Fashion & Style Clothing

Historical Clothing Trends For Swimwear

Published at 03/10/2012 10:12:16


The main difference between the swimsuits of the past and today’s first swimsuits and today's current version is the absence of skin. Like style, women develop and step beyond modern trends to form their own distinct style. Swimwear clothing is the same; women began with modesty and discomfort and then used their own designs to create stylish and comfortable pieces of swimwear clothing that are up-to-date with the current trends.


The Victorian Era

The Victorian era dressed women in dark, heavyweight clothing and swimwear clothing was no different. Women visited the seaside in Serge and dark-colored flannel swimming dresses. Over time, the swim dress was updated into a two piece buckled look that was paired with a jacket top with long sleeves, and calf length pants. Later in the Victorian era, a woman made simple changes to this swimwear clothing. The long sleeves were reduced to cap sleeves, and in the 1890s the suit became sleeveless. At the same time, the swim pants were updated into bloomers. Victorian men wore swimwear clothing that was one piece with the bottoms reaching to the ankle.

1920s to 1950s

The 1920s brought swimwear clothing to a new level – the figure hugging tank suit. This suit was made of wool and jersey, and the skirt ended mid-thigh. Though not flattering, this suit exposed the legs and was more comfortable than bloomers. Under the skirt were sewn in shorts, which added length to the swimwear clothing. Another trend of the 1920s was the use of swim caps. The swim caps came in different patterns and typically were made to coordinate with the swimwear clothing. Men also wore figure hugging tank suits that were usually belted at the waist.

During the 1930’s swimwear clothing evolved into a cotton blend and no longer came with sewed in shorts. The swim suits now came with overskirts that were sewn into the waistline of the swimwear clothing. The overskirt was designed to hide the sight of unflattering thighs. The 1940s brought about a big change in swimwear clothing – the bikini. Also introduced at this time were chest supports, bra cups and control panels. Swimsuit materials changed in the 1950s when lined cotton, waffle nylon and stretch latex became the preferred swimwear clothing material. The addition of zippers was introduced at this time, and the bottom cut of the swimsuit traveled straight across the thighs.

1960s to 2000

The 1960s and 1970s exposed more skin than in the past. Women started cutting slits into the sides of their swimwear clothing bottoms in order to create a thigh-high effect. If you wanted to hide unflattering features, a pleated wrap was available to add to the swimsuit. The material of swimwear clothing also changed drastically to a nylon and Lycra mix that was easy to put on and take off when wet. The G-string swim suit was introduced in the 1980s and became a huge hit in both a one piece and two-piece design. The bodice area of the swimsuits were more defined, and the bottoms offered a higher cut thigh design.

2001 to Present

Swimwear clothing continues to be crafted from a Lycra and cotton mix for easy elasticity and shape retaining of the swimsuit. The designs of the '20s and ‘30s keep on resurfacing with modern-day twists. Bikinis are still a popular option with the younger and older generations of women. Swimwear clothing has become more risqué than past designs because of the narrow cuts, skimpy tops and high to no thigh lines. Trimmings are characteristic on swimsuits such as embroidery and rhinestones. Cover-ups have always been a must have accessory when visiting the beach or pool.

Tips and comments

  • Swimwear stretches when wet, so do not wear a suit that is loose fitting when dry.
  • Pool chemicals can discolor swimsuits.
  • Rinse swimsuits after using, to remove chemicals and dirt.