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Women's reproduction bathing suit

Date: 20th Century
Overall: 1070 x 560 mm, 0.3 kg
Medium: Cotton
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Swimsuit
Object No: 00018336

User Terms

    The design of this machine made navy blue cotton bathing suit was based on women's swimwear fashions popular around the 1890s. This one piece garment features knee length legs, short sleeves and a gathered scooped neckline, and is trimmed in white. There are three buttons on either side of the collar, and a white anchor has been embroidered on the left breast.

    SignificanceThis reproduction swimsuit is representative of late Victorian one piece styles. Though its construction differs from original pieces dating from that period, it documents the influence of sailor inspired designs on women's beach fashions.

    HistorySailor-inspired bathing costumes were fashionable for women and children at the turn of the century. However, the billowing skirts of bathing dresses and loose fitting one piece costumes made swimming difficult, while the weight of wet cotton, flannel and wool made it dangerous.

    This costume is believed to be a modern reproduction in the style of costumes from 1890 to 1910. This belief is based on the fact that the earliest common use of knitted, rather than woven, fabrics for swimming costumes can be dated to the 1920s and 1930s when coarsely knitted woollen costumes were in fashion. The fabric used in the construction of this substantially earlier style is a very fine knitted cotton fabric of even gauge, which appears to be machine made. It is also significant that all the seams on the costume have been over locked, which is a relatively modern method used to finish seams.
    Additional Titles


    Web title: Women's reproduction bathing suit

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