The history of swimwear began long, long ago. In the beginning,
people swam in their birthday suits. As we became more conscious of
our bodies, bathing suits became common place. The history of women's
swimwear is an interesting history indeed. Starting with no swimwear in
classical antiquity to not much swimming in the middle ages, and cumbersome
dresses in the early modern age to scanty and hi-tech swimwear in the modern
ages. It's fun to study the many transitions throughout history.
A bathing suit is the same as swimwear or swimsuit.
There is a very wide range of styles of modern swimsuits available, which
vary as to body coverage and materials. The choice of style may depend on
community standards of modesty, as well as current fashions, and personal
preferences. The choice will also consider the occasion, for example whether
it is to be worn for a passive occasion such as sunbathing or for a sports
activity such as beach volleyball.
Swimwear is clothing designed to be worn by people engaging
in a water-based activity or water sports, such as swimming, diving and
surfing, or sun-orientated activities, such as sun bathing.
Women's swimsuits include one-piece, bikinis, or thongs. While they go
through many trends in pattern, length and cut there is not much modification
to the original variety of suit.
Popular bathing suit fabrics:
Rayon was used in the 1920s in the manufacture of tight-fitting swimsuits,
but its durability, especially when wet, proved problematic, with jersey
and silk also sometimes being used. In the 1930s, new materials were
being developed and use in swimwear, particularly latex and nylon, and swimsuits
gradually began hugging the body, especially women's swimsuits.
Polyester fabric has dominated the competitive swimwear industry for
several years. Whether blended with Lycra® or by itself, polyester is the
leading fabric for competitive swimwear. New technologies in polyester have
improved the hand and feel of the material, allowing it to surpass other
fabrics. Polyester holds its color and is resistant to chlorine.
Swimsuits can be skin-tight or loose-fitting. They are often lined with
another layer of fabric if the outer fabric becomes transparent when wet.
You may want to think twice before purchasing a white bathing suit (if you
Most swimsuits in western culture leave at least the head, shoulders,
arms, and lower part of the leg (below the knee) exposed. Women's swimsuits
generally cover at least the areola and bottom half of the breasts, but
some are designed for the top part of the swimsuit to be removed.
Learn more about
swimwear in our fashion products section.
beachwear which includes more than just bathingsuits.