If you’ve ever jumped in to the water with your t shirt on, you know how long regular clothes take to dry. Sadly, the women in the 50s had to put up with that feeling every time they went swimming. Why? Well, the very stretchy material that is now vital in all swimwear, spandex, didn’t really exist until a decade later. In the 1960s, spandex changed the swimsuit industry forever, and for good, giving swimwear designers the chance to create a more fitted, lightweight suit. In Vogue’s 1965 June issue, the magazine stated “When it’s dried in the sun, it’s a sinuous velvety black, and when it’s soaked with water, it glistens like a seal on the rocks.” I bet Anna Wintour hopes a quote like that would have been accompanied by a suit like the Black Serpentine One-Piece from Badgley Mischka 2010.
As Vogue put it, spandex is the closest thing to a second skin. Before that, swimsuits were a constricting piece of non swim-ready fabric. So when you’re donning your favorite swimsuit or bikini, keep in mind how superior spandex – exclusive to designer swimwear – changed the fashion world.