Swimwear Police In The Early 1900's
In 1929, the fashion police really did exist, patrolling the beaches to ensure that bathing suits were not immodest. The woman in this image is being led away because her bathing suit was a little too short.
In Margate, in the U.K., people used a “bathing machine” in 1776. This “machine” was a booth carried by horses into the water to allow them to wade in the water from behind a canvas while maintaining their privacy. Swimming became less restrictive in the 1800s, however, they were still expected to dress modestly, and their beach wear was quite cumbersome. Women’s swimsuits had high necks, long sleeves, skirts, and pants and were often made of wool. Sometimes lead was sewn in to keep them from floating upwards. With the weight of their attire, women weren’t really swimming per se, but instead jumping in the waves while tethered to a rope. In 1915, they started to swim, which necessitated a reduction in fabric.