Swimwear is clothing that has been designed and
manufacturers to be used for swimming but can also be worn for simply hanging out
by the water. Swimwear, swimsuits, and bathingsuits, are basically all
the same type of clothes. We will get a little more into various names for
this garment below. 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.
In western culture, men's swimsuit styles include
boardshorts, jammers, swim trunks, briefs or "speedos", thongs, and g-strings,
in order of decreasing lower body coverage. Women's swimsuits are
generally described as one-piece, bikinis, or thongs (the thong category
includes g-strings as well).
While swimsuit design goes through many trends in
pattern, length, fabircation, and cut there is not much modification to the
original variety of suit. We are not saying that there is no
experimentation, but the basic garment silhouettes remain rather consistant. Their are many differnt types of women's swimwear
including the follow style options to name a few:
One-piece swimwear - Probably the most common form of
one-piece swimsuit, the tank suit form is the inspiration for the tank top as a
mainstream article of clothing. The name "tank suit" is also supposed to be
derived from the term "swimming tank", an obsolete term for what is now called a
Bikini - One piece covers
the breasts, the other the groin and buttocks, leaving an uncovered area between
the two. Bikinis are available in stylistic variations.
Skirtini - A skirtini is a normal bikini top that is
accompanied by a skirt on the lower half, built into the brief (bottom section
of the swimsuit). Skirtinis are fun, feminine, and offer slightly more coverage
on the upper thigh area.
Tankini - Tankinis are a newer addition to the world of
swimwear, the tankini is a good compromise between a full swimsuit and a bikini.
It comes as a two-piece, with briefs and a vest-type top, often with integral
cups for the wearers bust. They come in a variety of style options. You may also
lift the bottom part of the vest up to tan your midriff, something that is
impossible with some other swimsuits.
Thong - The thong is a
type of garment generally worn as either underwear or as swimwear. Viewed from
the front, the thong typically resembles a bikini bottom, but at the back the
material is reduced.
Halter Neck - Halter neck bikinis and halter neck
swimsuits are derived from the German word 'Holder', which is a top, dress, or
piece of swimwear that has straps which tie around the back of the neck, rather
than over the shoulders, leaving the arms, shoulders and back uncovered.
Moulded Swimwear - A moulded cup bikini is part way
between a soft cup and a padded cup. The material has a thin layer of padding
built in, meaning that it can hold its own shape, but doesn't add too much
fullness to your bust.
Men's swimwear includes the following styles:
Board Shorts - Boardshorts are a longer version of trunks
that come to or past the knee. They usually have a non-elastic waistband, and
will give a tight fit around the torso. Boardshorts were originally developed
for various "board sports" such as surfing, paddleboarding, Wakeboarding. The
looser fitting design provided less material that could catch as one mounted
Rash Guard (rash vest, surf shirt, rashie) - A type of
athletic shirt made of spandex and nylon or polyester. Rash guards may be worn
as an alternative to wetsuits during warmer weather. They may also offer UV
Racing Swimsuits - Swimsuits made of technologically
advanced fabrics biomimetically designed with a surface that mimics the rough
shark denticles to reduce drag along key areas of the body. The characteristics
of the fabric improve shape retention and increase muscle compression to reduce
vibration and retain muscle shape to reduce fatigue and power loss. Available in
a variety of cuts such as bodyskin, legskin and kneeskin.
Wetsuit or Dry Suits - Wetsuits and drysuits are
insulated, close fitting suits designed for prolonged immersion, usually in the
context of snorkeling, scuba diving, or surfing, and other water boardsports.
Made from neoprene, they come in different thicknesses and styles depending on
Swimming trunks are a pair of shorts or briefs worn for
swimming or bathing.
Swimwear has been made out of just about every material known. Some are
obviously more appropriate for swiming than others.
Rayon was used in the 1920s in the manufacture of tight-fitting swimsuits. The
durability when when wet had proved to be a bit problematic. Cotton jersey
and silk was also being used for swimsuits.
In the 1930s, new materials were being developed and utilized in the swimwear
market. Most importantly was latex and nylon, and swimsuits gradually
began hugging the body. As you may have heard some people are allergic to
The fabrics and other materials used to make bikinis and other types of
swimsuits are an essential element of their style and crucial modifiers of
swimsuit design. Women's bathingsuit fabric may be appropriate to be form
fitting so that certain elements of the body don't fall out of place, and other
swimsuits for men or women worn for certain activities may be looser fabrics.
The use of cotton made the swimsuit more practical, and the increased reliance
on stretch fabric after 1960 simplified construction; alternative swimwear
fabrics such as velvet, leather, and crocheted squares surfaced in the early
1970s. Crochet, lace, PVC, raffia, fur, latex, velvet and other uncommon
items are also used as bikini material (some of which more appropriate for
staying on the beach and not going in the water).
Modern bikinis were first made of cotton jersey. Today bikinis
are made with mostly made with treated fabric, having been
stretched over a plastic mold, then baked in order to set its shape and create
bikini brassieres. They are usually lined with fabric which is designed to
stop them becoming transparent when wet. The use of cotton made the swimsuit
more practical, and the increased reliance on stretch fabric after 1960
simplified construction; alternative swimwear fabrics such as velvet, leather,
and crocheted squares surfaced in the early 1970s.
The stretch nylon bikini briefs and bras which complemented the
adolescent boutique fashions of the 1960s also allowed those to be minimal.
Women on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro and Saint-Tropez went even further,
forgoing all rear-view coverage to show off their thongs.
When DuPont introduced Lycra (DuPont's name for spandex)
in the 1960s, a stretch fiber that allowed them to stitch tinier pieces of
fabric, it completely changed how suits were designed and who could wear them.
Spandex expanded the range of novelty fabrics available to designers which meant
suits could be made to fit like a second skin without heavy linings streamlined
athletic styles, emphasizing high-tech fabrics and finishes.
By the 2010s, a number of manufacturers came up with environmental friendly
bikinis that used organic cotton, organic bamboo fibers, fabric remnants, post
consumer plastic including soda bottles, discarded fishnet, recycled nylon, even
soy (all of which used eco-friendly dyes).
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. Different types may be worn by
men, women, and children. Swimwear is described by a number of names, some of
which are used only in particular locations, including swimsuit, bathing suit,
swimming costume, bathing costume, swimming suit, swimmers, bathers, cossie
(short for "costume"), or swimming trunks for men, are only a few.
In New Zealand English and some areas of Australian English, swimsuits are often
Many uses of a swimsuit:
A swimsuit can be worn as an undergarment in sports that require a wetsuit such
as water skiing, scuba diving, surfing, and wakeboarding. Swimsuits may also be
worn to display the wearer's physical attributes, as in the case of beauty
pageants or bodybuilding contests, and glamour photography and magazines like
the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue feature models and sports
personalities in swimsuits.
If you are planning on doing water sports such as boogieboarding or surfing, you
may want to learn about swimshirt & rash guard options.
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