Swimwear now has come a long way. What people are wearing now would have been scandalous back in the 1900s, or even in the mid-twentieth century. Just so you understand how fortunate we are these days for all the swimwear options that we have, here’s a history lesson on swimsuits:
Did you know that during the classical Roman era, swimming was essentially done in the nude? Sometimes the swimmer would just strip down to their underwear. This was seen evidenced in Roman murals showing nude swimmers or women playing sports wearing two-piece suits covering their breasts and hips. In 19th century England, nude bathing was banned and the bathing gown was invented. These bathing gowns were long dresses that did not become transparent when wet. In essence, people back then went to great lengths to cover themselves. Victorians deplored bare skin so much that beach resorts developed “bathing machines” to avoid the exposure of people in swimsuits. This is such a far cry from today, where girls of every age and body type can sport two-piece suits with little coverage.
Things started to shake up 1907. An Australian swimmer, Annette Kellerman was arrested for “indecent exposure” because her suit showed off her arms, legs, and neck. Annette was actually wearing the style of men’s swimsuits at that time—a one piece-suit with a close fit that revealed the wearer’s body shape. In the 1900s, women were expected to wear dress and pantaloon combinations for swimming. Since this type of swimwear wasn’t practical for an athletic swimmer like Kellermann, she advocated for women to be able to wear a one-piece suit in public. To adhere to the era’s standards, she adapted the original men’s close fit design, but added longer arms and legs as well as a collar. Soon her one-piece swimsuits became so popular she started her own swimwear line, and her suits became the accepted swimsuit attire for women. This was actually how the first step to modern swimwear was made.
A few decades later in the 1930s, necklines plunged, sleeves were removed, and sides were tightened. The one-piece swimsuit has now become the norm. Soon bikinis started appearing after World War II. For the first few decades of its invention and design, it was met with a lot of social and moral resistance. Still, its appearance in the movies and in television, made it super popular. By the end of the century, the bikini became the most popular choice of beachwear all over the world.
Nowadays, without any censorship from society, we are lucky to have a lot of swimsuit options out there. For sure, this has left you with an overwhelming amount of questions. Do I really have to wear a bikini? What if I don’t want to expose my skin to the sun? Does wearing a one-piece make me look body-conscious? Are there one-piece options out there that make me look chic, and not like a competitive swimmer? Luckily, we’ve got answers.
First of all, no. You don’t need to wear a bikini to look cute, sexy or chic on the beach. For a while, bikinis have become some sort of power symbol among women—signalling confidence and appeal wherein one-piece looks are looked down on as something frumpy or matronly. Next, there are options out there for sun-averse ladies and these are chic one-piece suits with long sleeves—no need to go for that utilitarian-looking rash guard. With the resurgence of the one-piece, you definitely have tons of options to add to your increasing collection of cute suits. Lastly, gone are the days when one-piece swimsuits are equated to looking overly body-conscious. Swimsuit brands have been listening to your pleas over the years, and they have been finally coming up with sexy and stylish one-piece looks that you can rock confidently on the beach. Sometimes, two isn’t always better than one. There are loads of stylish, and flattering looks out there for every kind of girl with any kind of body shape.
Whether you’re a bikini-loving gal looking for something new or if you’re someone not looking to show too much skin, the one-piece bathing suit is exactly that summer style you’re looking for. Yes, you don’t need a two-piece suit to look steamy on the beach. After seeing all the trendy cutouts, graphic prints, and strappy details, you’ll wonder why people even thought of one-piece bathing suits as dowdy. Plunging necklines and open backs can actually rival any bikini out there. Besides, some one-pieces actually show as much skin as a bikini—perfect for hubaderas looking to change up their beachwear game. Whether you’re more retro or sexy, the one-piece resurgence has something for everyone.
Before you start shopping for the perfect suit for you, here are our tips to finding the right one:
1. Comfort is key
Unless you plan to just lounge under the shade of a palm tree all day long, always look for suits that will help you avoid wardrobe malfunction on and off the water—all without looking too Olympic of course!
2. For bustier gals, find a suit that hugs you in all the right places while providing your chest ample support.
Not all suits cling to the body well since your chest will give the fabric that extra lift—making your body look somewhat frumpy. What you need to look for is a bustier-type suit or a suit with high-quality Lycra. Good fabrics will always cling to your skin and to your figure properly.
3. For plus-sized girls, look for suits with convertible and adjustable straps that allow you to customize the fit to your body.
A swimsuit with an underwire is also a nice addition and a little bit of ruched fabric is helpful for anyone who is a bit conscious about their belly. Belted swimsuits also create the look of a smaller waist.
