Fashion

The One-Piece Bathing Suit

The one-piece bathing suit actually came a long time ago. Traditionally women wore Victorian style bloomers that were not revealing or figure hugging. They appeared more like dresses than swimsuits.

Annette Kellerman was an Australian swimmer born in 1887 and she was arrested for wearing a one-piece swimsuit – otherwise known as a maillot in these time period. There was a huge public outcry and she was released. In fact, this caused an outpouring of support from women to wear a one-piece versus the Victorian bloomers.

By the 1920s one-pieces with shorts started to see a rise in popularity. They were more common because women needed a functional outfit when they were at the beach. Going to the beach became a common activity for relaxation and therefore, the Victorian style outfits were not conducive to swimming and tanning. Stockings were worn with these one-pieces and long sleeve tops were worn over these too.

Necklines got lower in the 1930s. New fabrics like nylon and latex meant that women could wear tighter swimsuits; although these were not like the ones we have today. Previously in the 1920s swimsuits often came in fabrics we wouldn’t see today; like silk or jersey style fabric.

The next style of swimsuit was the Swing Style Bathing Suit. It may look modest today but it was not in the 1940s. It was a step away from the one-piece with shorts. It covered the entire backside area and it was almost like a short skirt. I think they were kinda cute!

Swing Style Bathing Suits

I really think the styles were so cute especially the colours. Bikinis are so much more simplistic mostly. I mean you get fancy cut outs and designs on one-pieces but these are so cute.

50s bathing suits

Vast improvements were made for bathing suits in the 1950s. Suddenly the fabric was better suited for the water and the beach. Nylon and elastic were added to the bathing suits. This basically made it easier for you to dry and for you to move around. It’s so crazy for me to think that swimming suits were not like they are today.

Comparatively, from a fashion perspective, the patterns were different in the 50s to the 40s. Solid colours were in. Patterns weren’t as popular now. I still can’t get over how cute these are – not going to lie – not digging the hair though.

50s bathing suits


The princes bathing suit

50s bathing suits


The bubble swimsuit

50s bathing suits

I think it is really cool that the style wanted to emphasize your hips. I wish more styles did that today. Sometimes, I feel shy about my hips so I think more styles should embrace larger hips and celebrate them.

 Baby Doll swimsuits

50s bathing suits

These swimsuits seem so foreign to me. They look like very simplistic playsuits to me. I can’t even imagine going swimming in these. The fabric doesn’t even look like a bathing suit!

The Empire Waist Swimsuit

50s bathing suits

Waists were there to be shown off. If you wanted to show off your curves then this one would have been the one to get.

If you want to know more about one-suits then check out these cool links!


Wikipedia – One Piece History

Wikipedia – Maillot

History of Bathing Suits – Victoriana Magazine

History of Bathing Suits – Good Housekeeping

Annette Kellerman

I hope you guys enjoyed reading this. I definitely enjoyed researching this. Have a good one!


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