Saturday, 28 November 2015

Modern Bathing Dresses

From the Derbyshire Courier, 27th November 1915.


Almost the last word in silly extravagance—in war time—is the introduction of silk taffetas for bathing dresses.  It may be very well for “beach bathers”—that's the name America gives to the promenaders who get themselves up in elaborately-trimmed silk and satin bathing suits that never touch salt water.  I regret to see some effort at introducing the vogue at some of our seaside resorts.  It seems to me to be an excuse for women to show themselves off in the fewest possible garments.  I remember seeing one such some couple of years ago.  She emerged from the bathing tent attired or undressed in a pale blue silk frilled shirt and short pantaloons well over the knee, the hair was elaborately coiffed with a ribbon to match the garment threaded through, and silk shoes of the same colour.  She made something of a sensation when she appeared, which I presume was the object aimed at, and we were all dying to see how she'd emerge from an encounter with salt water.  But she never even wetted the tips of her dainty shoes.  She simply strutted up and down until the ribald remarks of the crowd drove her into the shelter of her “bathing tent” again.

This was my first experience of the particular type of “bather” that is very general in other countries.  It is a custom or fashion which I hope we will honour in the breach rather than the observance.  But those taffetas “bathing suits” brought the fear back with some misgivings.

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