The Evolution of the Swimsuit

072016SISKOThe history of swimwear began long before the modern day bikini. In the 19th century, swimming suits consisted of up to six pieces of clothing, including stockings, which were used by both men and women. These bathing suits could weigh more than five kilograms when wet - even more in the case of women, as they included small pieces of lead to weigh down their skirts when entering the sea, a feature which caused more than a few drownings. Cotton, silk, wool, everything was a possibility, as long as it was black, navy or red - colours that water didn’t render transparent.

In 1907 the first great swimwear trend began when the Australian swimmer, Annette Kellerman jumped into the sea sporting a one-piece swimsuit. She was arrested for this public scandal, but managed to draw the world’s attention towards the need for lighter clothing.

At this time the growing popularity of railroads led to seaside resorts becoming increasingly accessible to the general public. Into this new world came a new, fashionable sensibility in the resorts of San Sebastian, Bournemouth and Deauville, where a young Coco Chanel opened a boutique to sell fresh linen dresses and nautical style shirts. This enterprising woman would become the inventor of nautical spirit.

In the 1920s, men and women no longer wore stockings on the beach and men increasingly dispensed with the top part of their swimsuits while also revealing more than half of their legs; women’s bathing suits became tighter and shorter. Two decades later came the emphasis of curves, with cups, V-necks, and lots of leg, thanks to the first ever presentation of the bikini in Paris by Louis Reard, which caused both scandal and surprise. However, in 1962, the whole world fell silent and admired Ursula Andress in Dr. No, emerging from the sea in an incredible two-piece designed by Tessa Prendergast, which effectively heralded the era of two-piece dominance.

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Whether you surf, dive, swim, play beach volleyball, or do any kind of watersport, owning a bikini that stays put is a necessity. A comfortably fitting swimsuit allowing ease of movement and plenty of coverage is essential. Therefore, look for a swimming top that offers support and is fixed - avoid sliding triangle tops. The bottom needs to have either double side ties, thick and secure elastic sides, or a drawstring which allows you to you tighten the bathing suit so that it doesn’t ride up or slide down. Don’t forget a hat to protect your head and a pair of matching sunglasses to protect your eyes and complete your gorgeous look!

 
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