Are you ready to dive in and take a look at the history of swim wear? Swimming has been a popular past time for centuries on end. Who wouldn’t like to take a refreshing dip on a hot day? Hopefully during this study we will discover how throughout history swim wear has evolved from modesty-focused suits to suits that are made for the express purpose of exposing the body. As Christian ladies, is this even a topic that we should worry about?
Let’s begin a few hundred years ago. In the 1700s, “bathing gowns” were what ladies wore to swim in. They were made of weighted fabric that did not rise in the water. Modesty was of utmost importance, and ladies and men did not swim together. Women rarely swam at all actually, for modesty sake.
In the early 1800s, swimming became an important form of recreation in the United States. The “Princess cut” was introduced, which included a long blouse and pants in one piece. Women still refrained from swimming too much, for fear of being immodest.
In 1909, Austrailian Annette Kellerman was arrested in the United States for wearing a one piece suit which included shorts. By 1910, this style of swimsuit was accepted by the general public. By 1918, the apron that was worn with swimsuits disappeared.
Annette Kellerman in her infamous swimsuit. Annette was also the first major actress to appear fully nude onscreen in a scene in The Daughter of the Gods.
This is when swimwear styles really began to move from being modesty-focused to being focused on body shape. Please note that this directly corresponds to the “Roaring ’20s, where as a sign of rebellion and independence women began bobbing their hair and shortening their skirts. Although hardly thought of now, bobbing hair along with immodest dress was a sign of rebellion. Have you ever seen this FIAT television commercial? (At the end you will see what I mean.)
In the 1940s, Hollywood actresses began wearing swimsuits in motion pictures. They became tighter fitting and higher cut.
In 1946, French engineer Louis Reard created the bikini. He named it after the nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll, because it arrived with a “bang.” When he created the bikini none of the “regular” models would wear it. He finally hired 19-year-old nude dancer Micheline Bernardini to model the suit.
If you have the time, please take a moment and watch this video of Jessica Rey discussing the history of the bikini. It is worth the watch!
From this point forward, swimsuits continued to become smaller and smaller. They became less about modesty and function, and more about showing off the body. These changes in swimwear corresponded to the sexual revolution and the feminist movement, which were also sparked by rebellion.
In our current day and age, we rarely consider why we wear certain things. Our clothing and swimsuit styles are fueled by current trends without giving much thought as to if these “trends” are glorifying to the Lord or not. Sisters, we should be striving to glorify the Lord in all that we do!
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. -1 Corinthians 10:31
Most of the swimsuits styles that we embrace today were born from a spirit of rebellion. Proverbs 17:11 says, “An evil man seeks only rebellion, and a cruel messenger will be sent against him.” Rebellion is from the evil one, who would like nothing more than to deceive us. We must be watchful.
Please join me back here next week. We will be discussing if we are letting our culture or the Word of God dictate our convictions. If you missed the introduction of this series, you can take a look at it here.
(Please note that I’m not suggesting that we do not cut our hair or go back to wearing bathing gowns! Hopefully this post will help you to determine your own swimsuit convictions in relation to our culture today while using Biblical discernment.)
I pray that the Lord will be glorified through this series. Modesty is so very important to Him. It is something that we must consider as Christian women. I’ve gone through a radical modesty transformation over the past three years, the heart change that the Lord has given me has truly been incredible. Sometimes going against the grain of society is tough! I praise God that His grace is always sufficient.
Also, this week everything in my etsy shop, Joyfully Made is 30% off with the coupon code MEMDAY30. I’ve got clearance applique shirts and tutus, a bit of wall art, and fun printables (including new handwriting ones) available. If you order, please remember to use the coupon code during checkout.
Possibly linking to:
Growing Home, Tending the Home Tuesdays, Raising Homemakers, Deep Roots At Home, Raising Arrows, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home ,Walking Redeemed, A Proverbs 31 Wife, The Modest Mom, A Mama’s Story, Mom’s the Word , Raising Mighty Arrows, Hearts For Home, Time Warp Wife, Graced Simplicity, Christian Mommy Blogger, Faith Filled Fridays