Today, few people think about the interesting history behind these garments, which became a symbol of social change.
The history of swimming costumes is not only a story of fashion and changing trends, but also of a revolution in customs. To understand this fully, it is necessary to take a step into the past.
Even in ancient times, women wore something like swimsuits. But nobody attached any great importance to them, as they were worn simply in order to avoid feeling embarrassment while bathing in the river. By the time the middle ages arrived, however, swimming costumes, even one piece swimsuits, were unheard of. Women were forbidden to bathe in public for fear that nudity would offend others.
Attitudes to this issue changed in the 18th and 19th centuries. People began to take better care of their health, and it became understood that, in order to maintain vitality, washing the body regularly was essential. Women bathed willingly in rivers, but they always had to remember to cover themselves with voluminous swimming costumes, which were extremely cumbersome and sometimes concealed stones. The whole aim was to avoid any part of the clothing from accidentally rising and revealing any part of the body.
At the start of the 20th century, a scandal erupted with swimsuits at the centre. The Australian swimmer Annette Kellerman appeared on an American beach wearing a one piece swimsuit which exposed her neck, shoulders and legs. The athlete was immediately arrested, but many women stood by her side and Kellerman’s actions helped some women to stop fearing social judgement and turn up on beaches in similar costumes.
Maybe it was because of the Australian that, a few years later, the organisers of the Olympics allowed women to turn out in somewhat more revealing swimming costumes. On these swimsuits, the bottom came to mid-thigh.
Over the course of time, customs and morals have changed. The breakthrough year was 1946, when Jacques Heim introduced the first two piece swimming costume. He inspired Louis Réard, whoshortly afterwards brought to the market a swimming costume similar to the modern bikini. It caused a sensation, not least because many of conservative morals could not accept such such a scanty piece of women’s clothing.
Rudi Gernreich caused an even greater scandal, when he designed his one piece swimsuit. The novelty of this was that it exposed even more a woman’s chest than before.
The real revolution was the emergence of an elastic material called lycra, from which most swimwear has been made since the 1990s.
Nowadays there is no problem in exposing the female body in a swimsuit. Women adore this part of their wardrobe, and designers love to present their latest collections that allow their clients to take pleasure from the water and sunshine. Swimsuits are at once popular and widespread, and exclusive and luxurious, depending on the brand, the material, and the construction. It’s good to have one place where you can choose the perfect swimming costume – from one piece swimsuit to high waisted bikini – without hassle, wasted time, or worries that you have made the wrong purchase. To this end, clients choose the Vitkac.com online shop, where you can also choose ladies’ sunglasses and summer tops to match your swimsuit.