4. For girls with little to no curves, create the illusion of having more curves with a suit that has an interesting cut on the sides or with a cheeky bottom.
Embellishments and quirky prints will look well on your body type, and it will help to achieve a fuller look.
These are just some of our go-to tips to help ease your search. Now, you’re ready to go shopping!
#TeamKramer grommet one-piece swimsuit, P2280, I LOVE KOI, zalora.com.ph
Zahara suit, P1799, PURPLE SHORE, zalora.com.ph
Belted moulded plunge swimsuit, P4099, RIVER ISLAND, zalora.com.ph
Push-Up balconette swimsuit P4349, RIVER ISLAND, zalora.com.ph
Swimsuit, P3299, VERO MODA, zalora.com.ph
Off-shoulder swimsuit, P780, EIKA, eika.ph
Swimsuit with bow, P780, EIKA, eika.ph
Lace-up long sleeve swimsuit, P900, EIKA, eika.ph
Alina swimsuit, P2700, FLOAT SWIMWEAR, floatswimwear.com
Amara maillot, P2250, AFTER DAWN, swimafterdawn.com
Amaya swimsuit, P2800, FLOAT SWIMWEAR, floatswimwear.com
Antibes flower cutout scalloped gingham halterneck swimsuit, around P28,730, MARYSIA, net-a-porter.com
Bella swimsuit, P2800, PEPPER SWIM, pepperswim.com
Cindy swimsuit, P2900, PEPPER SWIM, pepperswim.com
Clara swimsuit, P2700, FLOAT SWIMWEAR, floatswimwear.com
Copacabana maillot, P2580, CESA, cesaph.com
Cozi one-piece, aoround P7826, BAMBA, bambaswim.com
Dana swimsuit, P2000, BEYOND THE BEACH, beyondthebeachph.com
Black and white block swimsuit, P2195, DOROTHY PERKINS, zalora.com.ph
Square-neck swimsuit, P1620, FOREVER 21, SM Megamall
Fiona maillot, P2480, CESA, cesaph.com
Ghost orchid one-piece swimsuit, P2195, NEON ISLAND, neonislandclothing.com
Metallic swimsuit, P1490, H&M, SM Makati
Plunging swimsuit, P1490, H&M, SM Makati
Isla maillot in barbados, P3890, AGUA BRAZILIAN SWIMWEAR, aguabrazilianswimwear.ph
Jade vine swimsuit, P1995, NEON ISLAND, neonislandclothing.com
Flower-embellished swimsuit, approximately P23,898, JOHANNA ORTIZ, modaoperandi.com
Helene cutout color-block swimsuit, approximately P19,066, KARLA COLLETTO, net-a-porter.com
Katarina swimsuit, P2700, FLOAT SWIMWEAR, floatswimwear.com
One-piece with skirt, P950, KATS CLOTHING, zalora.com.ph
Lily swimsuit, P2199, SALT SWIM, saltwim.com.ph
Lisa Marie Fernandez Arden one-shoulder swimsuit, approximately P22,319, LISA MARIE FERNANDEZ, modaoperandi.com
Madison one-piece, P900, BEYOND THE BEACH, beyondthebeachph.com
Three-way maillot, P1980, CESA, cesaph.com
Ocean drive one-piece suit, P2195, NEON ISLAND, neonislandclothing.com
Ruffle swimsuit, P750, BENCH, SM Megamall
One-shoulder embroidered swimsuit, P3249, PINK N' PROPER, zalora.com.ph
Plunging high-cut swimsuit, P1620, FOREVER 21, SM Megamall
One-piece swimsuit, P1999, POMELO, zalora.com.ph
Two-tone swimsuit, P1499, POMELO, zalora.com.ph
Kaye swimsuit, P2200, PURPLE SHORE, zalora.com.ph
Plus-size one-shoulder suit, P989, SHAPES AND CURVES, zalora.com.ph
Crisscross swimsuit, P1495, FOREVER 21, SM Megamall
Snake-print swimsuit, P1795, TOPSHOP, SM Megamall
The Nina belted polka-dot swimsuit, approximately P8297, SOLID & STRIPED, net-a-porter.com
Veronica denim swimsuit, approximately P11,028, SOLID & STRIPED, modaoperandi.com
Zebra swimsuit, P2795, TOPSHOP, SM Megamall
Split-middle neoprene swimsuit, P2095, TOPSHOP, SM Megamall
Laced-back swimsuit, P1490, H&M, SM Makati
Carina belted swimsuit, P2450, YUMINUM BIKINI, zalora.com.ph