.villainouscompany.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/3748

Comments

I dunno Cass. I think the bathing suits aren't really the problem, more of who's wearing them. The Matthew McConaughey suit is a HECK of a lot more conservative in 2006 than the Mark Spitz one from 1973 was, and there's functionally little difference between the Tyra Banks 2007 suit and the Elizabeth Taylor (undated) one piece or the Annette Funicello 1964 suit. And heck, the Halle Berry 2002 suit is a copy of the Ursula Andress 1962 suit (it's just orange instead of blue).

I think it's the in-your-face people rather than the clothes.

Posted by: MikeD at June 29, 2010 09:18 AM

A Speedo is functional, no? :p

Overall, swimsuits today are little like the ones I grew up with. Even the bikinis.

But then I'm not a huge fan of Heidi Montag's personal floatation devices either so what do I know?

Posted by: Cassandra at June 29, 2010 09:53 AM

THIS is the most iconic swimsuit evar!
http://img518.imageshack.us/i/sexybuttxu0.jpg/

Posted by: Chuck Z at June 29, 2010 10:28 AM

OMG. I love it!

Posted by: Cassandra at June 29, 2010 11:03 AM

...there's functionally little difference between the Tyra Banks 2007 suit and the Elizabeth Taylor (undated) one piece or the Annette Funicello 1964 suit.

I suspect this may be a woman thing, Mike. I'm not looking at the women's bodies but at the suits and overall look. I do see an enormous difference between Tyra Banks' suit and Liz Taylor's, but that may be b/c I sewed for years and am interested in tailoring.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 29, 2010 11:05 AM

I love the old ones better, both bikinis and the bodies.
By virtue of my birthplace, I am more accustomed to speedos :o) Craig's 2006 swim shorts are the exact replica of what my father wore in the Summer of 1972 and I have a picture to prove :o)

Posted by: olga at June 29, 2010 11:40 AM

Is it just me, or has our in-your-face world lost something?

Yes and no. Or possibly no and yes. It's hard to think of which when I'm distracted. I do know this, whatever it is there's a "yes" involved. Or maybe a "no." What's the question?

Posted by: spd rdr at June 29, 2010 12:31 PM

I love the old ones better, both bikinis and the bodies.

Yeah, me too Olga.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 29, 2010 12:52 PM

"What's the question?"

What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

Posted by: Peanut Gallery at June 29, 2010 02:16 PM

I think the older styles are often more flattering. And, the celebrity body images back in the day were more healthy, too.

I've hated shopping for swimsuits. More of the ones that are out there aren't designed for those of us who are more curvaceous. Although I've lost quite a bit of weight in the last year and a half, I can't just go into a regular store and buy a suit off rack. In order to get one that fits like I need it to, I'd have to go to a specialty shop and pay an arm and a leg....and I don't need a suit enough right now to justify that kind of expense...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at June 29, 2010 09:47 PM

My current (long, baggy) swimming trunks are - wait for it - camo pattern.

Go figure, huh? ;-)

Posted by: camojack at June 30, 2010 01:40 AM

I suspect this may be a woman thing, Mike. I'm not looking at the women's bodies but at the suits and overall look. I do see an enormous difference between Tyra Banks' suit and Liz Taylor's, but that may be b/c I sewed for years and am interested in tailoring.

Sure, Miss Taylor's has straps and is more subdued in color... what else am I missing?

And if you think the bikinis are different, you apparently haven't seen shots of what they wear in Brazil. And no, I'm not really comfortable about the fact that my sister is working there now. But I figure I ask no questions, she'll tell me no lies.

Posted by: MikeD at June 30, 2010 08:53 AM

Ms. Taylor's fits her (as do most of the older suits); the fabric is cut and sewn to fit the curves of her body. The modern suits look like the wearers are being squeezed into the shape of the suit.

Posted by: htom at June 30, 2010 10:15 AM

That was well said.

The biggest difference I see between the older suits and the newer ones is tailoring - Taylor's suit (and I'm working from memory) is shaped to fit the female body as opposed to stretching over it.

The top of her suit had a cuff on it, I think, and I believe the bust area was gathered horizontally. That has the effect of subtly enhancing and calling attention to the bust.

Ursula Andres' bikini has similar detailing - the bust is gathered where Halle Berry's is plain.

I sometimes like to shop at retro and vintage clothing stores and when I do I am always amazed at the detailing in 1950's dresses. They emphasize a woman's curves - there is often detail at the bustline, the waist is nipped in to a full, gathered skirt that creates the illusion of an hourglass figure even if the wearer wasn't endowed with one by her Creator :p

And then there are those divine pencil skirts with the finely tailored short jackets. You can't find clothes like that for sale any more.

I'm in the process of replacing the business suits in my closet and I've just about decided to spend the money having one custom made b/c women's suits are so Godawful ugly and poorly made nowadays.

We see the same thing in furniture - there are few furniture makers these days who rival the materials and workmanship of older manufacturers like Baker or Kittinger. We have more, but it's more poorly made.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 30, 2010 10:28 AM

Ms. Taylor's fits her (as do most of the older suits); the fabric is cut and sewn to fit the curves of her body. The modern suits look like the wearers are being squeezed into the shape of the suit.

AH, ok this makes sense, and for once, I can honestly explain it. Think back to the 60's. What were swimsuits made of? Linen? I'm honestly not sure. I wasn't around at the time. But basically, it was cloth. Generic, everyday, not-really-stretchable cloth. For a business suit to look good, it had to be tailored. For a swimsuit to look good, it had to be tailored.

