Bikini

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The bikini or two piece is a women's swimsuit with two parts, one covering the breasts, the other the groin and, optionally, part or all of the buttocks, leaving an uncovered area between the two. It is often worn in hot weather, while swimming or sunning. A bikini is also often worn as an undergarment to the wetsuit for waterskiing, scuba diving, surfing, and wakeboarding. The shapes of both parts of a bikini resemble women's underwear, and the lower part can range from revealing thong or g-string to briefs and modest square-cut shorts. Merriam–Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th edition) describes the bikini as "a woman's scanty two-piece bathing suit", "a man's brief swimsuit" and "a man's or woman's low-cut briefs".

While two-piece bathing suits had been worn on the beach before, the modern bikini was invented by French engineer Louis Réard in 1946. He named it after Bikini Atoll in the Pacific, the site of the Operation Crossroads nuclear weapon tests in July that year.

The bikini is perhaps the most popular female beachwear around the globe, according to French fashion historian Olivier Saillard due to "the power of women, and not the power of fashion". As he explains, "The emancipation of swimwear has always been linked to the emancipation of women."[1] By the mid 2000s bikinis had become a US$811 million business annually, according to the NPD Group, a consumer and retail information company.[2] The bikini has boosted spin-off services like bikini waxing and the sun tanning industries.[3]

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