After showing my newest vintage bathing suit, I thought I ought to show this fashion print of some very early bathing costumes. When I was a little girl I always wondered why it was called a bathing suit, as the ones from the early 1960s were mainly one piece affairs. But looking at this image you can see why it was called a suit. The full ensemble included a cap, dress, pantaloons, stockings and shoes.
Interestingly, my 1916 bathing suit is more similar to these from over forty years prior than it is to the one piece knit suits women were wearing only five years later. It was pointed out in the comments yesterday that the changes in bathing suits had a lot to do with the move toward more freedoms and rights for women. It is interesting that women gained the right to vote in the United States about the same time they began to wear bathing suits that were actually suitable for swimming.