Now think of today. What are most swimsuits made of? Spandex. Or some other manner of stretchy cloth. Why? Because it can fit a broader range of bodies without needing to be tailored. It's cheaper. The material I mean, not the women (ok... MAYBE the women, but that's more of a judgment call).

I'm in the process of replacing the business suits in my closet and I've just about decided to spend the money having one custom made b/c women's suits are so Godawful ugly and poorly made nowadays.

Because suits today are meant to be worn off the rack. You're not expected to take them to a tailor for proper fitting. In fact, I've had exactly one item of clothing tailored in my adult life, and those were my dress blues for my wedding. Other than on post, I'm not sure where I WOULD find a tailor anymore.

Clothing is cheaper because consumers like to spend less. Furniture is cheaper for the same reason (that and older hardwoods are more difficult to export and import now due to regulations and restrictions). The suppliers are giving we consumers what we are asking for with our wallets. It's OUR fault cheaper materials are used. It's OUR fault poor construction is used. It's OUR fault tailored suits are now a luxury item rather than a business requirement.

And when new wonder materials like spandex allow a swimsuit to fit sizes 4-8 rather than size 6 only, and also can help give that hourglass figure (some toothpaste tubing aside) well, that makes it cheaper for the manufacturer, the store, and the consumer. And we consumers do love us some savings.

Posted by: MikeD at June 30, 2010 01:18 PM

I can't quite put my finger on it, but my reaction was also similar to Mike's. The person wearing the swimsuit seemed to be more "in your face" than the swimsuits themselves.

For example, take (I think was) Eva Longoria's one piece. It is far and away more modest than, say, the Heila Monster's bikini but it still seemed more "in your face" to me than many of the older swimsuits that were comparitively more revealing.

Perhaps, that too is related to the subtle detailing you just mentioned that you just don't notice until it isn't there.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at June 30, 2010 01:54 PM

Lots of different fibers were used in the 1950's and 60's; Rayon and Nylon, as well as cotton and blended fibers. Linen and silk would probably not be used. Various plastics substituted for whalebone. Latex panels were sometimes used for shaping.


Different weaves of the same fiber give different stretching characteristics, and different ways of orientating the grain of the fabric to the pieces cut can greatly change the way the fabric drapes. Modern clothing design is almost architectural, rather than organic. Maximizing the use of fabric (well, minimizing the waste) vs. maximizing the fit of the product.


I've got expensive shirts where the grain runs slightly slanted to the length of the sleeve, for example :(; this means that the manufacturer can cut fifteen pairs of sleeves from a bolt rather than fourteen (the maker probably feels :) ) The sleeves don't drape properly, never will. I now look much more closely at such things, rather than assuming they were done correctly.

Posted by: htom at June 30, 2010 02:54 PM

All I will offer is my observation that people who generally should not wear spandex do. And tailored clothing is worth the cost unless your are fortunate enough to be blessed with an off the shelf physique.

For the sake of full disclosure, pun or not, you make the call, I'm now of an age where I find a bit of mystery much more attractive in most folks. Imagine that...

Posted by: bt_the_resident_Neanderthal_hun at June 30, 2010 03:00 PM

I am currently blessed with a physique that requires a bit of mystery, meself. But even in my prime (and at one time, I'm here ta tell ya, my Prime was Grade A), I was not a fan of "putting the wares on display". And my friends and I have always agreed that spandex is a priviledge, and not a right.

But "one size fits all" definately provides cost savings for everyone involved. Even if the aesthetics suffer. And lordy how they suffer.

Posted by: MikeD at June 30, 2010 03:42 PM

I've always liked bikinis and up until I turned 50 they were my bathing suit of choice because frankly I look better in a bikini than a one piece. Bikinis do show more skin, but unless you wear a thong or a top that's too small all the so-called naughty bits are well covered. Unfortunately once one hits a certain age, no matter how in shape you are it's more flattering to cover up a bit.

I had a lot of string bikinis that were still pretty modest.

Part of it is the person wearing it - if you have 46DD boobs, even the most modest top will seem quite literally "in your face". Anyway, I'm with Mike and bthun on this one. I think subtlety and a modicum of modesty are far more alluring that putting everything you have on a platter and serving it up.

Dear God leave something to my imagination. It works just fine.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 30, 2010 03:53 PM

It's the tease. You have to show just enough that the viewer wants more, but not so much that the viewer's imagination fills in the desire. A present in a box with a bow vs a present with a bow.

Posted by: htom at June 30, 2010 04:47 PM

Cass: I've spent some time recently paging through pattern books at the fabric stores. You might be interested in knowing several of them have retro patterns available: they are basically re-releasing vintage patterns. I have seen several I like from the '40s and '50s, but I'm not prepared to put that kind of work into a garment now when I'm not done losing the weight I want to lose.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at June 30, 2010 11:59 PM

Sometimes suits are too revealing these days.. back in the '40s and '50s there was still an element of mystery.

Posted by: Kate at July 11, 2010 03:01 PM

I just came across this blog and found it very interesting indeed.Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: Modestkini at July 13, 2010 02:00 AM

Post a comment

To reduce comment spam, comments on older posts are put into moderation 5 days after the last activity. Comments with more than one link also go into moderation. If you don't see your comment after posting it, try refreshing the screen. If you still don't see it, your comment is probably in the moderation queue.




Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)