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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 are modest).
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.
Learn about women's beachwear which includes more than just bathingsuits.