Trends come and go, and every once in a while one comes along we wish would stay forever. Such is the case with the “retro” swimwear trend, a throwback to the pinup old Hollywood glamour era. We love it because it contains some figure-flattering elements, including high-waist (to mask a tummy pooch) and full-coverage bra tops (for those of us who are more busty). The return of this trend has us shouting hooray — cat-eye sunglasses and red lipstick are optional.
What Is a Retro Bathing Suit?
A nod to the 1940s or 1950s, these decades brought bathing suits with skirts, ruffles and ladylike details plus prints (think polka dots, gingham and nautical-inspired). Swimsuits from this era often featured ruching on the sides, back and sometimes the front to make the suit more flattering on curvy shapes. Many also had breast padding, built-in bras, boning in the bodice (a nod to the corsets of the time) and sewn-in overskirts — a much more structured look than we see today. It was less about showing skin, and more about showing style.
With all that in mind, these are 10 cute options you’ve gotta get, right now!
10 Cute Retro Swimsuits To Shop Now
1. Amazon Retro Tummy Control One Piece Swimsuit
This retro swimsuit gives new meaning to one piece. Not only does it have a supportive bustline and a flattering ruched tummy area, but it also has a boy-short bottom. Perfect for anyone who’s looking for a little more coverage.
Price: $31.77 at Amazon
2. Bravissimo Whitsunday Two Piece Bikini Swimsuit
This bikini boasts a textured gingham print with a cute tie at the front, but don’t worry, there are underwire cups hidden inside, so even if it comes undone, you’ll stay in place! Pair with the high-waisted bottoms in the same print for a look that’s totally on-trend.
3. Swimsuits For All Confidante Two Piece Bikini Swimsuit
This underwire bikini top has a flattering wide-set neckline and longline style bra top for a little more support and coverage than some others (up to a 46G!) and is perfect if you’re a plus size. We love the contrasting polka dots, paired with the brief bottoms.
4. Adore Me Morgan Contour One Piece Plus Swimsuit
We love this kitschy one-piece with its cutout detail — all with a hidden bra top in an allover gingham print. The cute ties really make the look, and you get the ease of the one-piece with fun peekaboo details.
Price: $39.95 at Adore Me
5. Cupshe Striped Two Piece Bikini Swimsuit
This nod-to-nautical blue and white striped bikini top has a V-neck with ruffles to accentuate the chest and bust. The matching blue bikini bottom with white piping is high-waisted to provide flattering tummy coverage.
Price: $29.99 at Cupshe
6. Amazon Retro ‘50s High Waist Two Piece Bikini Set
The best part about a two-piece swimsuit? You can mix and match colors and prints. This COCOSHIP has lightly padded cups with a bow-style tie at the front and halter straps. The vintage high-waisted ruched bottoms allow you to customize the coverage by pulling up to your bra line for a one-piece look, or down a little closer to your hips.
Price: $29.99 at Amazon
7. SeaFancy Ruffle Striped Two Piece Tankini Set
The striped tankini top features ruffle details along the bandeau neckline and hem, with adjustable self-tying straps at the shoulders to help you find the perfect fit. The matching high-waisted bottom gives full tummy coverage in a one-piece styling, with the ease of separates.
Price: $28.69 at SeaFancy
8. Rotita Nautical Two Piece Bikini Set
This swimsuit screams pinup — with its “hey sailor”-esque style, similar to the famous posters during World War II. For someone who’s looking for authentic vintage swimsuits, this is it. With full-bust support, low-cut legs with a high-set waist, and even buttons to complete the look.
Price: $25.99 at Rotita
9. Retro Stage Checked Halter One Piece Swimsuit
We are simply gaga for gingham — the picnic print adorns many of the retro styles we are seeing online. This adorable one-piece has a sweetheart neckline with a flap detailing, and a halter, ruched middle, and boy-short style legs.
Price: $36.99 at Retro Stage
10. Flaxmaker Lace Up Retro Two Piece Bikini Swimsuit
So chic, with color block styling, this black and white two-piece makes a simple statement. With cap sleeves, a built-in bra and a higher waist with a tie, you’ll be the prettiest pinup at the pool.
Price: $49.99 at Flaxmaker
The Retro Swimsuit Bottom Line
The great thing about shopping for retro swimwear (besides the fact that it’s basically timeless) is it’s suitable for all shapes and sizes.
As I explain in my bestselling book, “The Bra Book: An Intimate Guide to Finding the Right Bra, Shapewear, Swimsuit, and More!,” (BenBella Books, 2017), there are some easy tips for finding the perfect retro-style swimsuit based on your shape and size:
- Apple / Inverted Triangle Shapes: You want to define your waistline, trim the midsection and lengthen your legs so retro high-waisted bottoms with high-cut leg openings are perfect for you. The built-in bra top styling will also give you that bust support you need.
- Pear Shape: You want to de-emphasize your bottom half by drawing attention to your top half. Look for the retro print tops and those with ruffle detailing, paired with a solid bottom.
- Banana / Rectangle Shapes: You want to create curves for your athletic figure. Look for ruffles, embellishment, and/or padding up top, with skirted or printed bottoms. You can also rock the all-over printed one-piece with boy-short legs, with ease.
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