A History of Bathing Suits: 1900 - 1940

National Museum of Costume in Portugal

Swimsuits from the Collection of the National Museum of Costume in Portugal

COASTAL COUNTRY

Portugal is a coastal country and sea bathing was fashionable in the late 18th century, introduced by the wealthy bourgeois and aristocracy.

Sea Bathing
In the mid-19th century people would go to the beach and went sea bathing for therapeutic purposes.

BATHING GOWNS

Women’s long bathing gowns with matching drawers were used for swimming and sea bathing. People went bathing close to a beach hut to change.

1910

A boy's bathing suit from 1910.

SOCIAL LIFE

Going to the beach became part of the social life throughout Europe.

LIGHTER DRESS

The full ankle length dress was gradually replaced by a simpler and lighter dress made of different fabrics.

KNITTED PIECES

Knitted maillot for women and knitted shorts for men became fashion’s ultimate craze.

CONSUMER GOOD

The bathing suit and its multiple varieties became an object of fashion and a desirable consumer good.

Credits: Story

Texts: Clara Vaz Pinto
Translation: Xénia Ribeiro
Collection: National Costume Museum in Portugal
Online exhibition: Cândida Caldeira
Photos: © DGPC/ADF

Bibliography:
In NAZARÉ. Câmara Municipal. Museu Dr. Joaquim Manso; SANTOS, Dóris (coord.) – Nazaré : memórias de uma praia de Banhos. [Lisboa : Nazaré] : [Instituto dos Museus e da Conservação : Museu Dr. Joaquim Manso], 2010. ISBN 978-972-776-421-1

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Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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