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For all the boobs and blonde hair bouncing through Pamela Anderson's slow-mo Baywatch beach run, I'd argue that the sexiest part of her look was a subtler detail: the high cut leg holes on her sporty red maillot. With hip creases fully visible and a dangerously narrow strip of fabric covering her derrière, she made that one-piece more sultry than a string bikini. She was covered up, sure, but hardly hidden.
It's been equally difficult not to notice the hip-baring silhouette's sudden reemergence on the celebrity circuit lately, from team Kardashian's frequent swimwear selfies to paparazzi pictures of Selena Gomez on vacation, to the many, many poolside outfits of Rihanna. Gigi Hadid has proclaimed her love for the look with a vintage image of her mother, former model Yolanda Foster, on Instagram, and Beyoncé herself has been spotted staring out of our feeds in a rainbow ombré design.
But they're not alone in their love for the throwback style. Social media-savvy shoppers, retailers, and swimwear brands alike have jumped on the bandwagon. According to digital commerce hub Polyvore, the search term "high leg one-piece swimsuit" has seen a whopping 6264 percent increase in user searches since this same time last year; meanwhile, luxury and fast fashion e-tailers alike — including Net-a-porter, Moda Operandi, and Topshop — have stockpiled versions of the swimsuit for summer.
"One-pieces with [high cut legs] are powerful, streamlined, and feminine all at the same time," says Solid & Striped Design Director Michelle Copelman. "It makes a statement because it's so simple." To update the fit detail for her own collection, she's been looking to '90s icons who helped popularize the style, like Carolyn Bessette and Stephanie Seymour, for inspiration, but using pastels, color-blocking, and clean-lined stripes for a more modern touch.
When it comes to welcoming the old school beach look back into your own life, however, the key is finding the right variation. Lucky for you, there's no shortage of great takes on the suit, with myriad color, print, and neckline options to boot. Shop our favorite picks — including, yes, a nod to Pam's fire-red singlet — in the gallery above.