At The Beach
What a short stretch of time before bathing can become swimming! The social mores that prevent women from disrobing or showing their bodies will slowly be overcome by the end of the 1880s. Since the Enlightenment, women were permitted to wear flowing, concealing robes if they wanted to take a dip in the sea, or even a spa pool. The concept of a bathing suit was far from what we know today. In the 1880s, a woman might wear a slightly more relaxed form of dress, but dressed she remained. Contrast such clothing with the adoption of a swimming costume. This was a special garment, still concerned with concealment, but now more ‘sporting” in nature. Looking at the image above, dated July 1892, we see the future opening up. If you want to pursue information on the history of swim wear, using the subject heading Bathing Suits when searching the Library’s catalog.