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The Evolution Of Swimwear Trends From The 1900s Till Today


The Evolution Of Swimwear Trends From The 1900s Till Today

Swimsuits were invented in the latter part of the 18th century, before then people did not see sense in designing apparel specifically meant for swimming. They either bathed naked or in their underwear.

However, since the first swimsuit was made, they have had to withstand the real test of time while changing in a bid to remain trendy. From full-shade dresses common in the late eighties to early nineties to barely-there bikinis, swimwear has defined the decades with its iconic style.


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Tourism flourished during this period, fueled by easy transportation by rail and booming resort business. But the representatives of higher classes were not used to undressing in public. So, there was a need for clothing items that they could spend time on the beach.

During this time, modesty was a woman’s greatest asset. Swimsuits were designed to cover bodies completely from head-to-toe.  The first swimsuit for women consisted of a dress and wide pants, while men bathed in knee-long trunks and a top that covered their hairy chests.


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In later years, the swimwear fashion was influenced by the Olympics. With swimming becoming an official sports, competitors ditched the big swimsuits in favor of more=revealing swimsuits that posted better results in athletes In 1912, female swimmers surprised the public with their revealing swimsuits showing their arms and legs. After the competitions, many women followed this trend


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In the 1930s, swimwear largely resembled those produced in the 1920s. However, a few adjustments meant that women could wear more fitting swimming apparels tighter on the waist and bust. Men were now allowed to show their chest and wear shorts.


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World War II transformed all areas of life, including swimwear. Due to war demands, it was necessary to reduce fabric used in clothing which paved the way for the two-piece swimming suit.

Louis Read who then ran an underwear family business noticed that women often rolled up their swimsuits for a better tan. That inspired him to create the bikini In 1946. The public, however, received it with mixed reaction, most people were not ready for that much of body revealing



the movie industry adopted the bikini immediately because girls in revealing swimsuits attracted audiences and provided a good box office return. Brigide Badott was the first woman to wear a bikini in a movie set.



In the 1960s, fashionistas breathed life into swimsuits. There was a great preference for suits made of Lycra, an elastic and fast-drying material- perfect for the beach.


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By the 1970s, women couldn’t resist the bikini allure any longer and started buying this small swimsuit which was so convenient for getting the perfect tan.

Bikini’s were flying off the shelf inspired manufacturers to reinvent other swimsuit models by adding “kini” to boost their sales. That was how the monokini appeared — a sideless one-piece swimsuit.



In the 1980s, one-piece swimsuits were back in fashion because pool parties became popular. However, those who were trying to get tan still preferred the bikini, which just became smaller



In the 1990s, the Baywatch TV show was extremely popular all over the world. One particular scene where Pamela Anderson and her colleagues were running along the beach in slow motion inspired huge sales in the red one-piece swimsuit.



In the 2000s, the mini-bikini was ranked first in popularity again. But it was now combined with a pareo of different sizes, from a short skirt to a big cloth which could be converted into a skirt in an instance. People were attracted by the flexibility of this piece.


2213 / Balawa Pics / EAST NEWS 

2010, was the year monokini — was back in fashion. Yes, they looked glamorous but were very uncomfortable and ruined the tan. Another difficult model was the bandeau (most frequently strapless) which only looked good on certain body types.


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This year, high- waisted retro suits came back to fashion. People preferred the sporty look in neon colors and matched it with a classic bikini for a perfect tan.

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