The always sexy bikini turns 63 years old this week, and we think she’s looking better than ever! To celebrate her birthday, let’s look back at how she came to be the hottest part of our beach wardrobe.

Though two-piece outfits have been seen throughout history as far back 3000 BC, what we know as the modern bikini debuted in 1946 in Paris. During that summer, French engineer Louis Réard and designer Jacques Heim each independently designed a skimpier version of the traditional bathing suit. Heim’s design was the first to debut, but Réard gave the new swimsuit the name “le bikini” after the Bikini Atoll Island.

The new more revealing version of traditional two-piece suits was met with scandal and scorn all over the world and even the French models hired to wear them refused. It wasn’t until the early 50s that the bikini began to gain popularity along the French Riviera and it would take even longer to reach the United States (even Sports Illustrated blasted it as late as 1957!). Luckily the combination of private pools and the hit song “Itsy Bitsy, Teenie Weenie, Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” in 1960 finally brought acceptance of the bikini in the US. And we have never looked back!

So this weekend, as we celebrate the birth of the United States, lets also take some time to celebrate the birth of our sexiest beach ensemble. Cheers to Louis Reard, Jacques Heim, “itsy bitsy, teenie weenie” bikinis, and all the women who make them look fabulous!

A thought on how far we’ve come. From this:

To this:

Hooray for designer bikinis!

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