1920s Swimsuits: What Was The Specialty?

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Have you ever heard of bathing suits made out of wool? Yes, the roaring twenties. The 1920s presented an era of fashion that was interesting, to say the least. So as the 1920s swimsuits! In the roaring twenties, the idea of visiting the beach and swimming was still relatively new. The idea of going to a beach was associated with wearing bathing suits made out of wool and hanging out with friends. Not quite distinct as opposed to this era, but the wool is supposed to keep you warm.

In the later 1920s, the makers of swimwear had to adapt and make swimwear for the sole purpose of swimming. Swimwear was then transformed from a wool-like material to stretched-jersey-like material. This was certainly more comfortable than the prevailing theory of the wool. As swimsuits became more functional, this encouraged more women to swim. This made it easier to swim and also showed off women’s curves. The necklines of swimwear also shifted to accentuate the chest-area for women. Colors were as the colors of 1920s sportswear – incorporating an extensive collection of colors!

1920s bathing suit
Bathing Suit

1920s Swimsuits: what was the catch?

As swimwear became shorter, women had to be on the lookout for beach police with measuring tapes to ensure that the swimwear does not undermine the conventional length. Too much bare skin could result in fines and even interestingly, being sent to jail! What a revelation to today’s swimwear. Most of these rules were lifted by the late twenties and women were allowed to wear whatever piece of clothing that they desired.

vintage swimsuit
Police measuring the height of the swimmer

For some women who prefered to cover-up, they could still wear swimwear that accommodates their style. Similarly, a popular fashion trend was buying two-piece swimsuits: incorporating swimsuit trunks and tank tops sewn to make a swimsuit! This was a popular piece of swimwear during the roaring twenties for women who prefered swimsuits that could cover their skin.

vintage swimsuit
Police measuring the height of the swimmer

Swim Shoes were a thing?

The short answer: Yes. Some women prefer wearing stockings with street shoes. However, the majority of women chose to wear beach boots. Beach boots are similar to contemporary boots today, however, the one’s in the roaring twenties incorporated lace patterns that rose above one’s calves.

1920s swim shoes
Swim Shoes

Interestingly, they are quite similar to today’s men’s wrestling or hiking shoes. However, by the late twenties, beach slippers took over. As a result of the desire for comfort and fashion, beach boots were transformed into beach slippers!

What about 1920s men’s swimsuits?

Men’s swimsuits also was a part of 1920s men’s fashion. Men’s suits were also initially made out of wool. Men’s swimsuits presented a collection of extensive colors and styles. A popular color scheme was orange with black or white stripes outlining the edges. Besides, men typically wore rubber belts with their desired swimsuits.

1920s men's swimsuit
Men’s Swimsuits

Swimsuits – make or buy your own?

Making a men’s or women’s 1920s swimsuit isn’t difficult. All you have to do is find a long pair of tank-top and a pair of biking shorts. Sow both the pieces together and you have yourself a swimsuit from the roaring twenties! How fashionable and how trendy.

For men, tank plus shorts work too. This was similar to wrestling singlets and biking shorts of today. Piece the two popular clothing pieces together and this will result in a fashionable and popular trend of clothing in the roaring twenties!

For teens and early ‘20s swimsuit that is boxier in style, you can take a button up short-sleeved top and a piece of basic trunk that has a similar color scheme and style. Piece it together and you get yourself a classic swimwear of that era.

Wrap-up on 1920s swimsuits:

The transformation of swimsuits was evident in the roaring twenties. We were able to witness the shift in patterns, styles and colors. The shift was evident considering the material of the swimsuit as it shifted from a wool-like material that had a prevailing theory of warmth, but it shifted to a more comfortable piece of clothing that was accepted by many!

Although societal changes are important in determining how acceptable a piece of clothing is, eventually, it became a societal norm to wear swimsuits on the beach. As swimsuits became more functional, this encouraged more women to swim. This made it easier to swim and also showed off women’s curves.

Beach suits
Beach suits 1920

For some women who prefered to cover-up, they could still wear swimwear that accommodates their style. Similarly, a popular fashion trend was buying two-piece swimsuits: incorporating swimsuit trunks and tank tops sewn to make a swimsuit! This was a popular piece of swimwear during the roaring twenties for women who prefered swimsuits that could cover their skin.