Tuesday, 10 July 2012

History of Swimwear...

One of my blogging friends left a comment under our Swimwear Link Party, saying that she wore knitted swimsuits when she was little. They were horrid to wear, and sagged after swimming.

This got me wondering about the history of swimsuits and thinking back to the swimsuits that I used to wear. Off to Google and this is what I found.

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Costume worn in 1858. This was back in the days of bathing machines with men and women swimming in separate areas.


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Australian Annette Kellerman was arrested for wearing this swimsuit in 1906


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During the 1920s, neck to knee swimsuits were still worn, as was the swimsuit above.


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Swimsuit worn about 1930 - 1940


Swimsuit worn by a family member in the 1940s. During the war, less material was used in swimsuits to conserve fabric. This resulted in costumes with bare midriffs.


Swimsuit worn by a family member in the late 1940s or early 1950s.


Me in the 1950s. This swimsuit looks rather like a playsuit. I think it's rather cute with those ruffled straps, but I can't imagine it was very comfortable to wear once it was wet. I can't remember back that far.


Another photo from the 1950s. I'm the one on the left in the loose fitting costume. It obviously didn't worry me, as I appear to be having lots of fun.


My sister in the 1950s, wearing the bathing cap and another swimsuit that looks more like a playsuit.


My sister and I during the 1950s with our swimming rings.


More ruffles on my costume. Neither Mum nor I can remember what fabric these costumes were made from, but they don't look like stretch fabric. Perhaps they were, but it certainly wasn't the stretch fabric of now-a-days.


Don't you just love the bathing cap I was wearing... LOL!!! I remember having a head cold that day. The only way I was allowed to go swimming, was to wear my Mum's bathing cap. I'm not sure why, as the cap certainly didn't keep any water out. Bathing caps were popular during the 1950s and 1960s. I hated them!!!


I distinctly remember being very excited about inheriting this Speedo costume from a neighbour, in the early 1960s. It was very different to my previous costumes, in that it had no frills or ties, was made from different fabric and was meant to be close fitting. I obviously had to grow into it for it to be closer fitting.  During the 60s, swimwear began to be made from nylon and lycra. I'm guessing the one above was made from nylon.


Swimming with our Dad. Not sure where our t-shirts were to stop the sunburn. Perhaps we complained at wearing them. Note how my sister is wearing my old swimsuit (see two photos above). She got to wear all my hand me downs.


No swimsuits here, but I had to show you our sand castles. Well, it looks like my sister built the sand castles and I dug the moats.


Two piece costume worn in 1968 during my first trip to the Great Barrier Reef. From here on, costumes became smaller in all directions, so that's the end of the family photos.

Swimwear has certainly changed over the years.

31 comments:

  1. I love those photos!
    My mum machine knitted me a swimming costume and that was in the 70's! It was blue with a white swan on it I guess I was 3 or 4, it might have been something to do with me being the only girls out of 5 children and clothes being more expensive then! Even so...

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  2. Great photos Pam, I don't remember wearing a knitted swimming costume but I suspect I probably did! I do remember these ruched allover costumes too!

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  3. what a fun history, Pam! I think you looked adorable in the swim cap! :)

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  4. Hi Pam,
    Lovely photos! In 1960's my swimming costume was in cotton fabric, with lot of ruffles. I also hated the bathing caps except one of my mum with lots of daisy petals, but unfortunally too large to me. Thank you for this voyage in time.

    Hugs from Portugal

    Ana Lopes
    www.lovecraft2012.blogsopt.com

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  5. The 1968 one is adorable. I personally like the retro look, move covered up, high waisted bikini, one pieces ect... They just have more style. great post!

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  6. Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane. Where's the photo of you wearing a bikini today?

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  7. fascinating and very nostalgic! Lovely photos! :-)

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  8. How cool! Thanks for sharing--especially the pics of you and your family. My 5 y.o. daughter asked for a "zucchini" to wear this summer. LOL! She meant bikini! She had to settle for a more practical and modest 2 piece--a tank-like top with bikini bottoms, but we call it her zucchini!

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  9. I found your blog and I like it very much. Many thanks for your tutorials and all the other interesting ideas.
    Warmest greetings from Germany, Nora :-))

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  10. And a photo of my Dad wearing a 'bathing costume' as a lad, his was just like your 4th picture down, boys and girls had their tops covered in the 1930s.
    In the 1960s I had a cotton swimsuit, woven fabric, with elastic ruching on the top half, and elastic casing round the legs. I wore that b***** swimsuit from age 4 to age 12! I hated it!

    good walk down memory lane!

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  11. Oh goodness, I know how much I complain about wearing a wet rash vest as I don't like anything damp clinging to my skin so I can only imagine how much I'd have hated wearing one of those heavy neck to knee numbers or anything that didn't dry quick as Lycra!! Amazing photos though, thanks for sharing all your family pics!

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    1. I don't mind wearing a rash shirt while I'm in the water, as they're comfortable and not restrictive at all. Once out of the water, they can be a bit cold till they dry out though.

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  12. Fascinating look back! Thanks for sharing, Pam.:)

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  13. Great post Pam! Thanks for sharing!

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  14. Great selection of photos Pam! Poor woman who got arrested for wearing that oh so risque costume ! :)

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  15. My Mam had a knitted swimsuit - imaging trying to swim in that!!

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  16. What a cool post! thanks Pam for taking the time to share so in depth. My girls and I enjoyed reading this and looking through the pics. :)

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  17. I remember those suits from the late 50s, 60s & 70s. In high school I had a 2 pieces somewhat like yours. Didn't they call that bottom, boy cut, because they looked like shorts? My how things have changed.

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  18. Interesting and fun post! Love your family photos...looks like you have spent a lot of time on the beach as you grew up. I would drown in that 1858 suit!

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  19. Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a fabulous week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success
    http://www.jembellish.blogspot.com/

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  20. Great post Pam! I love all the pics of you and your sister... so cute :)

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  21. Wow really cool pictures. Thanks for sharing them!

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  22. Hi Pam, Those were some great photos. I actually prefer the 1950s looks, but that's just me :) New follower! Hope to see you at True Aim.

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  23. How cool! I really like the 1920s suit! I would totally wear that now. Thanks for partying with us!:)

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  24. So interesting really!
    I'd like to share some tips which are very useful while choosing swimwear:
    swimwear to choose.
    By the way, I followed you up with GFC, it'd be great if you follow me back.

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