Monday, April 11, 2011

Retro and Vintage Inspired Swimwear

Summer is just around the corner, so that means it is time to start thinking about swimwear! It's tough to strike a balance between modest and modern, but I think we can take a cue from the Hollywood expert on swimwear -- Esther Williams.

You probably already know this underwater dynamo of the MGM musical, but in case you aren't familiar with her, Esther Williams was a champion swimmer and former model who signed a contract with MGM and carved out a special niche for her work. She was the go-to girl for water-based, swimming musicals. My two favorites of hers are Neptune's Daughter and Million Dollar Mermaid. She often worked with Busby Berkeley and did many floating versions of his famous kaleidoscope visions.

Now Esther Williams wore both one-piece suits and two pieces and while they were always modest they never looked frumpy. Usually, the suits had a structured top usually with a halter and some coverage on the legs. Fun printed and cute special touches were typical. Most of the cuts look as if they would be universally flattering.

But, the best part is that we don't need to wonder what Esther Williams would wear to the pool, because she actually has her own line of vintage-inspired swimwear! She is 90 and still alive running a company that makes swimwear inspired by her career. ModCloth carries the entire line of these and they are all perfectly adorable. Most of the line also comes in plus sizes as well and ModCloth uses plus size models to show you how the suits actually fit -- awesome!

From my research, here are some of the cutest retro and vintage-inspired swimwear out there and all of the suits are under $100. I also included a few other beach essentials that feel retro to me to complete your look.

From left to right and top to bottom:
Swimsuit #1: Shabby Apple, Notte Stellata, $78
Sweater: AE Sailor Stripes Cardigan in Neon Lemon Lime on sale for $19.99
Swimsuit #2: Shabby Apple, Venezia suit, $82
Swimsuit #3: ModCloth, Esther Williams Bathing Beauty One Piece in Light Blue Velvet, $89.99
Tote:, Straw Studios Red Anchor Tote, on sale for $51.30
Hat: J. Crew, Windmill Straw Hat, $40
Swimsuit #4: Shabby Apple, Lampone suit, $82
Bikini Top: J. Crew, Pleated Underwire Top in Bitter Citrus, $50
Bikini Bottom: J. Crew, Shelley Bottom in Bitter Citrus, $46
Swimsuit #5: ModCloth, Esther Williams, Beach Blanket Bingo One Piece in Red, $89.99
Sweater #2: Forever 21, Crest Nautical Cardigan, $24.90

Here are some of the items above remixed into beach ready vintage outfits!

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