First, I suppose, one has to determine if they say “bathing suit” or “swimsuit.” Apparently I say bathing suit; David does not. Now that we have that important discussion out of the way…
Reminiscing about growing up in Huntington Beach got me thinking about high school bathing suits. There are a couple of styles that stand out distinctly in my mind, but as far as the internet is concerned, they did not exist. I, of course, am quite sure that they did.
First: the classic two-piece of my high school days. It had a fairly standard top, and fairly standard high-cut bottoms (which I think were usually shirred down the front like the ones shown here, actually). The important distinction is the length of the strings on the top. Instead of just tying behind you, as a normal bathing suit would, these strings were extra-long. You would criss-cross them behind you, thread them through the sides of your bottoms, then bring them around and tie them in the front.
Did this only happen in a tiny part of the world? How is it that the entire internet does not have a picture of this? I am usually an excellent Googler – no, seriously, I am; you can ask anybody – and I have not figured out a way to describe this suit that Google can understand. I am embarrassed to admit how much research time I invested in this in the wee hours of the morning today.
Second: my all-time favorite one-piece suit, circa 1983-1984. OP made these one pieces that were actually skimpier than a two-piece in some ways. This particular one was actually my sister’s, although I coveted it. It was black with white pinstripes that came to a V in the center; the straps were white. The classic OP details – besides the little “op” on the front hip – were a) that the back and front were connected at the hips by three strings and b) that the front was a very deep V.
I don’t know what I was thinking, borrowing that suit from Gina. She had way more of a figure than I did, at that point; instead of showing cleavage, that deep neckline probably just showed each of my ribs. (I’d had a terrible case of mono my junior year – got hospitalized, had parades of medical students in to study me, couldn’t eat or drink – and I was down to 93 lbs.) But every time I wore it, I felt perfect.
Yeah, that bathing suit doesn’t seem to have made its presence felt on the interwebs, either. I found one pretty close to it:
I never would have worn these bright pastels, though, and I remember the neckline as much more drastic. Whether it was actually different or not we may never know, but the black-and-white suit of my memories was way cooler.
As long as we are on the subject of 80s bathing suits and the beach, I suppose I should be required to put up photos of myself from that era. I could only find ones from my trip to Corfu in 1988:
I only had a one-piece when we got there, which was not conducive to tanning, so I think Deb and I skipped eating for a day to buy these old, stretched-out bikinis at a local shop. (I have no idea why I have my foot on a piece of paper. I may not even know it is there.)
What’s hilarious is the difference between how I looked and felt before and after we spent each day on that Corfu beach:
Lying in the hot sun for hours makes me a wee bit cranky and disoriented, but you do what you have to do to get that beautiful bronzed look. Then you get melanoma and are forced to stay out of the sun for the rest of your life. It’s definitely a trade-off.