Pop Culture




Since July 5, 1946, women have been hitting the beaches and poolsides in bikinis. National Bikini Day marks the anniversary of the invention of the revealing two-piece bathing suit.

Named after the Bikini Atoll, where the United States conducted atomic tests, the two-piece bathing suit made its debut in Paris. French designer Jaques Heim wanted to name revealing bits of fabric “atom,” but designer Louis Réard named his piece, revealed on this day in 1946, with the name “bikini” and the word stuck.

By World War II, sunbathers cast aside the chaste one-piece bathing costumes for simple two-piece bathing suits. However, nothing prepared the United States for the revealing bikini when it hit the beaches on July 5, 1946. The skimpy strips of fabric were seen as less than a women’s unmentionables. While Europe enthusiastically donned the bikini after a long and arduous world war, American’s sense of decency kept them from accepting the bikini until the 1960s.

Today, the bikini comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and fabrics. Designers expanded the style to flatter more body shapes, enticing more women to wear the fashion. Throughout the summer, the beaches and pools call for swimwear. If you’re considering the bikini, perhaps the celebration is the day to pick one that fits your style.

HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalBikiniDay

Wear your bikini or go shopping for a new one. Go to the local pool or beach for a swim. While you’re sunbathing, learn about the changing fashions of swimwear through the ages. Share your favorite styles and looks using #NationalBikiniDay on social media.


While we were unable to identify the founder of National Bikini Day, we did determine the date for the day commemorates the anniversary of the bikini bathing suit. Louis Réard, designer, presented the smallest bathing suit the world had seen calling it the bikini. The designer hoped his fashion statement would be explosive, much like the atomic tests on the Bikini Atoll. Réard sparked a firestorm of controversy with his itty bitty bikini, too. Many countries banned the two-piece bathing suit for several decades.

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