Bathing Suit Timeline

A recent project has been developing a timeline of bathing suits from the 1860s through the 1920s. From looking at the sales pages and such on the internet, it seems to me that such a timeline might be useful to people trying to place a date on older suits. I’ll be adding to what I’ve got here and will eventually make a permanent page on my long neglected site.

For now, here’s a chronological view of sixty years of bathing suit styles, with date and source, but no commentary.

1864, Godey’s Lady’s Book

1865, Godey’s Lady’s Book


1871, Harper’s Bazar


1876, Harper’s Bazar


1881, Harper’s Bazar


1885, Harper’s Bazar


1892, Harper’s Bazar


1895, Le Bon Ton & Le Moniteur de la Mode United


1902, Sears, Roebuck Catalog


1909, McCall’s


1911, Woman’s Home Companion


1912, Greenhut-Siegel Cooper Catalog


1917, Von Lengerke and Antoine Catalog

1918, The Delineator


1921, B. Altman & Co Catalog


1925, Bonwit Teller Catalog


I’ve chosen to end with the mid 1920s, as after that date there are many more resources for dating, and I want to use images that are firmly in the public domain.  You can see there are some gaps, and I’m working on at least an example from every five years or so.

Putting bathing suits in a timeline really shows how fashion was followed, even in the water.


Filed under Proper Clothing, Summer Sports

11 responses to “Bathing Suit Timeline

  1. Suzanne Williams

    Thank you! That’s a great resource!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Chris

    Love this – thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Th etimeline is a great idea! I have some pattern images from 1910 and 1914 to write about — I was waiting for warmer weather but will get to them asap.


  4. Oh my gosh, and I thought the 1950’s were conservative! 🙂


  5. jacq staubs

    Why bother? Wearing a “bathing suit” Just jump in! Hoop skirt / pantaloons and all! When they said “suit they meant it! Hats too! The Bonwitt /B Altman ads are so sleek. Thank you.


  6. Amanda Legare

    Man… That wet material had to weigh a ton. How unpleasant. And on top of it all… are they wearing stockings/tights?


  7. I’d forgotten that knit swimsuits could be pretty sleek even in 1917. I posted this one and forgot it!


  8. Pingback: In the Swim, 1910 | witness2fashion

  9. Pingback: In the Swim, 1914 | witness2fashion

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