Here's an article from Holiday magazine (June 1950) titled "1950: A Nice Round Figure" - a fascinating look at the fashion mindset of the day. Bikinis are "out" and thick round figures are "in".
The caption for the photograph above says it all:
Definitely not for the meek are these two "Tarzan's-mate" suits made of leopard-print cloth. On the left, a brief sharkskin lined with jersey. Right: a strapless leopard nylon-velvet suit with mid-calf length paneled skirt. Recommended only for girls with Miss America figures.
Less bones, less nudity, more curves and more frills add up to a more feminine look on the beaches.
WOMEN ARE GOING to look more like women on the beaches this summer. This good news comes from the American bathing-suit designers, who have decided at last that girls in swim suits look best when they are permitted to look like their natural selves, instead of being disguised as little boys or muscular longdistance swimming champions. As a result, bathing-suit designers this year have sketched their designs from life, with the assistance of the French curve rather than the ruler.
The results of this change-over, shown on these pages, will be popular with women and men alike. Bathing suits this year are prettier— perhaps prettier than ever before —and more feminine. Almost all of the suits encourage the pleasant round look in the right places. The big favorite of the past few years, the slim, elasticized two-piece suit, is definitely on the wane and with it the heavy engineering job of uncomfortable boning which frequently created exaggerated and artificial lines around the bosom.
The French "Bikini" bathing suit has just about disappeared (it never quite fitted American figures and American modesty) to be replaced by an earlier popular import from France, the maillot. The new maillot, however, is something more than a one-piece sheath; in many cases it has a soft, frilly skirt attached to give that feminine 1950 look.
Most women are neither athletes nor models, so some figure-control is required in their beach wear. This year the result is achieved by skillful handling of new fabrics, by intelligent paneling and pleating, rather than by boning. Bathing-suit fabrics like velvet are now completely water-repellent but still manage to keep their soft appearance. Colors are soft and subtle: creamy yellows, cyclamen pinks, cornflower blues and light tangerines. Women will look good in 1950 bathing suits —good and feminine.
Old look, new look: the corset-style bathing suit is on the way out. In the foreground is the new, unrestrained suit, a one-piece elasticized satin, lightly boned. Background: the old-style, heavily boned suit for more figure exaggeration.
Elegant and sleek are these two formal suits. Foreground: a boneless one-piece nylon net over jersey with a black-satin motif appliqued on suit. Back: popular black again, a one-piece, shiny, strapless bloomer suit.
White-satin bathing suits glow prettily at cocktail time at Hoberg's Desert Resort in California. Left: a one-piece elasticized satin sprinkled with nontarnishable rhine-stones. Right: a water-repellent slipper satin with petal effect on halter and shorts.