Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles I actually remember the first time I wore a two-piece bathing suit. And I remember sitting on the edge of the pool and just crouching over and trying to pull the top down because I wanted the two pieces to connect. The bikini is a fashion icon. Let's be honest, people like to look at people in bikinis. But the skimpy nature of the bikini doesn't quite explain all of its popularity. So how did the smallest suit in the world become the biggest one? It's pretty crazy that the bikini is the most popular swimsuit on earth, given how restricted women's clothing has been throughout history. Up until the 1900s, people in Europe and North America used this really weird contraption called a "Bathing Machine"-- a wooden box on wheels, like a mobile changing room. Women would sit in the box, which was then pulled down to the ocean by a horse. This was meant to keep women hidden away from the eyes of men. A lot of places had strict laws about minimum swimsuit length. Police would even walk around with rulers and straight up measure your bathing suit. That is so gross. Public opinion on the matter didn't really change until Annette Kellerman, a swimmer and silent film star, was arrested for wearing a more form-fitting suit in 1907. Kellerman's high-profile arrest caused people to re-think the frumpy suits in favor of a tighter, more aerodynamic approach. It's good to note, more revealing two-pieces had already existed for hundreds of years. These mosaics from the Villa del Casale in Sicily feature women in bikini-like outfits as early as the fourth century. So when did the skimpy swimsuit finally resurface? Fast forward to 1946. The United States has been testing nuclear weapons in a place called Bikini Atoll in the Pacific. A French engineer by the name of Louis Reard decided he wanted to make a similar sized explosion in the world of fashion. Reard had created what he called the smallest bathing suit in the world. Basically just two triangle pieces of fabric held together by some string. There's only one problem. The suit was so small, that none of the models in Paris would wear it. Reard had to enlist the help of a burlesque dancer from a nearby casino, Micheline Bernardini, to unveil the bikini at the Piscine Molitor pool in Paris. The suit got a big reaction. The Vatican declared it sinful. Spain and Italy banned it immediately, and Bernardini started getting lots of fan mail. By 1950, the bikini was a permanent fixture on European beaches, and by 1960 it caught on in North America. And now, it's one of the most iconic pieces of clothing ever. At the end of the day, you don't have to wear a bikini, but it is pretty nice having the option. What's your experience with a bikini? You can tell me in the comments below, or on social media with the hashtag #WEWEARCULTURE. Thank you so much for watching. If you enjoyed learning about that as much as I did, head on over to Google Arts and Culture here, and make sure to check out the rest of the videos by clicking over here.