Tankinis are a swimsuit with a storied past. Women’s summer swimsuits have endured a long history, with significant changes over the centuries. Every transformation from the 18th Century to the present demonstrates the evolution of social norms, cross-culture influence, and technological advancement to embrace women’s natural beauty and diverse physique.

Swimming started to become a popular recreational activity in the 18th Century, with the beginning of the modest era in the 1800s, the 20-year fashionable period from the 1920s, and the daring years between the 1960s and 1980s. Nowadays, swimsuits are in a diverse era with many alluring and different styles for women to express themselves freely, neglecting traditional beauty standards.

Tankini - Bikini Village

Courtesy of Bikini Village

History of the Tankini

Tankinis were introduced as fashionable and functional modern garments in the late 1990s. This year, fashion influencers on social media are bringing them back, making them hotter than ever.

A tankini is a swimsuit that combines a tank top with a standard bikini bottom – the perfect combination of the coverage of a one-piece suit and the convenience of a two-piece. Initially popular among children and for athletic activities, tankinis have been going viral in 2024, making them a trendy item for any summer girl.

The tankini was the brainchild of Anne Cole, a renowned designer from the California swimwear label. Officially introduced in 1998, Cole designed the tankini to address women’s anxieties about swimwear.

The design soon became an emerging item in this era, taking up nearly a third of the swimwear market. In the following years, reputation designers such as Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Nautica, and Calvin Klein Tankinis have evolved and diversified tankini styles.

In 2004, the tankini became controversial when manufacturers like Ondade Mar and Victoria’s Secret used Buddhist iconography and called their designs ‘Asian Floral Tankini’. Shortly afterward, Victoria’s Secret stopped selling the items and officially apologized for the use of Buddhist images on their swimwear

Tankini - Bikini Village

Courtesy of Bikini Village

Tankinis Today

Despite controversies, tankinis remain functional items in their original design. Fashion writer April Masini considers tankinis the most flattering beachwear option because they possess the right amount of coverage but still have a two-piece feel. For people with gymnophobia (fear of nudity), a slightly loose tankini paired with a sarong is suggested. This item also comes in styles for pregnant women due to its comfort and appropriate coverage.

Unlike other swimwear items, tankinis can be flexible in mix-and-match, providing an interesting and creative fashion game for girls to express their style while embracing the summer’s most trendy item.

Tankinis can be mixed based on the top and bottom colours or a monochrome look. Another way to make your look more interesting is to accessorize with other beach attire, such as cover-ups or hats, sunglasses, and beach bags.

 

Tankini - Bikini Village

Courtesy of Bikini Village

 Tankinis Have Significantly Evolved From Their Initial Fabric and Function…

Transforming into a stylish swimwear option in diverse styles worldwide. This cute item could be an ideal option for your beach activities, or you want to makeover your summer closet.

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