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!