According to Vogue the swimwear had become more of "state of dress, not undress" by the mids. Swimwear of the s, 50s and early 60s followed the silhouette mostly from the early s whereas after World War II , a new wardrobe and style of vacation-swimwear arose, coupled with an increase of leisure time and bustling postwar resorts. This page was last edited on 16 September , at
In the United States, beauty pageants of women in bathing costumes became popular from the s. However, such events were not regarded as respectable. Beauty contests became more respectable with the first modern " Miss America " contest held in , though less respectable beauty contests continued to be held.
Cartoon by George du Maurier in Punch , , showing men's and children's bathing suits. In , the swimmer Annette Kellerman from Australia visited the United States as an "underwater ballerina", a version of synchronised swimming involving diving into glass tanks.
She was arrested on a Boston beach for indecent exposure because her swimsuit showed arms, legs and the neck, a costume she adopted from England,  and which was similar to men's swimsuits of the time.
Kellerman changed the suit to have long arms and legs and a collar, still keeping the close fit that revealed the shapes underneath. Kellerman marketed a line of bathing suits and her style of one-piece suits came to be known as "the Annette Kellerman". The one-piece swimming tights became accepted swimsuit attire for women in parts of Europe by Despite opposition from some groups, the form-fitting style proved popular.
It was not long before swimwear started to shrink further. At first arms were exposed and then legs up to mid-thigh. Necklines receded from around the neck down to around the top of the bosom. The development of new fabrics allowed for new varieties of more comfortable and practical swimwear. Female swimming was introduced at the Summer Olympics. Competitors from 17 countries took part, with women from nine countries wearing swimsuits similar to Kellerman's swimsuit, which were similar to swimsuits worn by the male swimmers.
In , inspired by the breakthrough, 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.
The name "swim suit" was coined in by Jantzen Knitting Mills, a sweater manufacturer who launched a swimwear brand named the Red Diving Girl. Public nudity was a major concern in designing early swimwear. It was a major factor behind the non-participation of American women in the Olympics. The suits were complemented by bras and bikini -style briefs as they became transparent when wet.
Women's coaches were rare at early Olympics, and to further reduce the chances of harassment women were accompanied by chaperones. During the s and s, people began to shift from "taking in the water" to "taking in the sun", at bathhouses and spas, and swimsuit designs shifted from functional considerations to incorporate more decorative features. Rayon was used in the s in the manufacture of tight-fitting swimsuits,  but its durability, especially when wet, proved problematic,  with jersey and silk also sometimes being used.
Burlesque and vaudeville performers wore two-piece outfits in the s. The film Man with a Movie Camera shows Russian women wearing early two-piece swimsuits which expose their midriff, and a few who are topless. Films of holidaymakers in Germany in the s show women wearing two-piece suits,  In , Speedo introduced their racerback silk suit that was optimized to fit the body shape.
By the s men began to go without shirts for swimming,  and barechestedness in male swimwear became the norm by the end of the s, including in competitive swimming events, in which men are not only barechested, but wear a swimming suit that is intended merely to meet public decency requirements. The norm of male barechestedness in swimwear extended to other competitive sports, such as professional boxing and professional wrestling.
By the s, necklines plunged at the back, sleeves disappeared and sides were cut away and tightened. With the development of new clothing materials, particularly latex and nylon , through the s swimsuits gradually began hugging the body, with shoulder straps that could be lowered for tanning. Coco Chanel made suntans fashionable,  and in French designer Madeleine Vionnet offered an exposed midriff in an evening gown.
They were seen a year later in Gold Diggers of The Busby Berkeley film Footlight Parade of showcases aquachoreography that featured bikinis. Dorothy Lamour 's The Hurricane also showed two-piece bathing suits.
Cotton sun-tops, printed with palm trees, and silk or rayon pyjamas, usually with a blouse top, became popular by Speedo racerback silk suit that uncovered the shoulder blades almost resulted in disqualification of Clare Dennis at the Olympics,  but became a norm by Wartime production during World War II required vast amounts of cotton , silk , nylon , wool , leather , and rubber. Women's swimwear of the s and s incorporated increasing degrees of midriff exposure. Teen magazines of late s and s featured similar designs of midriff-baring suits and tops.
However, midriff fashion was stated as only for beaches and informal events and considered indecent to be worn in public. Because of the figure-hugging nature of these garments, glamour photography since the s and s has often featured people wearing swimsuits. This type of glamour photography eventually evolved into swimsuit photography exemplified by the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Beauty contests also required contestants to wear form-fitting swimsuits. Two-piece swimsuits without the usual skirt panel and other superfluous material started appearing in the U. The July 9, , Life shows women in Paris wearing similar items. What made the Moonlight Buoy distinctive was a large cork buckle attached to the bottoms, which made it possible to tie the top to the cork buckle and splash around au naturel while keeping both parts of the suit afloat.
Life magazine had a photo essay on the Moonlight Buoy and wrote, "The name of the suit, of course, suggests the nocturnal conditions under which nude swimming is most agreeable. Free returns online or in-store Not completely satisfied? We've made returning items as easy as possible.
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