A History of Swimwear Reflecting Some Sociological and Technological Changes


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Virginia Tech


The purpose of this study was to research the effects of sociological and technological changes on the development of swimwear. Bathing and swimming suit styles have reflected attitudes toward male-female relationships, the status of women, and public nudity. Technological developments in fibers and fabrics improved the appearance, wear, and practicality of swimming suits. Reductions in working hours and the development of labor-saving devices created leisure time. Swimming became a popular leisure time activity. Beauty pageants utilized the bathing suit as a means of exploiting the female form. The entrance of women as active participants in swimming necessitated a practical costume. Swimwear designers have contributed to the relative "undress" of the bathing suit. Laws relating to bathing, bathing suits, and swimming were enacted. Reductions in the amount of fabric used in bathing dresses were the result of innovations in women's undergarments, functional requirements of the sport of swimming, sunbathing, and an increasing degree of informality in social behavior.


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 120-127).


Bathing suits -- History, Bathing suits -- Social aspects