It was the original Blonde Bombshell who started the whole thing, and she sure began it with a bang. In the 1950s, years before the phrase “bikini body” was in the swimwear lexicon, Marilyn Monroe was showing off her famous curves in a two-piece swimsuit on the sand. This phenomenon led to more photographs and more swimsuits until tropical beaches everywhere were flooded with this new symbol of surf-and-sun sensuality. By the time the bikini burst on the scene in the 60s, hourglass figures were a cultural staple. Since then, Monroe’s glorious debut as the first true Venus from the sea has been imitated by dozens of women from runway models to pop stars. Armed with complete confidence and some super sexy suits, these iconic ladies carry on the tropical legacy of summer’s alluring beach babe. Let them inspire you to better and tanner things.
Proof the 70s and 80s are alive and kicking.
Flower gardens and sand dunes go well together.
Hands down one of the finest Bond girls ever to grace the screen.
Queen Bey never disappoints when it comes to fashion prowess.
Only a select group of women can make a straw sun hat look this sexy.
Pastels aren’t known for being explosive colors, but this bikini pulls it off swimmingly.
Here’s Cindy soaring in the air in a polka-dot two-piece. What more could you want?
Plus-sized women can look fantastic in a bikini. Just ask Ashley Graham.
Because everyone deserves to see a picture of Grace of Monaco snorkeling once in their lifetime.
CAMERON DIAZ AND DEMI MOORE
Surfing can be a pretty fashionable sport if you find the right two-piece.
Vintage swimwear doesn’t get much better than this.
It’s not that glorious red swimsuit that planted itself in 70s lore, but we’re still pretty impressed.
The originator herself complete with braided hair and a decorative strapless bralette.
Somewhere in this gallery of iconic bikinis sits the perfect beach outfit for you. Go ahead and give your favorite look a shot. You may not be movie star material, but that’s no reason to miss out on an iconic two-piece swimsuit.
— Scarlett Price