Monday, July 30, 2012

HISTORY OF BATHING SUITS: BIKINIS IN ANCIENT ITALY!

Enjoying the Ocean City beach!
Recently, I read an article about the history of the swimsuit.  Apparently, bikini style swimming attire is not a new idea! According to a Smithsonian article, two-piece swim suits are pictured in a 4th century mosaic discovered in the Villa Roma de Casale in Sicily.

However, swimming attire has gone through many changes throughout history and some styles were neither attractive nor comfortable. In the late 1600s, for example, both men and ladies wore swimming costumes of yellow canvas that could fill with water.  That conjures images of bloated yellow "whales" crowding the shoreline. What were they thinking?

"Bathing gowns" and "bathing machines" protected modesty during the 18th century.  And during the "...mid-19th century and into the early 20th century, bathing dresses continued to cover most of the female figure, in particular.

Shocking!  "In 1907, a scandal erupted when Australian swimmer, Annette Kellerman, the first woman to swim across the English Channel, was arrested in Boston for wearing a more form-fitting, one-piece suit" (that actually covered most of her body).

It wasn't until 1915, that the Jantzen company designed a shorter and more functional swimming suit from wool. Shortly thereafter, they introduced their iconic "Red Diving Girl" logo, and as the saying goes...the rest is history!

Happily, Scarborough Inn guests are just a 7-minute walk from the Ocean City beach and we supply beach tags (with a refundable deposit) and have a bathhouse on property, too  Remember to only swim at guarded beaches and enjoy the refreshing Atlantic Ocean on steamy summer days!

INNsider Tip:
Read the entire article from the Smithsonian's online clothing and history blog, Threaded, about bathing attire through the ages: The Swimsuit Series.

Carol & Gus, Innkeepers
Scarborough Inn
an Ocean City NJ Bed and Breakfast

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