Feminine fashion

The Nation The swimsuit through history

By hollisterclothingoutlet 07/01/2023 655 Views
It was a long journey for tights or bikinis to settle in popular culture.

Text: Jazmín Gómez Fleitas


Thick wool or cotton suits, socks, hats and long sleeves. The entire body was covered with heavy cloth to prevent it from rising up in the water. In addition, it was considered better that the skin remained white, without being touched by the sun.

Mid-19th century

The bloomer appears, a clothing reinvented in glamor that consisted of knee-length pants and dresses with a shorter length —which left the pants exposed— and short sleeves.

The bloomer

It is attributed to the similarity of the clothing designed by the American Amelia Bloomer, an activist for women's rights, who designed it as a casual garment. It didn't last long because it was the target of ridicule, but coincidentally, the first attempt at a swimsuit resembles it so much that it was popularized that way. This garment allowed more mobility for women in the water.

Bathroom machines

Since there was already a bathing suit for the water activities, small houses with wheels were used, which provided privacy for the women to change into and then go down, through a ladder, directly into the water.

Late 19th century

The Swimsuit Nation via of history

Women typically dressed in black, with knee-length, puffy-sleeved dresses that usually had a sailor collar at the neck, with tied ribbons or bows. Included as bathroom accessories: long black stockings, elegant lace-up bathroom slippers and designer caps.


Annete Kellerman, an Australian swimmer, pioneered the modern swimwear by wearing the first one-piece suit in public: a kind of camisole with shorts, which was outrageous for the time. However, the popularity of the suit resulted in her marketing her own brand.

Occurs from 1896 for men (in the first modern Olympic Games in Athens) and from 1912 for women. As the sport grew, swimsuits became lighter, more streamlined, paving the way for styles to come.


Swimwear photography catapulted the popularity of beachwear. Hollywood and Vogue magazine planted the idea that a bathing suit could be sexy and attractive, an idea that would persist.


The design of the camisilla-short piece was set aside to add a skirt and thus discard what had been considered “the ugly fashion of the 20s”. Synchronized swimming also appeared in movies, prompting wetsuits to hug the curves of the body more closely.


Corsetry was losing ground, but as bathing suits now revealed more, garments more adaptable to the female silhouette were sought. This is how cup bras began to be used in the leggings and control panels on the tummy, in addition to more aesthetic hats (which included flowers, etc.).

Ava Gardner

After World War II, the American actress made the two-piece, speckled bathing suit iconic. She did not show the navel, the height was at the waist and only a little bit of the diaphragm was visible. However, the model no longer had chest straps.


Lycra and nylon appeared, allowing models to maintain their shape when in contact with water. Leggings and two-piece suits, with or without straps, were still in force.


The bikini appears. French engineer Louis Reard designed the model in 1946, but it wasn't until the 1960s that it was widely available. The name was born from the Bikini Atoll that the United States had detonated, in anticipation of the impact it would have.

Brigitte Bardot

The French actress and singer, an icon of the time, popularized the bikini off screen, wearing it on the beaches of Cannes and Saint-Tropez.


Bikinis were made in various increasingly colorful patterns.


From this decade and the next, it was all about showing off your thighs and creating the illusion of really long legs. Hawaiian Tropic bikini contests were trending.


Tights had a resurgence with the Baywatch series. Pamela Anderson and Carmen Electra were two of the stars of the television show that promoted it.


Triangular tops and prints allow women to further individualize their outfits.


Taylor Swift brings back the styles of the '50s. Who knew that 10 years later, it would all be about nostalgia?


There is such a variety that it is possible to choose from vintage models to the most sporty. Everything is allowed (one, two or three pieces) when it comes to choosing the ones you like best and feel most comfortable with.

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