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Women’s Swimwear Revolution: Cover-ups and show-offs for your body at the beach!


Swimsuits have ebbed and flowed through the centuries!

It’s almost certain that the first swimmers wore no suit at all and although some historians date women’s first swimsuits to the Eighteenth Century, the first recorded use of clothing for swimwear dates back to 300 BC in ancient Greece. Togas were then the typical attire for bathing and swimming, yet bikini-clad women are visible in mosaics located in the villa at Piazza Armernia in Sicily.

Swimming for recreation declined at the fall of the Roman Empire and the sea was viewed as only a therapeutic spa. Even as late as the Eighteenth Century a brief “dip’ in the waters of a public bath was considered a swim. Modesty was the word of the day. Men kept to one side of a beach or pool and women to the other. Women’s swimwear was confined to bathing gowns. Some women even sewed lead weights into the hems of these smocks to prevent them from floating to the surface and exposing their legs.

Technological Revolution Causes Swimwear Evolution

By the early 1800’s, technology made radical changes in recreation as railroads made seaside vacations more accessible. Americans flocked to the beaches and women were no longer content to sit on the shore. The need for a comfortable recreational garment was born and the women’s swimsuit revolution began.

The modern day swimsuit began as a smock worn over bloomers and black stockings. In 1880, the Princess Cut was introduced, a blouse and trousers in one piece. Since then women’s swimsuits have run the gamut of changes, from the tank suit to the string bikini, and in some cases circled back to its bare beginnings – the birthday suit!

During the 1940’s, pinup girls wore high heels and jewelry to emphasize their feminine attributes.

Wartime rationing ordered garments to be manufactured with less fabric. One designer, Louis Reard, rose to the challenge and introduced the bikini, which he called “the smallest swimsuit in the world”. In another quote Reard said, “It’s so small that it reveals everything about the girl except for her mother’s maiden name!”

In the 1950’s, women’s swimwear designers pulled in waistlines and padded busts and derrieres with cotton. The hourglass figure was in! Just as women were ready to turn blue from lack of breath, Christian Dior introduced relaxed looks in a-lines, y-lines, the trapeze, and the sack. However, designer Rudi Gernrich took the most daring plunge in swimsuit fashion, when he introduced the topless swimsuit in the 1960’s!

Today’s swimwear: Design to fit the woman and her lifestyle!

Fortunately, today’s designers have begun to look at swimwear from a woman’s viewpoint and the emphasis in present day swimwear is on total look and comfort. Women’s swimsuits are as varied as activities at the beach and are available for every figure and every purpose, from womens board shorts for the surfing girl to maternity swimwear for expectant mothers and infant swimwear to help mom get quickly back to the beach after the baby comes!

Recent innovations in women’s swimsuits are in the “through” family of fashion. The female body is erotically concealed yet exposed in sheer, see-through swimwear that leaves “just enough” to the imagination. Tan-through swimwear allows sun worshipers to achieve a lineless tan all over, without being “over-exposed!”

Present day women’s swimsuits go beyond the beach. Women’s swimwear designers like, Roxy, Vix, Venus, and Lisa Lozano of TNA Swimwear create fashionable tops that coordinate beautifully with separately sold bottoms. Frequently today, these stunning tops combine with wraps, sandals, and other fashion accessories to go directly from the beach to the dinner party. For many modern women, a swimwear collection is the foundation for their summertime wardrobe. In addition, because of the ease of modern travel, many women keep their swimsuit wardrobe handy year round!

When you’re ready to take the swimwear plunge…

All in all, the American swimsuit industry generates over three billion dollars a year in trade. Retailers constantly add lines to satisfy the ever-increasing demand for new styles. You can begin by searching through http://www.beach-supplies.com/. When shopping for women’s swimwear, it’s easy to feel like your drowning in a pool of colors, styles, and fabrics but the following tips will help you narrow down your choices:

1. Not all sizes are created equal! Swimsuit sizes may vary drastically from clothing sizes. The good news is that sizes range from extra small to plus-size swimwear so you can try before you buy!

2. The only thing you should wear under your swimsuit on the beach is sun block, but for the sake of your own hygiene, you should wear underwear in the fitting room.

3. Be sure the swimwear style you choose covers what you want covered. Check out your “rearview”. Unless you have chosen a thong, there are certain parts of your body that just shouldn’t show!

4. Tops

Swimsuit straps should lay comfortably on your shoulders without digging into your skin. Nevertheless, fabrics often stretch when they are wet. Make sure the straps aren’t loose enough to slip down without your help! Many women’s swimwear styles come with adjustable straps. They are the comfortable, secure choice!

Move around when you try on that swimwear top! Raise your arms as if you were going to catch that beach ball. Bend over as if you were brushing sand out from between your toes. If the swimsuit top flops one way or the other, try another size.

Watch out for under wires or padded cups. They should fit as well as your bra and give you the support you need without squeezing the life out of you.

5. Torsos:

A one-piece swimsuit can make you look sleek and athletic, even if you have a couple of extra pounds to hide!

Consider a tankini. Loose fitting tops provide ample coverage where it’s needed.

Look for puckered seams. They should lay flat!

A one-piece swimsuit should feel right as well as look good. There should be no pulling either in the crotch area or at the shoulder straps.

A one-piece suit should offer you a smooth fit. It should conform to the shape of your body and spine. If it doesn’t, don’t get a different size; try a different style.

6. Bottoms

Openings for both leg and waist should neither pucker nor dig into your skin.

The most flattering leg height for most women is about one-inch below their hipbone. It’s a good starting point to experiment until you find the style that’s right for you!

Linda Paquette is a marketing specialist and writer who loves the beach and enjoys offering her readers money saving tips on women's swimsuits (http://www.beach-supplies.com/bikinis.htm), bikinis, and boardshorts (http://www.beach-supplies.com/board_shorts.htm).

Linda Paquette