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Brief Swimsuits...WHAT WERE THEY THINKING!! In 1922, Chicago, two women were arrested for refusing to obey the law. These two rebellious women decided to roam the beach without their stockings, and for that, they paid the consequence.

The laws of modesty were very strict in the early 1900's. Women bathing suits were measured from where the bathing suit ended on the thigh to the knee. There were specific measurements that needed to be respected or else women would not be allowed to wear bathing suits in public, but even with those specific requirements of length they also needed to wear stockings. Not only did women have to obey strict rules, also did men. In Atlantic city, New Jersey, the city was appalled by a man’s hairy chest, therefore topless on the beach were banned. The city did refer to it as having gorillas on their beaches. This was the law until 1937. Men were finally allowed to wear their swimming trunks without a shirt.

Nowadays we have lifeguards, but in the early 1920s, beaches had police roaming around making sure that every woman's bathing suit met the required measurements, and that they were wearing their stockings too. Police would literally carry tape measures in their pocket to measure the exact length of the skin shown. Imagine what these police would think if they roamed our beaches today! But if it wasn't for the rebellious souls who tested the fashion boundaries in the 1920s and 30s, we'd still have the same laws for beach wear.

Fashion column  
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