Swimwear throughout the years

As new swimwear styles and designs emerge, we thought it would be an interesting trip down memory lane to look at the evolution of swimwear.

1800’s – Swimwear was first introduced in the 1800’s, and women were required to wear full length ‘dresses’ which featured weights in the hem to stop them from rising in the water, whilst men wore long sleeved, long legged swimsuits which looked similar to the onesies that are currently gracing the pyjama aisles at Big W and Target. Any part of skin was not to be exposed, and women were considered ‘proper’ if maintaining white skin untouched by the sun.

Early 1900’s – As women become more interested in participating in water sports such as diving and swimming, swimwear changed to allow greater movement. The first costumes to accommodate this featured romper-like suits with knee length shorts and sleeveless tops.

1930’s – By the 1930’s, swimwear had become more form fitted, with flattering cuts such as higher cut legs and lower cut necklines. Cotton fabric replaced wool jersey which allowed for greater colour options.

1946 – Louis Reard, a Frenchman, revolutionised swimwear by introducing the bikini. The tops were typically crop-style with high waisted pants to ensure the navel remained covered as it was still considered improper to expose the navel until around the late 1950’s.

1960’s – Introduction of nylon and Lycra enabled swimwear to be tighter and stretchier

1970’s – Higher cut leg lines emerged and bikini’s started to evolve towards the string bikini

2000’s – Swimwear designs veered towards an ‘anything goes’ motto from barely-there string bikinis and g-strings to replications of retro style swimwear reminiscent of the 1950’s and 60’s bikinis. It also introduced the ‘mankini’ made famous by the Borat character played by Sasha Bardon Cohen.

Timeline adapted from http://www.divinecaroline.com/fashion/whats-hot/bathing-beauties-swimsuits-through-ages

Some examples of early Seabird styles.


Cruise away in comfort in a Kaftan from Seabird


The popularity of cruising has grown significantly in the past few years, with many generations opting for the all-inclusive relaxation lifestyle that cruising offers. With the chance to sit back and relax your cares away as a ship equipped with all your needs takes you from one destination to the next, it is hard not to see why this has become so popular.

With all this relaxation and comfort, you would want to spend your days looking great yet feeling comfortable, and nothing is more comfortable than a Kaftan

Throw it on over your swimwear, glam it up with some jewelry and pants or leggings and you will have the simplest, most comfortable and versatile item in your wardrobe.

Spend your days doing what you want to do instead of planning a wardrobe by putting on a Kaftan in seconds and going about your day. It’s perfect for trips to the Spa, pool, sauna or for lounging in the sun.

You won’t feel constrained by tight clothing, nor will you feel self-conscious about evidence of a full tummy after enjoying the delights of the buffet. The fabric is soft and flowing and feels beautiful against your skin.

Available in different lengths, you can create a different look depending on your occasion such as full length for evenings, shorter for day time.

See our range here.


Don’t pack away your swimsuit now that the weather has cooled down

Just because the weather has turned a little chilly, doesn’t mean you can no longer head out for a swim at the local pool or beach. Staying active year-round is important for your health and can boost your endorphins, making you less stressed and more happy. (And who wouldn’t want that?!)

Many cities and major towns now have indoor swimming facilities which are available for use yearly, with most having heated facilities to fight the chill.

The Better Health Channel, an initiative of the Victorian government recognises the following health benefits associated with swimming in this article:

  • Keeps your heart rate up but takes some of the impact stress off your body
  • Builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight, healthy heart and lungs
  • Tones muscles and builds strength
  • Provides an all-over body workout, as nearly all of your muscles are used during swimming.

Swimming also assists with:

  • Being a relaxing and peaceful form of exercise
  • Alleviating stress
  • Improving coordination, balance and posture
  • Improving flexibility
  • Providing good low-impact therapy for some injuries and conditions
  • Providing a pleasant way to cool down on a hot day
  • Being available in many places – you can swim in swimming pools, beaches, lakes and rivers. Make sure that the environment you choose to swim in is safe.

At Seabird Swimwear, unlike many major retailers, we sell swimwear all year round, so you can find a gorgeous pair of cozzies in the size and colour you want, not just what’s left on the clearance rack!


How does chlorine affect your swimwear?

At Seabird Swimwear all of our swimwear is made using chlorine proof fabric, yet do you really know what that means, and how chlorine can affect your swimwear?

Chlorine is a nightmare for fabrics, causing it to bleach colours or break down and weaken the fibres of the fabric, resulting in stretching and bagginess or degraded elastic.

This article says ‘Swimming in a chlorinated swimming pool is effectively equivalent to soaking your swimsuit in bleach for a couple of hours’, and explains the typical ‘5 stages of grief’ one feels when discovering that swimsuit is on a rapid downhill decline.

It also says that you must accept this inevitable decline, however, when you buy a chlorine proof swimsuit from Seabird Swimwear, you can rest assured your swimsuit will last the season and beyond, unlike cheap lycra alternatives that have you running to replace them just a few months after purchasing.

Chlorine proof swimwear maintains its fit, keeping comfortably snug and the colours maintain their brightness, giving you a much longer lasting product than most.

There are steps to further optimise the life of your product and ensure it remains looking as good as the day you purchased it, by washing in SOAPY water using a mild detergent immediately after taking off your swimsuit. Also, avoid using fabric softener as this can also break down the elastic and fabric too.

Don’t bleach, iron, tumble dry or dry clean your swimsuit and avoid wringing the swimsuit out to dry as this can cause the fabric to stretch.

See our Fabric page for more information.

What experiences have you had with chlorine? Share in the comments below. 🙂