THE HISTORY OF SWIMSUITS
The first swimsuits were of course no swimsuits at all. People have always gone swimming in the nude or in any clothing appropriate for swimming such as loin cloths. It was not until the18th century that "swimsuits" were invented mostly for the purpose of hiding the human body according to the morality of the times.
Around 1855, swimsuits consisted of bloomers and black stockings while drawers were added to prevent the problem of exposure.
The photo above depicts a group of people, in swimsuits, standing on a beach and was taken between 1915 and 1930. You can see how the women's bathing suit (in the middle) has evolved from the previous page the arms are now exposed and black is no longer the color. The woman on the right and the men are wearing the newer tank suits that developed during the 1920s.
â€˘ Four young women wearing
bathing suits notice the lower cit of the necklines.
The bikini was reinvented in 1946 by Jacques Heim and Louis Reard.
• In the early 20th century, “bathing clothes” were just
that – clothes! Swimming dresses were made of lighter fabric than traditional dresses, but they still had full skirts, and even stockings! Definitely not the most fashionable pieces, these garments were made for sitting in the sun and dipping your toes in the water…not for swimming!
• Portland Knitting Company was founded by Carl Jantzen, Roy Zehntbauer, and John Zehntbauer in 1910. After producing a wool suit for a rowing team, they began offering “swimsuits” to their regular customers. A big selling point for these early suits, of course, was that you could actuallyswim. “Jantzens” became highly popular thanks to the fit that the rib-stitched wool provided. The company officially changed its name to Jantzen Knitting Mills in 1918.
â€˘ Swimwear in the 1920s had a look similar to that of a
mini-dress, often referred to as a maillot. Bathing caps made from latex rubber completed the look! By the 1930s, designers were looking for ways to improve the maillot. Elsa Schiaparelli added swimsuits to her collection in 1928, but brought them a step further when she introduced the backless maillot. The suit also featured a patented, invisible bra to enhance a womanâ€™s shape. These improvements in style and function helped cultivate the early glamour of bathing beauties. 1940s swimsuits came in both one-piece and twopiece varieties, though these forerunners of thebikini were modestly sexy.