|Women Arrested for Violating a Ban on Brief Swimsuits|
Some Bathing Suit Facts
- In the late 1800s, the first bathing suits appeared and consisted of padded bloomer pants made from wool or flannel, topped off with a knee-length dress, black wool stockings, shoes, and ruffled hats. The heavy fabric made it almost impossible to swim.
- Up until the twentieth century, women who wanted to “swim” in the ocean could merely jump through the waves holding a rope attached to a buoy because their swimwear often weighed over 22 pounds. By 1915, women athletes began viewing swimming as a sport and, consequently, swimsuit fabric started to shrink.
- Modesty laws were very strict in the early 1900s. In 1919, a woman was detained at Coney Island for wearing a bathing suit in public—under her street clothes.
- In the early 1900s, many American cities created laws that required all women in bathing suits to wear stockings.
- In 1907, when Australian swimmer Annette Kellerman wore a one-piece suit in Boston that revealed her arms and legs, she was promptly arrested for indecent exposure.
- In May 1917, the American Association of Park Superintendents published in its “Bathing Suit Regulations” that men’s suits should include a “skirt” worn outside the swimming trunks. Men could also wear flannel knee pants with a vest front.
- In 1921, swimwear manufacturer Jantzen decided to change the term “bathing suit” to “swimming suit” to justify their more revealing swimsuits as a form of athleticism.