A History of Bathing Suits: 1900 - 1940

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

By 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.

Blue bathing suit (1900/1910) by Unknown authorNational Museum of Costume in Portugal

Sea Bathing

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

Black wool bathing suit (1900/1910) by Unknown authorNational Museum of Costume in Portugal

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.

Blue wool bathing suit (1900) by Unknown authorNational Museum of Costume in Portugal

Children's Bathing Suit (1910) by Unknown authorNational Museum of Costume in Portugal

1910

A boy's bathing suit from 1910.

Grey wool bathing suit with cape (1918) by Unknown authorNational Museum of Costume in Portugal

Blue bathing suit (1910) by Unknown authorNational Museum of Costume in Portugal

SOCIAL LIFE

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

Blue bathing suit (1925/1930) by Unknown authorNational Museum of Costume in Portugal

LIGHTER DRESS

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

Men's bathing suit (1930/1940) by Unknown authorNational Museum of Costume in Portugal

KNITTED PIECES

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

Orange bathing suit (1920/1940) by Unknown authorNational Museum of Costume in Portugal

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 Flores 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

All rights belong to the National Museum of Costume in Portugal unless otherwise stated. For more click here.

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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