Summer sizzlers...classic beauties take swimwear title

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Classic beauties Raquel Welch, Ursula Andress and Marilyn Monroe have triumphed over 21st century models like Kate Upton and Kelly Brook in a poll of the 50 hottest ever bikini babes, according to a new study.

Although it’s 50 years since she donned a fur bikini in One Million Years BC, Raquel Welch was voted the number one bikini body of all time in a survey to mark National Bikini Day.

And Ursula Andress, whose white bikini became iconic after she wore it in the first James Bond film Dr No, took the second spot.

Third place went to siren Marilyn Monroe, whose curvy figure has made her a pin­up ever since her 1940s heyday.

No 21st century models made the list until Kelly Brook, who appeared at number four, closely followed by Michelle Keegan.

The study was conducted by Swimwear365, who were looking to find out if the nation’s attitudes to bikini bodies have changed.

Swimwear365’s spokesperson, who commissioned the poll of 2,000 women to celebrate National Bikini Day on 5 July, said: “What we’ve found is that the iconic bikini bodies of yesteryear are as popular today as they ever were.

“No matter where you are in the world, whether on the beach abroad or at home in the UK, it’s important to feel confident in yourself and what you’re wearing ­ just like Raquel Welch or Marilyn Monroe.”

The original beach babe Pamela Anderson, famed for hot­footing it across the beach wearing a revealing red swimsuit in Baywatch takes sixth place in the poll.

While French actress Brigitte Bardot takes seventh place, despite now being in her eighties. Holly Willoughby, Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé Knowles complete the top 10 in the Bikini hall of fame ­with Nicole Scherzinger just missing out.

Six in 10 women say that they don’t feel happy with their bikini bodies, and describe themselves as shy ­ preferring that people don’t look at them on the beach.

Just two per cent of women describe themselves as bold in their approach to swimwear, and enjoy people admiring them when sunbathing.

The idea of a ‘perfect’ bikini body splits opinion ­ with 41 per cent of respondents thinking it’s achievable, and 43 per cent believing no such thing exists.

That said, nearly half of the women Swimwear365 polled said they were happy with their body shape the way it is, although many admitted there was room for improvement.

The classic ‘hourglass’ figure was deemed the most desirable by women, which explains why beauties like Marilyn Monroe rank so highly in the bikini hall of fame.

Most women, however, described themselves as having a ‘pear shaped’ figure.

Half of those polled are far less comfortable wearing a bikini in the UK than abroad, and a third say that they feel most relaxed in a bikini on the beach in a foreign country.

The biggest worry women have when picking a bikini is it not fitting well ­ closely followed by the unwanted stares of other beachgoers.

Common bikini nightmares included forgetting tops had been untied before standing up, bikinis unexpectedly turning see­through after getting wet and, most commonly, falling off on waterslides.

THE BIKINI HALL OF FAME TOP 50

1. Raquel Welch

2. Ursula Andress

3. Marilyn Monroe

4. Kelly Brook

5. Michelle Keegan

6. Pamela Anderson

7. Brigitte Bardot

8. Holly Willoughby

9. Jennifer Lopez

10. Beyoncé

11. Nicole Scherzinger

12. Sophia Loren

13. Myleene Klass

14. Rihanna

15. Dita Von Teese

16. Helen Mirren

17. Jessica Alba

18. Cheryl Cole

19. Kylie Minogue

20. Katy Perry

21. Rita Ora

22. Jayne Mansfield

23. Liz Hurley

24. Kate Middleton

25. Kate Upton

26. Sam Fox

27. Emilia Clarke

28. Melinda Messenger

29. Gisele

30. Vicky Pattison

31. Kim Kardashian

32. Gigi Hadid

33. Nigella Lawson

34. Emily Ratajkowski

35. Kylie Jenner

36. Twiggy

37. Amanda Holden

38. Caroline Flack

39. Naomi Campbell

40. Katie Price

41. Diana Rigg

42. Irina Shayk

43. Rochelle Humes

44. Helen Flanagan

45. Sam Faiers

46. Jean Shrimpton

47. Natalie Dormer

48. Lucy Pinder

49. Lily Aldridge

50. Jodie Marsh