People have always been drawn to the beach no matter what era. Whether you're there for a dip in the water, to soak up some rays, or just enjoy a day with friends and family, there's plenty to do. While beach lovers have always been constant, one thing that has changed drastically is the bathing suit.
Today's bathing suits range from modest to risqué, but that wasn't always the case. As early as 4th century B.C. mosaics can be found of female athletes adorned in outfits that come quite close to the modern bikini. Strangely, if we fast forward to only two centuries ago, you would see something much different at your local beach. In the early 1800s, modesty was key and women wore 'bathing gowns' which were closer to gowns than anything easy to swim in. Women weren't the only ones keeping themselves covered up; men could be seen wearing shorts that hit at their mid-calf and shirts that only exposed their arms.
As time progressed hems rose and bathing suits became slightly more form-fitting but still covered the majority of the female body. According to Smithsonian Magazine, the most scandalous development occurred in 1907 when the first woman to swim across the English channel, Annette Kellerman, donned a skin tight swimsuit -- which still covered her from collar bone to ankle -- and was arrested in Boston for her shocking swimwear.
Dive into these vintage beach photos:
After Kellerman's daring attire, a shift in beachwear occurred. In the 1920s hemlines took a huge jump to just above the knees as well as bodices becoming more tailored. Men's swimwear was also going through a metamorphosis; swim suits started to feature more tank tops and even shorter shorts.
Fast-forward ten years and the 1930s were embracing a lot more skin. Men ditched their shirts and 'romper suits' were all the rage for women. Romper suits combined skin tight with exposed arms, collarbones, and showing off thighs almost up to the hip!
Jumping to the 1950s, midriffs were beginning to come out of hiding. High-waisted bikinis were a huge trend, and designers were committed to continuing to push boundaries on what was acceptable beachwear. Men's 'trunks' began to shrink and now, more than ever, resembled underwear.
Ten years later the bikini was here to stay, getting skimpier and skin was officially in. Men's fashion also developed quite the variety. Walking along a beach today you will see everything from a speedo to board shorts. From the 60s onward women's bathing suits have morphed from trend to trend, but the classic silhouettes of the one piece and the bikini have stood the test of time.