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Beach Bound Beauty Standard: Flapper to Pin-Up

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As we all prepare to hit the beaches this summer, I thought a vintage bathing suit comparison would be appropriate and, of course, fun. While I could have shown a picture of bathing suits from every decade, the major shift happened between the flapper and the pin-up. Before the ‘20s bathing suits were wool, and the further back we go into history, the more fabric women had to wear to go swimming. And while much of the flapper movement was inspired by physically fitness, the mid section was still not shown and, as a flat chest was the fashion, the bust was never emphasized. The ‘20s model is shy, slouched and looking away; she is supposed to be sexy but she is not owning her provocation. Only twenty years later the bikini was invented and the straight silhouette of the ‘20s was traded for the bombshell body of the ‘40s. The pin-up sits poised and looks straight at us. Twenty years is a short time for such a shift in confidence, silhouette and, ultimately, the standard of beauty. And after this shift from subtle to sexy, the world of swimwear never looked back.

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