The History of the One-Piece Swimsuit
Summer is approaching, and many of us will be reaching for our trusted one-piece swimsuits very soon. After the long winter, it’s easy to grab a one-piece from the drawer, but have you ever wondered where they come from and how they have evolved? Well, we here at Lu-May Exclusive Wear thought it might be a great idea to explore the history of the one-piece swimsuit.
The One-Piece Swimsuit from Ancient to Modern Times
Beachwear has become a normal occurrence during the summer. But did you know that there was a time when swimwear wasn’t common or even a thing that existed? Yes, that’s right, back in Ancient Rome women would swim completely nude. At most, they would have on a strapless top and briefs. This was because swimming for fun was uncommon and mostly used for bathing. Even when women did swim, it was done in private or in the company of other women, so covering up did not seem entirely necessary.
The first one-piece swimsuit only appeared in the 18th century when modesty was the be-all and end-all of fashion. Women would take to the water in long woollen dresses known as bathing dresses. Unfortunately, the fact that this beachwear was made of heavy materials, like flannel, wool, and canvas. This meant that swimming was not the most comfortable experience.
Luckily, these swimming dresses soon faded from fashion history and were replaced by bloomer swimsuits in the mid-1800s. These were designed with full skirts and wide legs that all cinched at the waist. They were named after the activist Amelia Bloomer and were very controversial as the pants underneath the skirt were not seen as ladylike. Over the years, their hemlines grew higher. They were made with lighter fabrics, making swimming easier. But the one-piece swimsuit, as we know it, only really took hold in the 1900s.
The One Piece Swimsuit
The mid-1900s saw the rise of sports and, sportswear for women. Since wearing tight-fitting swimwear was still out of the norm for the mostly conservative society of the time, it took a revolution to change the tides. This came in the form of Annette Kellerman, an early 20th century competitive swimmer who realised that she needed swimwear better suited to speed. She was arrested in Boston for wearing the first proper one-piece swimsuit, which closely resembled male swimwear of the time.
But it was too late, the swimwear revolution had already begun. One-piece swimsuits were becoming popular and women were starting to combine practicality with fashion. Decorations, like ruffles, were added and straps became thinner. As women’s presence in sports grew. The one-piece reflected this, and they began using sleeker materials like nylon. This led to swimwear as we know it today, where women feel free enough to wear bikinis and swimming is a popular summer activity.
The next time you go swimming in your one-piece swimsuit, wear it proudly. You are wearing a piece of history that shows just how far women have come, not only in fashion but woman’s rights. So, if you want to be revolutionary this coming summer, contact us today, or shop online with easy nationwide shipping.