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17 Vintage Photos of What Swimsuits Used to Look Like

Remember when swimwear wasn't all about the bikini?


Sun bathing

Today’s swimsuit styles are either too loud, too boring, or, well, barely there. Looking through vintage pictures of what bathing suits used to look like makes us miss the chic swimwear of yesteryear. While you can obviously find some flattering swimsuits these days, there’s something about vintage swimsuits that puts them in a league of their own.  From those figure-hugging one pieces that featured shorts, skirts, and even ties, to those unique two pieces, there was something for everyone. Take a nostalgic trip down memory lane with these throwback beach photos.

vintage family swimming poolCourtesy Greg Groom/Reminisce

Pool day with the kids

Mixing stripes with a print is always a flattering look.

Two women in swimsuitsOur-Planet Berlin/imageBROKER/Shutterstock

Sun protection

These two German women carry a parasol for added protection from the sun.

Mike Mulhern vintage beach photoCourtesy Mike Mulhern/Reminisce

Swim cap at the ocean

This swimsuit looks similar to a modern-day romper.

vintage man swimsuitCourtesy Pauline Bowyer/Reminisce

All black

Men’s swimsuits have also come a long way.

vintage swimsuit photoCourtesy Jo Persia Palillo/Reminisce

Stitches down the side

A stitched design on the legs and top of this swimsuit tie it together. If you want a swimsuit as flattering as this, make sure you avoid these mistakes the next time you’re bathing suit shopping.



Patterned swimsuits look good on almost everyone.

vintage woman swimming poolCourtesy Tom Laronga/Reminisce

Simple and flattering

You can’t go wrong with a black swimsuit and white trim.


Four by the sea

There were still many different styles to chose from.


Beach games

We might see a similar style of suit today. But heels at the beach? Probably not.


Flattering one piece

While you’re at the beach in your cute swimsuit, try these swimming workouts that burn major calories


Splashing through the waters

It’s hard to not have a smile on your face when you’re at the beach.


Checkered patterns

An umbrella is necessary, especially if you have fair skin.


Shell phone

If where you are living is too cold to break out the swimsuit and hit the beach, watch these fun beach movies to make you feel like you’re there.


Pool party

Men’s suits sometimes looked like a tank top with shorts.


Beach skirt

Skirts were a classic bottom back in the day. Now, you see a lot of high-waisted styles making a comeback.


Bathing beauty

Now, check out these empowering swimsuit pictures to prove that there is no one bikini body.

Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is an Associate Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. She writes for, helps lead the editorial relationship with our partners, manages our year-round interns, and keeps the hundreds of pieces of content our team produces every month organized. In her free time, she likes exploring the seacoast of Maine where she lives and works remotely full time and snuggling up on the couch with her corgi, Eggo, to watch HGTV or The Office.