Style Icon: Esther Williams

When I hear the words "swimsuit model," my mind generates a generic cover image of Sports Illustrated with an unrealistically tan woman posed in some sort of sun-worshiping ecstasy, photo-shopped into perfection and covered by the tiniest bikini. It's a far cry from the first swimsuit model, Esther Williams.
Esther Williams started as a competitive swimmer on her way to the 1940 Olympics until they were canceled due to World War II. Williams soon found Hollywood knocking and began making a new genre of film--swimming pictures. The costume designers in Hollywood didn't swim and didn't know how to create suits that worked for actual swimming as well as style. Esther quickly began designing her own suits for pictures, a move that not only made her a pin-up girl and style icon but also a fashion designer who would shape the future of swim style.

Kaftan Coverup, Topshop $70
Braided Sunglasses, Forever 21 $5.80
Embossed Latex Bathing Cap, Amazon $13.99
Jantzen Vamp Maillot, Swim Outlet $91.95

Out of the water, Esther was the girl next door. Her style was simple, pretty and often playful.

Pictured: (All from Modcloth)
Kennebunkport Dress in Starboard $62.99
Don't Be Shellfish Necklace in Maine $12.99
Vanilla Skies Parasol $49.99
Pink Champagne Peep Toe Wedge $59.99

This isn't to say she didn't know how to turn on the sex appeal though. She became a favorite pin-up girl (mostly because there were so many pictures of her in swimsuits). Yet she fostered this image with class, remaining every bit a lady.

Mac Lipstick, Macy $14
Crackled Leatherette Clutch, Forever 21 $7.50
Silk tricotine dress, J. Crew $69.99
Nine West Pumps, Zappos $71.06
Cluster Dangle Earrings, Target $39.99

Esther's simple style and excellent swimsuits (not to mention her perfect legs) make her the ultimate summer fashion icon. After all, don't we all just want to lounge by the pool all day and wear breezy summer dresses at night?

Sleeveless Button Front Shirt, Old Navy $19.50
High Waist Short, Arden B. $19
Fish Necklace, Modcloth $39.99
Rope Tote, Forever 21 $5.80
Summer Fedora, Forever 21 $7.80


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