Swim Library

Throwback Thursday: Swimsuit Evolution


Would you believe that back in the 18th century a swimsuit (or better known at that time as a bathing suit); was a full length dress with long sleeves and a bonnet to match?! At the time modesty was the fashion ruler and showing skin was very taboo so the swimsuit was held down with lead weights to prevent the skirt from floating up and exposing the legs. Can you just imagine working on your dives and turns in a dress that weighed up to 10 pounds when wet?  Just one turn and you’d be completely blinded by your swimsuit!  Thankfully the swimsuit evolution enabled swimmers more flexibility and freedom. It went from being a full length dress to a princess cut style consisting of a blouse and cotton pants in the 19th century, giving people more freedom in the water.

18th Bathingsuit

Women still couldn't achieve taking on swimming as a sport due to the swimsuits preventing them from doing things other than hanging out in the water or jumping through waves while holding onto a rope attached to an off- shore buoy ( doesn't sound like a good time to me)! It wasn't until 1915 that women started to take on swimming as a sport with men that lead to reducing the fabric a bit more and transforming them from MC Hammer pants to a tunic that covered shorts with matching stockings because showing a bare leg was still considered taboo.  In the 1930’s a mini skirt was added to look more fashionable but was long enough to hide the tops of the thighs.  A lot of people wonder where the bikini came into play, it was introduced by a Frenchman named Jacques Heim who didn't even fathom his creation to becoming a staple in fashion. Though it looked great it had a few flaws when it came to competitive swimming due to the suits not staying put once the race was on (how embarrassing) so the one piece swimsuit was created. A lot of people never realize how effective fashion was to creating the right item for competing! I mean really, can you just picture yourself or an Olympic athlete diving with a weighted down full length gown? Talk about an awkward yet hilarious sight!

swimsuit evolutioln

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