Fashion change is inevitable and that is true for swimwear too! Trends come in and go out. Let’s explore how swimwear has passed its 100 years with glory.
Over time men’s swimwear has undergone a hefty change. The 1900s– It was illegal to go topless so swimsuits were of one piece style. They had short sleeves and were cut around the thighs. The 1920s– Men revolted and cut short the sleeves but they still couldn’t go topless. The 1930s– Period of revolution as men were allowed to go topless. They started wearing shorts that were really short. The 1950s– Rayon becomes the ideal swimwear material that was quick to dry. It was combined with spandex. The 1970s– The style leads to the Speedos. The tight briefs were in fashion and had bright color prints on them. The 1980s– The speedos were replaced by the roomier boxers, as they took the spotlight. The 1990s– Hawaiian prints were in fashion with a perfect puka shell necklace. This trend seems to return now. The 2000s– Bored of Hawaiian prints men switched their choice to single color simple shorts. The 2010s– Again shorter cuts have returned with bright prints on them! This time bored of the broad shorts?
For women, the freedom to wear swimwear didn’t come so easily. They even had to wear such swimwear that was suffocating. Here is how it changed over the years. The 1900s- Women had to cover them up like Victorian age. Knee gazing hems and short sleeves were allowed. The material used was flannel and wool. The 1910s- Jantzen launched swimsuits that clung to the body, more or less like the one piece suits. In order to avoid issues they called it ‘swimming suits.’ The 1920s- The competitors of Jantzen changed the swimsuit in this era. Women used to wear swimsuits that were shorts but they had to maintain a height as they were not allowed to wear minimal dresses. They could even be fined or arrested if the length was not right! The 1930s- Women were able to hit the beaches with freedom as the ban on length was lifted and synthetic fabric made swimsuits more comfortable. Figure-hugging suits with short hem were common.The 1940s- Model Micheline Bernardi used the bikini for the first time. There were spaghetti strap swimsuits and designs become bolder. The 1950s- The changes continue and this decade saw the midriffs being exposed. Still exposing the navel was not common. The 1960s- Lycra and Nylon were introduced, and the polka dots bikinis hit the ground. So where did the fashion headed towards? The 1970s- The bikinis become smaller and the bottom of bikinis were worn below the hip bone! The 1980s- The focus was not on the cut but on the prints and colors. Plunge neckline also came in front. The 1990s- It was the period of mix and match swimwear. There were tankinis where women could use different pairs for top and bottoms. The 2000s- This decade and 2010 allowed the women to wear swimsuits as they like. They had one piece suits, bikinis, and other options.
The swimwear world has been studied extensively and has also been offered inside Digital Design Degrees for the opportunity to develop specialist skills within creative design practice. It was not just the fashion world that has seen a change in swimwear over the years, even the competitive world to has witnessed a change over the years. Annette Kellermann in 1905 aged 19 tried to swim the English Channel by wearing one piece suit that has exposed arms but covered legs. It was not popular during that period and she was arrested for wearing such a suit on the beach.
During 1912 Sarah Frances wore Janzen body clinging swimsuit. She won an Olympic gold medal for the 100m freestyle. The 1920s had seen the professional swimmers in one piece suits along with belts and skirts. The skirts were prevalent till the 1950s. During the 1970s the swimsuits were streamlined for the swimmers. Shane Gould took three gold for her nation when skirts were no more used. Professional swimmers of 2000s wear full body suits that have streamlined designs and clinging parts for helping them to swim better.