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Before the Itsy-Bitsy Bikini

Before the Itsy-Bitsy Bikini
June 2017

Take a dip into swimwear history via six retro suits

The one-piece craze inspired us to explore bathing suit fashions from the days when “full coverage” meant something far less cool and comfy. “Though bathing was considered a healthful activity in the 19th and early 20th centuries, swimmers were constricted by cumbersome costumes and privacy regulations,” notes Charleston Museum historic textiles curator Jan Hiester. Here, she shares pieces from the institution’s collection


Photographs courtesy of (8) The Charleston Museum & (1950s Folly Beach) reprinted from Images of America: Folly Beach by Stratton Lawrence (Arcadia Publishing, 2013)/courtesy of Betty Schultz