- In Australia, Speedos are called “Budgy Smugglers,” a term
which is derived from the name of a small parrot, the domestic budgerigar.
Apparently, the body-hugging swimwear looks as if it is attempting to conceal
a parrot when viewed from the front.f
- The most expensive swimsuit in the world is a bikini that is worth $30
million dollars. Designed by Susan Rosen and Steinmetz Diamonds, the bikini
is made with more than 150 carats of D flawless diamonds which are all set
- The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition that generated the most
letters was the 1978 issue, “The Beauties of Brazil,” which
published Cheryl Tiegs' infamous fishnet see-through swimsuit. The best selling
was the 25th anniversary issue with Kathy Ireland on the cover in 1989.g
- The seamless Speedo polyurethane LZR (“laser”) suit, designed
in coordination with NASA, has helped swimmers break over 200 records in
just 23 months after it was introduced in February 13, 2008. The Fédération
Internationale de Natation (FINA) banned the LZR and other high-tech suits
on January 1, 2010.b
- The world’s largest bikini parade took place on November 9, 2009.
Clad only in bikinis, 287 girls paraded in Johannesburg, South Africa, to
raise awareness for breast cancer, which affects one in every 30 South African
- Tyra Banks was the first African-American to appear on the cover of a Sports
Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, in 1997. The second was Beyoncé Knowles,
- One of the first chest-revealing suits for men appeared in 1932 and was
called the “Topper.” The suit had a detachable top that
could be zipped away from the trunk bottoms. Unfortunately, men who chose
to appear topless at the time were often arrested for indecent exposure.i
|Wearing a thong in Melbourne, Florida is illegal
- Thongs are illegal in Melbourne, Florida as of January 2005. The punishment is a $500
fine or 60 days in jail.a
- In 1907, when Australian swimmer Annette Kellerman (1887-1975) wore a one-piece
suit in Boston that revealed her arms and legs, she was promptly arrested
for indecent exposure.u
- Perhaps the most celebrated cinematic swimwear moment of all time is when
Bo Derek ran down the beach in hair braids and a nude swimsuit in the movie 10.
The most celebrated bikini moment was when Ursula Andress emerged from the
water donning a white bikini as Honey Ryder in the 1962 Bond film Dr.
- In 1921, swimwear manufacturer Jantzen decided to change the term “bathing
suit” to “swimming suit” to justify their more revealing
swimsuits as a form of athleticism.j
- While the Brazilians helped popularize the thong and its derivatives in
the 1970s, the thong may have actually originated 75,000 years ago as primitive
clothing to protect male genitals.a
- The 2000 Thong Song by Sisqó—particularly the line “That
thong thong thong thong thong”—boosted thong sales and revitalized
the thong swimwear industry.a
- The thong (Old English for “flexible leather cord”) is known
as fio dental or “dental floss” in Brazil.r
- Physicians have noted that thongs may not only contribute to recurrent
vaginal infections, but the string can also inflame skin leading to thrush.
Additionally, thong wearers must keep the rectum and vagina clean, as the
string moves bacteria from the rectum to the vaginal area.n
- The term “G-string” does not derive from the fourth string
on the violin (G string) Rather, as linguist Robert Hendrickson suggests,
the “G” in G-string or “geestring” stands for “groin.”o
- The world’s largest swimsuit photo shoot took place on September
25, 2001, where a total of 1,010 women wearing bikinis gathered in Sydney,
Australia. Coordinated by Cosmopolitan and Venus Breeze, the shoot
celebrated “30 Days of Fashion and Beauty.”d
- The first formalized bathing costume in the modern era was not a piece
of clothing at all but a piece of architecture: a bathing machine. Invented
by a Quaker in 1753, the horse-drawn half carriage contained a “modesty
tunnel” that allowed a fully clothed Victorian woman to enter
the sea privately.j
- During the eighteenth century, women wore “bathing gowns,” which
were long dresses of fabric inspired by promenade or lawn dresses. Made from
wool or flannel, these bathing costumes had weights sewn into the hem to
keep them from floating up. Men would wear a body-fitting wool suit with
long legs and sleeves.j
|The burqini has encountered some controversy
- Muslim women can now choose to wear a burqini, which was introduced in
2007 by a Lebanese-Australian designer. However, a woman was banned from a
Paris pool for wearing a burqini because Parisian officials deemed the full-body
- Modesty laws were very strict in the early 1900s. In 1919, a woman was
detained at Coney Island for wearing a bathing suit in public—under
her street clothes.j
- In the early 1900s, many American cities created laws that required all
women in bathing suits to wear stockings.j
- In May 1917, the American Association of Park Superintendents published
in its “Bathing Suit Regulations” that men’s suits should
include a “skirt” worn outside the swimming trunks. Men could
also wear flannel knee pants with a vest front.j
- In Australia, swimsuits are known as “cossies.” In the UK and
Ireland, they are called “togs.”j
- In the late 1800s, the first bathing suits appeared and consisted of padded
bloomer pants made from wool or flannel, topped off with a knee-length dress,
black wool stockings, shoes, and ruffled hats. The heavy fabric made it almost
impossible to swim.i
- Surviving Minoan paintings from 1600 B.C. show women wearing two-piece
suits similar to the 1960 bikini. Additionally, a fourth-century A.D. mosaic
in Sicily titled “Bikini Girls” also shows women donning two-piece
- In 1964, Rudi Gernreich (1922-1985), cofounder of one of the first American
gay rights groups, the Mattachine Society, created the shocking “monokini”—a
swimsuit for women consisting of the lower half of a bikini with two thin
halter straps which came up between the cleavage and around the neck, leaving
the breasts bare. Today the term is used for any women's topless swimsuit.i
- When the first bikini was introduced in 1946, it was marketed as a two-piece
