Last Season's Bikini
The archeology of last season's bikini is found in the tan lines; it is the suntan which provides the archaeology of the wearer's progression of exposure. A tan line formed on the body and in a way a corporal decoration which defines the parameter between a part of the body which is suntanned and a part which is not. Since the untanned skin is typically that which lies underneath a bathing suit, the exposure of tan lines themselves are provocative, and signal the bikiniite may be wearing a new silhouette, a smaller bikini (G8819), or that her current bikini has slipped down (CB9111) or ridden up (G8827). The exposure of last year's tan lines demonstrates the wearer is progressive, perhaps flirtatious.
In the years of bikini progression, summer begins with a newly exposed ring of white just above the bikini--where last year's suit had covered and this year's does not (JR7301), a graphic snapshot of a shifting erogenous zone. As the bikini approaches its reducto minimum, the bikiniite who used to wear a mini is now driven to micro (FI8803).
Tan Line Trends
In the mid 1980s, once the waistline reverses direction and rises, the erotic whitened, untanned area is now found below the side of the suit instead of above it; here the v-kini is rising (JB8401) and the adjustable is narrowing in the front (G198511, NYC8501, CI9106C), sometime also showing hairage (YM8504).
Tan lines also document the evolution of tanga (SF8501, NH8603, G8823, CB9010J), including the subject who is beginning to build up buttocks tan (LV9102), or teasing with fringe (FL8715) or flaps (CB9116).
Tan lines provide histories about subjects who formerly wore bikinis but are now wearing maillots (RB8403, KW8612, SE9164), as well as the inverse. Here a tanga residual is seen under a maillot rolldown (G8852D).
Tan lines mark novices at toplessness (C8994), and contrast them to more adept subjects, be they sisters (SM8811) or parents (C8902). And skillfully deployed they can inform about what one does wear to the beach (FL8910).
Double Tan Lines
Rare subjects may even display double tan lines, either as the result of a double diminution, as in this bikiniite's progression from v-kini through halfback to tanga (CB9174), or this history of multiple swimsuits (NR8501-03). Here multiple tan lines trace the momentum of exposure, coverup, and reburn (MP9568).
Tan Line Avoidance
Tan lines are considered a scrounge by many woman, and they will often engage in neck strapoffs (KW8607, CP8902), shoulder strapoffs (IS8404), and backstrap unfastenings (C8921) to obtain an even tan. The "problem" dates from the 1930s; one solution is Elsa Schiaparelli's patented backless swimsuit with a built-in bra, which promotes a tan without strap marks. Multiple swimsuits is another frequently practiced strategy (KK9210). Pasties, which keep the nipples from browning and keep the subject legal in non-topless situations, are another (KP88F9 and KP88F8).
Tan lines represent the archeology of exposure.