From 1700 to today: Swimwear through the ages

From 1700 to today: Swimwear through the ages

Most of us wouldn’t give bikinis a second thought. But there was a time when the idea of even showing off your arms — let alone your midriff — was scandalous.

So what did swimwear look like when it was considered indecent to show any skin at all? And how has it made the evolution from all-covering gown to the ‘itsy bitsy teeny weenie yellow polka dot bikinis’ that we see today?

Cotton Traders have traced the humble bathing suit back to its origins and shown how — through every frown, shock and scandal — we’ve arrived at the variety of liberating styles we enjoy in the 21st century.

Swimwear Through the Ages
Swimwear Through the Ages
Swimwear Through the Ages

The future of swimwear


While looking at the past is fascinating, it can also teach us an important lesson about how we should look toward the future.

The history of swimwear shows us how our style choices reflect contemporary ideas about body types. Every milestone represents a turning point in the way we think about what women should wear and has helped us reach where we are today.

We hope that we can play a part in the next stage of this evolution — one that embraces women of all ages and body types.

If you’re looking for a little holiday inspiration take a look at Cotton Traders’ Swimwear style guide and discover stunning designs and styles to flatter every figure.


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Here at Cotton Traders, we like to do things a little differently. Our reputation has been built on outstanding quality, a sense of community and keeping our customers interests at heart. The Thread is just that – a space for sharing things we know our customers enjoy, whether it’s travel, eating, staying active and healthy or enjoying sneak-peeks behind the scenes at Cotton Traders.