History of the Modern Bathing Suit

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Imagine this, you see a woman at the beach sporting a thick, black dress and a bonnet. It seems odd initially; however it gets even odder when she walks into the water wearing it. Well, a little over one hundred years ago this was the norm. If a woman were to wear a bikini, well, the consequence could be her being arrested. Believe it or not, in 1919, a woman was arrested for wearing a bathing suit beneath her clothes. So, what is a bathing suit exactly? Well, a bathing suit is a garment that is worn during water activities like swimming, diving, surfing, water polo, and water skiing. Bathing suits can also be worn for activities such as sunbathing. Bathing suits come in a variety of styles for men and women. The most popular worn by women are the bikini and one piece. Bathing suits are worn in not just America but all over the world. Now that you know exactly what a bathing suit is, let’s get into the history. Women’s bathing suit fashion in the 1900’s was very conservative. The laws stated that bathing suits must be a certain length and had to cover a lot of the body. If a woman were not to abide the laws, she could be arrested. Bathing suits could not be more than six inches above a woman’s knee. Women typically wore black or navy, knee-length puffed-sleeve wool dresses trimmed with ribbon and adorned with bows. Long black stockings, fancy caps and lace up bathing slippers were commonly worn with bathing suits. Long bathing coats were often worn from the bathhouse up

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