These Hollywood Bombshells Have All The Vintage Swimwear Inspo You Need

The women of Old Hollywood somehow managed to look glamorous wherever they were, including the beach. And it’s not their hair and makeup we’re talking about ― though both were always impeccably done ― it’s their swimsuits.

For the women of cinema’s golden age, one-piece swimsuits were extremely popular. These usually featured flattering sweetheart necklines, ruching throughout the body and low-cut leg openings, and sometimes came in fun prints. Around the 1940s, stars like Rita Hayworth and Ava Gardner wore two-pieces, with high-waisted, full-coverage bottoms and structured halter tops. (The bikini as we know it ― low-rise bottoms with higher-cut leg openings and a more bra-like top ― was introduced to the U.S. in 1946, Slate notes.)

There’s something about vintage swimsuits that just screams “bombshell.” Sure, they provided more coverage than the itsy-bitsy, teenie-weenie bikinis favored by Instagram “it” girls and models these days, but they’re no less sexy.

Unsurprisingly, considering everything old becomes new again, vintage swimsuits have clearly inspired a number of current retailers and brands, most notably ModCloth and Lisa Marie Fernandez.

As you prepare to hit the beach, pool, roof, balcony or even your fire escape this summer to soak up the sun’s rays (while wearing SPF, obviously), look to these Old Hollywood stars for all the swimwear inspiration you need. And always remember: The only thing you need to have a “bikini body” is a bikini, or any swimsuit, and a body.

Marilyn Monroe

George Rinhart via Getty Images

Enjoying the waves at the beach sometime in 1955.

Lucille Ball

Bettmann via Getty Images

Wearing a strapless swimsuit in “Best Foot Forward,” circa 1943.

Barbara Stanwyck

Silver Screen Collection via Getty Images

Reclining on a diving board in 1945.

Esther Williams

NBC via Getty Images

In a swimsuit during “The Esther Williams Aqua Special” in 1956.

Dorothy Dandridge

Bettmann via Getty Images

Relaxing in the sunshine on the French Riviera in 1957.

Sophia Loren

Silver Screen Collection via Getty Images

On a motor boat in the mid-1960s.

Bette Davis

Bettmann via Getty Images

Posing for a photo on the beach in California in 1933.

Elizabeth Taylor

Silver Screen Collection via Getty Images

Wearing a one-piece leopard print swimsuit, circa 1955.

Elizabeth Taylor (again!)

Sunset Boulevard via Getty Images

On the set of the 1959 movie “Suddenly Last Summer.”

Grace Kelly

Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

Among deckchairs and sunshades in the Cote d’Azur in 1955.

Lauren Bacall

Bettmann via Getty Images

On the set of the 1957 film “Designing Woman.”

Marilyn Monroe

Hulton Archive via Getty Images

In a strapless bathing suit and high heels, circa 1951.

Rita Moreno

Archive Photos via Getty Images

Posing on a balcony in a striking orange swimsuit sometime in 1961.

Jean Harlow

General Photographic Agency via Getty Images

Exercising with weighted pulleys on a patio, circa 1933.

Rita Hayworth

Bob Landry via Getty Images

Taking a bite out of a hamburger as she sunbathes in a white two-piece bathing suit, circa 1941.

Ava Gardner

Eric Carpenter via Getty Images

Flashing a big grin while modeling a stylish swimsuit on the beach in 1943.

Ginger Rogers

John Kobal Foundation via Getty Images

Rubbing sun lotion onto her legs before sunbathing in 1936.

Natalie Wood

Silver Screen Collection via Getty Images

Posing by a pool in a one-piece swimsuit, around 1965.

Norma Shearer

FPG via Getty Images

By the swimming pool of her Hollywood home sometime in 1930.

Gina Lollobrigida

Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

Posing in a swimsuit in a recreational park in Rome in 1949.

Jean Simmons

Silver Screen Collection via Getty Images

Wearing a print pattern swimsuit, circa 1960.

Veronica Lake

Silver Screen Collection via Getty Images

Lounging by the pool in a red-and-white striped swimsuit, around 1945.

Anne Baxter

Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

Wearing a strapless bikini top and matching bottoms, circa 1950s.

Alice White

Margaret Chute via Getty Images

Practicing her aquaplaning techniques, sometime in 1928.

Janet Leigh

Pictorial Parade via Getty Images

Wearing a purple bathing suit in the 1950s.

Here are a few vintage-inspired swimsuit options you can get for yourself:

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Vintage-Inspired Swimwear