Summer may be weeks away, but I am already dreaming of beaches, boardwalks and bikinis. Not just any bikinis, mind you, but retro-inspired styles that evoke the summers of yore. As I was scouring the 'net for vintage swimsuits (both bikinis and not) for inspiration, I came across this mid twentieth-century beach-goer wearing a gorgeous gingham one-piece.
Gingham was originally a striped fabric, first produced in seventeenth-century England for export to the country's colonies. The word "gingham" may be derived from the Italian "ging-gang" or Malaysian "genggang," both of which mean "striped". By the mid-eighteenth century, the lightweight fabric was a simple two-color check, and was widely popular in the Americas and Europe. As V is for Vintage notes in their article on the subject, gingham became associated with American patriotism and nostalgia for the country's colonial past in the 1930s and 1940s; by the 1950s - when the picture above was taken - it was "a popular choice for creating an image of safe domesticity, authenticity and... non-threatening sexuality."
Sixty years later, the fabric remains stylish and versatile, especially for swimwear. Try it for yourself with these retro-inspired styles, all in the now classic blue-and-white check.