The history of swimwear fashion

By Parker Schorr

The history of swimwear fashion mirrors in many ways the history of fashion itself. The Smithsonian notes that the first depiction of swimwear for women appeared in writing in 1687. In that time, women wore stiff, layered dresses. Later, in 1829, the first painting of women in swimwear appears. “Mermaids at Brighton” by William Heath shows women in large, complex bathing gowns that are as unwieldy as they are unfitting.

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