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Get the pin-up look this summer with retro swim suits

in Potpourri by

I’m going to call it: this is the summer of the retro bathing suit. Everywhere you look are adorable high-waisted bottoms, sailor inspired one-pieces, floppy hats and patterned scarves. It’s only June and already it feels like 1950s pin-up girls have invaded all the beaches. But don’t worry – there are plenty of cute retro looks to go around, and here at Booktrib we’ve rounded up some of the best. Check out these 10 adorable vintage bathing suits to kick off your summer right:

Fire-engine red is a great retro color, especially when used in a classy one-piece with a timeless silhouette. I can picture Rita Hayworth lounging on the beach in a suit just like this one.

Swoon suit red


This bathing suit gives new meaning to the term “yellow polka dot bikini.” Love the high waist, the color blocking and the subtle touches of bows!

yellow navy casablanca


Gingham is such a classic vintage fabric, and it’s perfect in a high-waisted pink bikini. You’d be the cutest picnic table around in this suit.



Nothing beats a classy black one-piece. The retro details – ruched fabric, a longer silhouette – only make this suit classier.

Classy Black


This harlequin pattern is so unique, and the stark black-and-white fabric adds a touch of glam to the 1950s cut of this bikini.

harleguin pattern


Nautical prints always scream retro-cool, and this blue and white striped suit is no exception. Love the unusual layout of the pattern and the bold splashes of red!

hearts to harbor


Speaking of nautical, here’s another sailor-inspired look, this time in a one-piece. The suit itself is relatively simple, but the retro styling takes it to another level – proving that sometimes simpler is best when it comes to your swimwear.

Coney Island Getaway


There’s something so glamorous about an all-white suit, and this cleverly designed one-piece is particularly lovely. It shows just enough skin, but still manages to stay classy with its wrap front and highly cut bottom.

flipper your world


Ruffles, a cute retro print, high-waisted bottoms, and a bandeau style top – what more could a vintage-lover ask for?



This skirted style is not your grandmother’s bathing suit. A cute – but still sexy – way to cover up while looking retro-hot.



Layout 1Need more vintage bathing suit inspiration? Check out Vintage Swimwear: Historical Patterns and Techniques by Jill Salen. Or pick up Resort Fashion: Style in Sun-Drenched Climates by Caroline Rennolds Milbank and Amy Fine Collins, and learn about how designers like Chanel and Rodarte incorporated tropical culture into their famous resortfashioncollections. Read these books or buy these suits, and pretty soon you’ll find yourself lounging on a beach in a polka-dotted bikini, long white scarf fluttering in the wind, margarita in one hand, giant sun hat in another. Personally, I can’t think of a better way to spend the summer.

What do you think of the retro bathing suit craze? Over the top, or vintage fun? Let us know in the comments!

Rachel Carter grew up surrounded by trees and snow and mountains. She graduated from the University of Vermont and Columbia University, where she received her MFA in nonfiction writing. She is the author of the So Close to You series with Harperteen. These days you can find her working on her next novel in the woods of Vermont.

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