History of Swimsuits

Friends in Retro Swimwear With Inner tubes
Peter M. Fisher / Getty Images

The first swimsuits were, of course, no swimsuits at all. People have always gone swimming in the nude or in any clothing appropriate for swimming such as loin cloths. It was not until the 18th century that "swimsuits" were invented mostly for the purpose of hiding the human body according to the morality of the times.

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Swimsuits 1855

Swimsuits Consisted of Bloomers and Black Stockings
Swimsuits Consisted of Bloomers and Black Stockings. Calmx

Around 1855, swimsuits consisted of bloomers and black stockings while drawers were added to prevent the problem of exposure.

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Swimsuits Circa 1915 to 1930

Swimsuits Circa 1915 to 1930
Swimsuits Circa 1915 to 1930. LOC

The photo above depicts a group of people, in swimsuits, standing on a beach and was taken between 1915 and 1930. You can see how the women's bathing suit (in the middle) has evolved from the previous page—the arms are now exposed and black is no longer the color. The woman on the right and the men are wearing the newer tank suits that developed during the 1920s.

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Swimsuits 1922

Swimsuits 1922
Swimsuits 1922. LOC

Four young women wearing bathing suits notice the lowering of the necklines.

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Bikini Swimsuit 1946 - Jacques Heim and Louis Reard

Bikini. stock.xchnge

The bikini was reinvented in 1946 by Jacques Heim and Louis Reard. See - History of the Bikini

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Slimsuit Swimsuit Patent 1990 - Carol Wior

Carol Wior Slimsuit
Patent Drawing: Carol Wior Slimsuit - US Patent #RE33406. USPTO

Most swimsuits are not patented as they fall under copyright law. However, there are patents that have been issued for innovative swimsuits. Carol Wior patented the Slimsuit, a women's swimsuit that was guaranteed to take an inch or more off the waist or tummy and look natural.