Every day the sun is getting warmer and more and more of us are heading outside for some much needed pool time. With summertime right around the corner, are you ready for it? Whether you’ve already pulled out your favorite bathing suit or still haven’t had the chance, there is always room for a few new ones and here at BodyAware, we have just what you need.
Now you may be thinking to yourself, I have worked so hard to get my body ready for summer, I don’t want to hide all that hard work in a loose fitting, modest board short. But did you know, the first men’s bathing suits were much more modest than a board short. Interested in a brief history of men’s bathing suits? Good.
Beginning in the late 1800s, men’s swimwear was nothing more than what we would consider an oversized shirt and knickers. Men wore one piece suits in which the bottoms extended below their knees and the sleeves covered past their elbows. These original suits were only available in dark colors with minimal adornment; not to mention, they were made from thick wool and could weigh up to 9 lbs. when wet. Compare that to what you have in your drawer!
It took another 20 years for men’s bathing suits to evolve. In the 1910s, small steps were made towards more fashionable stripes and a wider range of color. In addition, the suits themselves were covering less skin. The bottoms eventually made their way to mid-thigh range, but the tops still remained relatively modest, only exposing a little elbow.
The roaring 20’s brought dramatic changes to both lifestyle and culture that was reflected in men’s swimwear. Rudolph Valentino, a well-known silent film actor, was often seen in a woolen bottom and shirtless, emphasizing his muscular physique. In an effort to emulate Rudolph, swimsuit bottoms became more form fitting and shirts evolved into tank tops and eventually,non-existence. Although most men were more comfortable with small swim trunks, it took another 30 years until going shirtless became widely accepted.
Australian based company, Speedo, hit the jackpot in 1955 when they introduced the first competitive swimsuit for men, made from nylon. This string-tied, bikini style bathing suit was the first of its kind and the basic original design is still being used for competitive swimming today. In the 60s and 70s, the sexual revolution, which challenged traditional codes of behavior related to sexuality and interpersonal relationships, had a profound influence on men’s swimwear.. The “speedo” style bikini was no longer just for competitive swimming; it was what men wore on the beach and came in several varieties of colors and patterns to match every man’s personality.
Sadly, in the 1990’s, fashion took two steps backwards and more modest fashions became stylish again. Board shorts, extending down to the knee and hardly form fitting, were ‘in.’ But what is one thing fashion history teaches us? Everything goes in full circle and becomes the ‘in’ style again. Case in point: in the 2006 James Bond movie, Casino Royale, actor Daniel Craig was showcased in a less than modest swimsuit similar to that of the 60s and 70s. The form-fitting swim trunk has found popularity again.
BodyAware has the perfect retro style swimsuit available right now… the vintage beach short (code q002), with an ingenious design in a seamless short. Its lightweight construction guarantees a great fit and superb wear. This short is great to wear at the pool, beach, or anywhere you want to catch some rays or get wet.
Want to see more? Check out our video of BodyAware visits ASU. Several of our most popular swimsuit styles can be seen walking around ASU and talking to students about underwear.