Thursday, October 7, 2010


Makes Splash Without Water
Sunbathing in the 1890s

Women's beachwear has come a long way, baby.  Needless to say, Katherine Weedman-Cox of Cox Black and White Lab, Inc. (see exhibitor profile) would probably not wear any of the bathing suits of today at Family History Day at the California State Archives.

Katherine, pictured left, will be wearing this 1890s era swimsuit with black tights and black shoes at Family History Day. The costume was handmade by Arlene Wright at Capital Costumes. Katherine says it's very comfortable.

Be sure to stop by the Cox Black and White Lab, Inc. exhibit and ask Katherine to describe her beach attire.

The Blogger couldn't wait and searched Google Books for 19th Century bathing suits.  Among the several results -- an 1899 periodical, The Puritan (see endnote), with a story titled "The Well-Dressed Woman", sub-part "The Bathing Suit".  Fascinating social history!  The unidentified author provided commentary about modesty and guidelines for fabric choice (mohair, alpaca, flannel); blouse, skirt and sleeve style; and considerations for wearing the bathing "constume" while "dabbling in the edge of the surf or for long-distance swims".  An aside -- while still on the digitized book screen, enter 730 in the page number box, press Enter and look for a family history ad!

Source: The Puritan, Volume VI. June to September 1899. New York Frank A. Munsey, Publisher. 111 Fifth Avenue. 1899. Digitized by Google Books, Original from University of Michigan. Article: The Well-Dressed Woman – The Bathing Suit”, page 289-297.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness, this is wonderful. What a great idea!!! I can hardly wait to see all the costumes. This is going to be a wonderful day.


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