15 Photos of Victorians Hitting the Beach!

When I was little and we would go swimming, I would tease my mom about her very modest bathing suits: “I think your bathing suit has a hole in the sleeve!”  or “Did this bathing suit come with a matching hat and glove set?”

As an adult, I now totally understand the appeal of modest bathing suits and would be happy to find one that features an ankle-length skirt or comes with a lightweight overcoat.

But even as someone who has grown to appreciate ultra-modest bathing suits, some of these outfits look a bit uncomfortable. The Victorians were so tough, though, wearing wool stockings on a beach in August probably wouldn’t even faze them.

Besides the clothing choices, some of these pictures are really fun.  The first picture is my favorite, for so many reasons, but all of them are pretty great.



The boatman somewhat rattled 1899


four young women wearing bathing suits sitting on sand mound at the beach. 1906. I bet the women in the background disapprove of the girls. “You can see their elbows! Shameless!”  


Bathing dress 1900


Bathing dresses and hats 1900


On the Beach, Atlantic City, N.J. 1906


Belmar 1900

Elizabeth, N.J. – Alfred S. Campbell, Publisher, c1896 Nov. 27.

Bulldog on the beach 1900


Bathing dresses… with socks


Bathing dresses on the seashore


Bathing, West Palm Beach, Fla. 1900-1915

Palm Beach, Fla. 1905


Picnicking on the beach 1903


This doesn’t fit, but it’s a fun picture! 

4 thoughts on “15 Photos of Victorians Hitting the Beach!

  1. Oh GOSH! I get the the benefits of modest bathing suits, but not even being able to have your legs and feet out, no thank you! As one who has many (and I mean MANY) stories of going topless on European beaches, I do not like the fact that this would have been so very uncomfortable indeed. Not that women’s clothing was in general comfortable but this time period is when things really start to change ca. 1910. I’m sure bathing suits got smaller once clothes did too in the 1920s. I couldn’t wear wool anything let alone tights as part of a bathing suit in August.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. That is your true, Southern Charm coming thru! Whereas I grew up amongst of free hippies, you were sippy on some sweet tea and fanning yourself? (That’s a guess of course.) 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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