The Bikini: Fabric Shortage to Fashion Swimwear


        The modern bikini has evolved from a suit by two french designers in 1946.  The skimpy swimwear was a result of fabric rationing and a new sense of blithe - both a result of the devastation of World War II.  It is ironic that the term bikini came from nuclear bomb testing performed by the United States at Bikini Atoll.  This little swimsuit was a bit explosive when first introduced, and the changes in design over the last fifty years have mirrored what our culture has valued (or what fashion tells us to value).
        The original two-piece bathing suit was met with controversy, and many governments, including the Vatican, banned its use.  For this reason, women were slow to adopt the bikini in the 1950s.  Those who did wore high waisted bottoms as the belly-button was considered too revealing.  Brigitte Bardot broke barriers in the 1956 film God Created Women, but it wasn't until the 1960s that the two-piece and movie cameos became more accepted.  Ursula Andress’ white bikini in the 1962 film Dr. No and Raquel Welch’s in the 1966 film One Million Years, BC received rave reviews.  
        The sex symbol had begun.  Since then, the bikini has changed shape to accentuate the female form.  The high, lateral waist has changed to “boy shorts” and low riding bottoms as hips have given way to fit.  The top has become more risqué but also more supportive as breast augmentation became a mainstay of modern culture.  Unfortunately, a trend based upon feeling care-free began to give many anxiety.  
        Designers have become creative to help highlight certain areas and hide others.  Ruffles help hide the abdomen and divert the eye while patterns and inserts can help elongate the torso and "lift" the breasts. These and other new additions help morale and allow more women to jump in the deep end.  Plastic surgeons have altered their practice as well.  Tummy tuck incision are made lower and more horizontal now to fit into low-waisted suits.  Breast augmentation incisions have changed, and newer implants are designed to stay on the chest better when laying flat in the sand.  All of these are designed to lift confidence - and confidence in yourself is more provoking than any piece of clothing.
Article by
Rapid City Plastic Surgeon