Have you ever wondered why we call swimsuits “bathing suits”? That’s the topic we tackled in Episode 11 of the podcast you can listen and subscribe to on Apple Podcasts.
It’s kind of a funny story or maybe it’s not depending on you feel about nerdy facts. For the most of history, people swam naked so there was no need for swimsuits. #FreeTheNipple is definitely a movement our ancestors would get behind. Some may say there is Roman artwork depicting bikinis but scholars have noticed in this case they are wearing them to play sports. I’m sure we can all appreciate keeping things secure when trying to compete athletically.
Fast forward a few hundred years and we arrive in the 1670s where public baths are a necessity for keeping many people clean before we had indoor plumbing. It is in this instance where we see the creation of a “bathing gown” an outfit to be worn on your way to the public bath to clean yourself. It is this same outfit that in the mid-1800s when people start to gain more leisure time and swimming becomes a pastime the same “bathing gown” style would serve them as swimsuits.
In the early 1900s, as more people took the beaches more skin started to show and we even start to see the emergence of two-piece swimsuits. It’s important to note these smaller swimsuits also arose as a result of practicality for the act of swimming itself. I mean who here things a wool swimsuit is a good idea? Considering the aversion to showing skin at the beach, swimsuits were monitored for their modesty, and people were arrested for too much skin.
Eventually, by the 1940s thanks to war rations on clothing material the bikini was born! The bikini faced initial resistance and when it finally gained acceptance it was purely as beach attire. But as swimsuits became more commonplace and people learned to like tanning, the beachwear industry explored from the 1940s to create essentially every kind of possible swimsuit you can imagine!
What’s your go-to swimsuit style for when you head to the water?