The History of Swimwear

Written by Leanna Serras

It's a nice hot day and nothing will beat the heat better than a nice cool dip in the pool, pond, lake or ocean. So, what will you do? Pop on your swimsuit, swim trunks or bikini and jump in the water!

Swimwear has been around since the mid-1800's, when the improvements in rail travel made it easier for people to travel to water. The original swimsuits are a far cry from the suits of today. 

In the mid-1800's the ladies swimsuit looked more like a dress than a swimsuit. The women's suit was a full length gown (with weights sewn in the hem to keep it from rising in the water, while the men's suit was a long sleeve, long legged garment that resembled long underwear.

For all of the 1800's, bathing suits were made to cover up as much of the body as possible. If anyone showed any bare arms or legs, they would be arrested for indecent exposure! During the early 1900's the size of the swimsuit became smaller, and more arms and legs started to show. By the mid-1900's form fitting one piece swimsuits started to be popular. These were the suits that bathing beauties started to appear in. Shortly thereafter, the two piece bikini started to become popular. Even today the bikini is still popular, with the less fabric used the better. 

Some of the biggest changes in swimwear are in the suits that competitive swimmers wear. Gone are the baggy suits of yesterday, replaced by sleek, aerodynamically designed suits. These suits are being made of fabric that allows them to glide easier through the water. 

Swimwear have gone through a vast amount of changes in the past hundred plus years. From long sleeved, long legged suits for men and baggy long sleeve dresses for women of the 1800's to the Speedo for men and bikini for women of today, the fashion of swimwear has changed dramatically, and it will continue to change in years to come.

·       Victorian Era Swimwear

·       1900's Bathing Suit

·       Fashion History of Swimwear

·       Swimwear History

·        20th Century Swimwear

·       Swimming Costumes Through the Ages

·       History of Two Piece Bathing Suits

·       New Swimsuit Technology