1940s Fashion History, 1970s Fashion History, Fashion History

Swimwear for Women: How did Teenage Bathing Suits Change Through History

Teenage Swimwear
teenage swimwear

Prior to the time when the mini adult years of the teen were separated, teenagers were considered young adults, especially the ladies. In the years before the 20s, it was not uncommon to see young girls of thirteen to seventeen years dressed in the same completely covered up attires as their mothers.

Between 1800 and 1900 what mattered most to the female was her decency? This was seen through the plethora of garments she put on. Being covered up meant everything at the time and for young girls, it was even worse as they were not expected to speak to a man without the supervision of a married and responsible woman.

vintage swimwearWith the development of time, came the development in feminine attires. In the same way, clothes give ample description of the times and decades, swimwear also improved. From the Victorian era where they were almost non-existent, where ladies wore their complete garments, save for their shoes, with stockings to the beach, we developed to the early 1900s where they still maintained decency with large collars and buttoned up coveralls with knee-length hems and reduced fitting to cover up the feminine silhouette.

With the daring move of Annette Kellerman who was the first female the swim across the English Channel and was arrested in Boston for her swimwear that was considered provocative in the 1910s, came the new wave of swimwear inspired by her provocative attire. Although compared to recent times her attire is still considered extremely decent, the fact that the female hourglass silhouette was in full view due to her formfitting one-piece that hugged all parts of her body, did not have buttons or a collar but she still had her stockings.


How Teenage Swimwear Changed Through History?

bikini history

Although the word ‘teenager’ was not in use until the 1940s, there were certain distinctions that made themselves obvious before the 40s and after the Victorian Era. Starting off as a marketing strategy for clothing attires for young but not so young people, it gradually took a full turn and became a notable distinction of character, clothing, pressure, and desires between children and actual adults.

Teenage swimwear had always taken the look of adult female swimwear, until the 1920s where there had to be a clear line between adult female fashion and children’s fashion. Prior to the 20s, children and adults wore almost completely the same thing, as complete decency was the order of the day.

teenage swimwearFrom the 20s fashion, with the emergence of the flapper fashion, children’s fashion had to take a different toll. Teenage swimwear followed the suit of adult fashion as they were then considered young adults. As swimwear became shorted and more revealing in the 40s fashion, the teenage concept was created for marketing purposes in 1944 and took off from there, gradually creating a distinction in what children, adults, and young adults (teenagers) wore.

Today, teenage swimwear comfortably shuffles between children and adult swimwear. Teens can decide to be covered up completely or wear the bikini.

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