Grand Bend, A Visual History of the Bathing Suit
We track the history of the bathing suit over the last hundred years with a selection of our favourite Grand Bend photos.
At the turn-of-the-century, women wore long tops, skirts, bloomers, black stockings and even shoes to the beach at Grand Bend.
A decade later sleeveless tank suits make of wool jersey started to appear, revealing a bit more of the female form. Men also wore the one or two-piece tank suits.
By the 1930’s, bathing suits started to resemble modern-day swimwear. Breathable cotton replaced wool jersey as the fabric du jour, and feminine, figure-flattering garments with higher-cut legs and lower-cut necklines emerged.
In the 1940’s, corset manufacturers, whose popularity had been declining, made a comeback by designing swimsuits with elastic panels designed to hold in women’s stomachs and with bra cups and boning for support. The style persisted well into the 1950’s despite the advent of the first bikini in 1946.
Early examples of the bikini — typically tight shorts and a crop top — were based loosely on two-piece under garments women had worn at the turn-of-the-century. During the 1960’s, bikinis began to shrink as minds expanded, yet the bottoms remained cut straight across the top of the leg.
Bikini bottoms finally became higher-cut in the 1970’s, and what we know today as the modern bikini began to take shape. Women also began to show off unprecedented expanses of midriff during this time.
Since then, the bathing suit has changed in size and structure. It’s “anything goes” with bathing suit styles now running the gamut from retro throwbacks to daring cutaway maillots to barely there G-string bikinis. One thing we know for sure, the bathing suit still has pride of place in Grand Bend.
If you’re visiting Grand Bend this summer, you may want to drop in on the following retailers who have a great selection of bathing suits and other beach ware to sell.