Saturday, December 12, 2009

The History of Womens Swimwear

With summer in full swing I have been looking for some stylish swimwear. I love all the vintage inspired swimwear that is around these days but shopping for new bathers got me thinking about the origins of the bikinis we wear today.

In 1907 a professional swimmer named Annette Kellerman dared to wear a fitted one piece swimsuit on a beach in Boston instead of the cumbersome dress and pantaloon combination that was popular for women at the time. She was arrested for indecency.
What Miss Kellerman had designed was the precursor for all modern women's swimwear.

In 1913, inspired by the introduction of females into Olympic swimming, the designer Carl Jantzen made the first functional two-piece swimwear, a close-fitting one-piece with shorts on the bottom and short sleeves on top.

By the 1930s, necklines plunged at the back, sleeves disappeared and sides were cut away.With new materials like lastex and nylon, by 1934 the swimsuit started hugging the body and had shoulder straps to lower for tanning.

In 1946 Jacque Heim created a new kind of beach costume. It comprised two pieces, the bottom large enough to cover its wearer's navel. He called it the "atom" and advertised it as the world's "smallest bathing suit" In 1946 RĂ©ard introduced the bikini. His swimsuit was basically a bra top and two inverted triangles of cloth connected by string and it was significantly smaller. Made out of a scant 30 inches of fabric, he promoted his creation as "smaller than the world's smallest bathing suit." He called his creation the bikini, named after Bikini Atoll. The idea struck him when he saw women rolling up their beachwear to get a better tan

What will you be wearing this summer dear readers? ... x


  1. Its not summer in NYC but when it is, I sport a tankini!!! LOL

  2. It's freezing here at the moment...I'm an old fashioned one piece girl(every thing securely held into place)

  3. Aww you poor things, I feel for you freezing while i'm basking in the sun!
    Im with you both though, im not brave enough to sport a bikini so i go for a tanki with shorts that sort of looks like one of the 50's style bathing suits! x

  4. Haha great article! Here's some great swim style tips for you ladies to keep in mind when looking for your next swimsuit!!!

  5. I've been researching the expectations and change in style with the different generations of the 60's, for my english class at school, so thank you for your help because now I have decided to focus on swimwear :) Not sure if you watch 'Ugly Betty', but there was an episode about Annette Kellerman that I watched recently.