swimming suit that revealed “everything about a girl except her mother’s
- Up until the twentieth century, women who wanted to “swim” in
the ocean could merely jump through the waves holding a rope attached to
a buoy because their swimwear often weighed over 22 pounds. By 1915, women
athletes began viewing swimming as a sport and, consequently, swimsuit fabric
started to shrink.j
- When the Barbie doll debuted on March 9, 1959, her first outfit was a black-and-white
- Women’s swimwear makes up about 70% of the swimwear market. Children’s
swimwear constitutes 13%, and men’s approximately 17%.p
- In the developing world, men’s and boys’ swimwear is becoming
increasingly popular. However, the women’s market in the developing
world has been historically slow due to cultural and religious constraints.p
- China is the world’s largest exporter of swimwear, constituting approximately
70% of the global shipments.p
- In the 1950s, swimsuits with pointed breasts, known jokingly as “high
beams,” were popular. Some suits even offered inflatable bras
that could be blown up to the wearer’s desired size.j
|A mankini is a sling-type swimsuit for men
- A mankini, popularized in the 2006 film Borat, is a sling-like
swimsuit worn by men.j
- Fundoshi is a type of swimwear derived from traditional Japanese underwear
for adult males.j
- In the famous make-out scene on the beach in the film From Here to
Eternity (1953), censors demanded Deborah Kerr’s swimsuit
have a skirt to avoid being too provocative.s
- The last time Marilyn Monroe appeared in a bikini on screen was in the
1962 film Something's Got to Give.j
- There were two versions of the famous metallic bikini that Princess Leia
wore in Star Wars, Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983): one was
made from hard metal that actress Carrie Fisher wore during slow-action scenes;
the other was made from a more comfortable rubber piece that she wore when
she was performing stunts. There is an entire Web site devoted to Princess
- The bikini is named after the islands in the Bikini Atoll in the North
Pacific's Marshall Islands where the U.S. tested the atomic bomb in 1946.
Both the tiny swimsuit and the bomb had an explosive influence American culture.j
- La Femme is an all-female beach in Egypt, away from the prurient view of
men and cameras, where Muslim women can replace their long head and body
coverings with bikinis without feeling as if they are sinning.h
- In 1923, New York ballet dancer Pearl Howell donned an unusual bathing
suit made entirely of seaweed.j
- Though nude bathing was perfectly acceptable, ancient Greeks might also
wear bathing costumes, which were essentially street-wear togas. When bathing
again became popular in the early eighteenth century, both women and men
wore toga-like garments that paid homage to the ancient bathing institution.i
- The original bikini was created by automobile engineer Louis Reard (1897-1984)
and consisted of only 30 square inches. Reard declared it wasn’t a
real bikini unless it could be “pulled through a wedding ring.”j
- Jacques Heim (1899-1967) created a precursor to the bikini called the Atome
(French for “atom”). He declared it was the “world’s
smallest swimsuit.” The creator of the bikini, Louis Reard, claimed
he “split the Atome” with the creation of his smaller suit.j
- Sex symbol Diana Dors appeared at the 1955 Venice Film Festival in a mink
|The railroad was instrumental in creating a profitable swimwear market
- Because the expansion of the railroad in the 1800s allowed more people
to visit the sea side, the railroad was a major factor in creating a need
- Speedo is currently the world’s largest-selling swimwear brand. The
company was founded in 1914 by hosiery manufacturer Alexander McRae. The
name was created by a Captain Jim Parsons who won a company competition with
the slogan “Speed on in your Speedos.”j
- In 1936, Seamless Rubber Company introduced a new suit made from a crinkled
rubber fabric called a “cloque.” The suits were hot, clammy and,
to the delight of teenagers, had a tendency to peel off, even in mild waves.j
- Topless men were banned from the beaches of Atlantic City in New Jersey
because the city didn’t want “gorillas on our beaches.” It
wasn’t until 1937 when men finally won the right to wear just swimming
shorts without a shirt.j
- The Rabbit Fur Breeders of Southern California donated furs to create a
furry harlequin bathing suit in the early 1900s.j
- The bikini was worn for the first time by French model and nude dancer
Micheline Bernardini for a poolside fashion show at the Piscine Molitor in
Paris on July 5, 1946. She later received 50,000 fan letters.i
- The Hollywood Hays code, introduced in the 1930s, prohibited movie stars
from showing navels on screen. Consequently, two-piece suits were high waisted
with a brassiere-like top, which Jantzen called “Ladies Uplifter.”j
- At the first Miss World competition in 1951, Kiki Hakansson of Sweden became
the first and last to wear a bikini for her crowning ceremony. Her bikini-clad
crowning prompted a condemnation from the pope, and countries such as Spain
and Ireland threatened to withdraw from the event.j
- The bikini was initially banned by predominantly Catholic countries.j
- The 1960 popular song “Itsy-Bitsy Teenie-Weenie Yellow Polka-Dot
Bikini” triggered bikini sales in the U.S. This song, coupled with
the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, helped mainstream the bikini
in the U.S.j
The women’s swimwear industry is a multi-billion dollar industry in the U.S.
- In 2005, American women spent almost $1.4 billion on two-piece bathing
suits and swim separates.c
- The U.S. women’s apparel industry is worth nearly $100 billion, of
which swimwear is 2% at $2.2 billion (including one-pieces and accessories).
The entire swimwear and beachwear market retail value is nearly $13 billion.c
- Tan-through swimsuits are constructed of thousands of tiny pores that let
enough sunlight in to create a tan-free line without appearing naked.q
- Swimsuits now can be made from UV-protective fabrics. The suits can offer
50+ UPF, blocking up to 98% of the sun’s rays.k
-- Posted March 9, 2010
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