Millions of women wear or have worn them.  Many millions of men love to look at them.  Here's a bit of history about this swimwear fashion that's commonplace at the Jersey Shore and at beaches everywhere.

The origin of the bikini goes way back to 1946.  Louis Reard is credited for inventing this fashion phenomena in Paris, France.  Some sources say the origin goes way, way back to 1913 when a two piece suit was designed by Carl Jantzen.

The bikini was named after Bikini Atoll, a part of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean.  An atoll, by the way, is not that toll barrier found on The New Jersey Turnpike.  It's a coral island that encircles a lagoon.

The bikini made it's official, shocking debut on The French Riviera in 1947.  It would be another 13 years or so until the bikini became widely accepted.

In the late 1950's movie stars that included Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Loren, and Anita Ekberg popularized the beach-side fashion in their films.  And yes, music played a role in making the bikini a common fashion article.  It was the 1960 song, "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" by Brian Hyland that helped put the bikini on the "map" and beaches.

Today,bikini sales are in the billions of dollars.  So, ladies, as you keep on wearing them, the men will surely keep on watching.