Victorian and Edwardian Seaside Fashion
Georgian Bathing Machine
fashion history of swimwear took its lead from ordinary dress and the
outfits were very modest, almost totally covering the body.
One of the early images of swimwear is the dress shown in this Yorkshire
picture right and depicting coastal life in Georgian Britain in 1813.
Note how the bather is assisted into the sea from a bathing machine.
One reason people often find themselves on this webpage, is that they are
looking for a swimming costume for re-enactment. One website I have
found with a selection of swimming costume patterns is the online site
Ageless Patterns and there is link further down the page.
Check which style you really need before visiting them.
Once the railway arrived in Britain the masses visited the
seaside regularly and it spawned a need for new fashions.
In the early Victorian
era women had worn serge or dark flannel bathing dresses, but by the 1860s two
piece belted costumes replaced the earlier styles.
swimwear bodice top was jacket like and
the swimsuit bottom part three quarter trousers which had been rejected only a decade
earlier when Amelia Bloomer
urged women to adopt them.
The later Victorian swimsuit outfit was still
cumbersome, but was more practical and more attractive than earlier bathing
Pictures - Early and Mid-Victorian swimwear for women.
Although the trouser
was acceptable as Victorian beachwear it did not enter mainstream fashion until
the 1920s when trousers were accepted after practical wear in the Great War of
Even when bloomers were
accepted by many late Victorians as
in the 1890s they still remained only on the fringes of fashions of the day.
Swimwear fashion changes moved very slowly. Differences in swimsuit styles were simple
such as the introduction of short cap sleeves. Eventually sleeveless styles
with more ankle showing beneath the bloomers became usual.
were very similar to Victorian styles. They were still made of wool and now
consisted of bloomers and a wool over dress.
The dress was now a sleeveless version
and the outfit was worn with black stockings and laced footwear.
Pictures of Edwardian swimwear.
Gradually by 1920 necklines were lowered and the overdress
shortened even more.
If you are seeking fully made up garments at reasonable cost and suitable for
re-enactment in Victorian and Edwardian style then try those by
Marianne at Recollections. I am a long time fan of Marianne and her period
clothing website Recollections. Recently Marianne introduced several retro
ladies swimming costumes to her extensive range of over 500 costumes. You can
see for yourself in the photographs below how good these look.
The retro Victorian Edwardian swimming costumes above are by Marianne at
For 1950s retro swimwear you may find something suitable at the
Swimwear Boutique .
Go to Swimwear in the 20th
If you prefer to make your own costumes then
have a range of swimming and bathing suit costume patterns suitable for
re-enactment. The swimwear related pattern dates they currently offer are from 1868 to 1898.
They also offer some 1920s and 1930s beach pyjamas.
If you love sports quizzes
try my husband Guy's new website at
Buy my latest ebook and learn how to recognise changes
between Paniers, crinolines, bustles, bras and corsets and the affect this
has on the outer silhouette of female costume
My How to Recognise Undergarments in Fashion History e-book has 12 chapters about the changes in under foundations in costume history found in
various articles on this website.
It also has a new chapter on the history of drawers and knickers and
one covering the chemise and petticoats. This
you to read, print and copy from various web pages of fashion-era.com all in one go.
The Undergarments ebook includes information from my
articles on early corsetry, C18th Paniers and the sack dress, stays to corsets,
crinoline styles from 1830s to 1860s, bustle styles of 1870s & 1883/5,
Edwardian corsetry, bras and girdles
before and after 1950, and a new chapter on drawers, pantaloons, knickers to
panties. A look at Rational Dress Reform, the contribution of Mrs. Bloomer and Dr. Jaeger
to the resultant
cycling and swimming dress.
more information on the contents of Undergarments click here.
A Printer Friendly Version
allows the ebook to be printed
as single chapters or as a whole book without clipped text at the sides and can also be copied into Word
for ease of use when writing handouts.
Don't know what an
ebook is? Click here
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For more information about the Victorian Era
1837-1901 click on the title links below:-
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