A Fashion Classic: The Sleek & Timeless Black Bathing Suit

Timeless In Basic Black:  The Black Swimsuit
Timeless In Basic Black: The Black Swimsuit

The simple and classic black bathing suit presents a timeless sleek silhouette that is both slenderizing in form and sleek in style. Perhaps akin to another constant, the “Little Black Dress”, the black swimsuit provides a constant in terms of flattering and classic appeal. For certain, Summer itself beckons us to flock to the beaches and poolside surrounds to soak in the joys of refreshment from the Summer heat. Thus, the delight of Summer paired with a visual appreciation of the classic black swimsuit. Although there are many forms and styles, I urge the consideration to all those beckoned to the water’s edge to at least consider the mere simplicity and classic form of the one piece suit of black. Timeless.

The Classic Black Swimsuit
The Classic Black Swimsuit

Of course, with an appreciation of history, a brief look back at American swimwear over the decades…
Long before the bikini, the bathing suit would begin to evolve and transform its original layers of coverage to the sleek suits of modern day. As with any garment of style, the swimsuit would continually transform to meet the changing trends of the world of fashion in decades that would follow. A continuing evolution of style, indeed.

History links the appeal of oceanside and seaside beach recreation during the 1800’s for the rise of the swimsuit. A new outdoor pastime of frolicking in and alongside the water’s edge provided a need for a fashionable garment with a new purpose and function: The bathing suit. Given the fact that the first swimsuits consisted of bloomers and black stockings that concealed the woman’s figure, a gradual evolution of changes would certainly begin over time to bring forth the suits of stylish minimalism.

By the end of the 19th century, swimming had become an inter-collegiate and Olympic sport that resulted in a new defining era for the swimsuit. A rise in interest in recreational sports paired with the international influence of “daringly cut French swimsuits” are credited with providing a longstanding impact on the world of women’s swimwear. Alas, the French have always inspired American fashion! A new “daring” era in swimwear for women had begun. In fact, in 1910 the legendary swimwear company, Jantzen, introduced new swimsuits that featured the “Rib stitch” consisting of a rubber-like material that retained its shape when wet or dry, minimizing water soaking into the fabric. Revolutionary, indeed! The evolution of the sport suit had begun and the one piece suit would become the accepted swimsuit for women. A standard, perhaps.

Vintage Appeal:  The Timeless Black Swimsuit In Fashion's past
Vintage Appeal: The Timeless Black Swimsuit In Fashion’s past
Vintage Fashion & Iconic Images:  The Black Swimsuit
Vintage Fashion & Iconic Images: The Black Swimsuit
Iconic Images Of Fashion's Enduring Black Swimsuit
Iconic Images Of Fashion’s Enduring Black Swimsuit

The 1930’s provided swimwear with a “new look” for the body that was functional, sleek and streamlined in design, improving the appearance of the female figure with form and function. The evolution of the suit would continue and in 1934 the swim suit hugged the body and was constructed to allow should straps to be lowered for “tanning”. Imagine the changes time would bring! By mid-decade, “Molded-Fit” swimsuits that uplifted and formed to the body were introduced, featuring what is referred to as the “Nude Look”. Time had certainly changed the fashionable swimsuit. Swim ahead to the 1960’s, which was the decade that truly showcased the body, and another revolution in swimwear had begun: the introduction of Spandex fiber which made it ideal for keeping the shape and molding of the body. Of note is the longstanding impact of the 1964 swimsuit by Cole of California, the “Scandal Suit”, consisting of a black leotard with large portions of side, front or midsection fabric removed and replaced by a wide-mesh elastic net. The “Peek-a-Boo” fever would popularize the decade and variations of fishnet infused swimsuits would ensue within the world of fashion.

"Vintage" Cole:  The "Scandal"  Black Swim Suit
“Vintage” Cole: The “Scandal” 1964 Black Swim Suit

Alas, past the 1960’s, many revisions, variations and designs paired with the influence of fashion’s trends that would follow throughout the decades and future decades to come. For certain, today’s swimsuits hug the body, providing not only a molded fit but a fashionable statement of bold style. And of the bikini which took America by storm? Perhaps the topic itself deserves its own focus. A “Scandal” in and of itself, perhaps. Variations of styling paired with less and less fabric, indeed. Fashion changes.

Sleek & Slenderizing:  The Enduring Appeal of The Black Swimsuit
Sleek & Slenderizing: The Enduring Appeal of The Black Swimsuit
Variations Of Style:  The Enduring Appeal Of The Basic Black Swimsuit
Variations Of Style: The Enduring Appeal Of The Basic Black Swimsuit
Versatile In Basic Black:  The Classic Swimsuit
Versatile In Basic Black: The Classic Swimsuit
Fashion's Images Of  An Enduring Basic:  The Black Swimsuit
Fashion’s Images Of An Enduring Basic: The Black Swimsuit
Variations of Style:  The Flattering Black Swimsuit
Variations of Style: The Flattering Black Swimsuit
Fashion's Changing Interpretations Of Timeless Appeal:  The Black Swimsuit
Fashion’s Changing Interpretations Of Timeless Appeal: The Black Swimsuit
Christy Turlington & Linda Evangelista:  An Iconic Duo In The Timeless  Black Swimsuit
Christy Turlington & Linda Evangelista: An Iconic Duo In The Timeless Black Swimsuit
Waist Defining & Flattering:  The Classic Black Swimsuit
Waist Defining & Flattering: The Classic Black Swimsuit
Variations Of Great Style:  The Basic Black Swimsuit
Variations Of Great Style: The Basic Black Swimsuit
Chanel Boutique/Michigan Avenue Chicago 2012
Chanel Boutique/Michigan Avenue Chicago 2012

At the forefront of modern, contemporary fashion, the classic black swimsuit is a constant. Although the suit itself has endured revisions that are constantly in a state of change to fashion’s and styles of passing eras, the timeless and classic swim suit prevails to endure by the shore or pool. Whether a waist defining one-piece swimsuit that offers coverage or a suited appeal with cut-outs of trending style, whether a bikini with string straps, a strapless bandeau or halter top or low scooped designs with slim straps, the options of the stylish swimsuit certainly offers variations of silhouettes and shapes. And in black? A versatile, flattering staple that every woman should have in her wardrobe. Whether seaside, oceanside or poolside, consider the black swimsuit. Investing in a swimsuit of basic black delight will endure to thrive as a garment that is stylishly ready and will present a striking, flattering and sleek silhouette at water’s edge. Although trends come and go, the classic black swimsuit is always in style. A fashion classic that is sleek and timeless, indeed…

Kristin

Myself, Circa 1990: A Black Swimsuit
Myself, Circa 1990, In My Perennial Favorite: A Black Swimsuit
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4 thoughts on “A Fashion Classic: The Sleek & Timeless Black Bathing Suit

  1. Wow, what a convincing case for never wearing anything BUT a black ‘swimming costume’ or cossie…terms I’ve learned living in London. Stylish terminology for a seaside essential, I think. For years my younger sister thought the word was “baiding suit” (rhymes with raiding). She just couldn’t understand why something you wore in the pool would be called a “bathing suit.” To this day, when I’m with her, we call it a “baiding suit.” Unique fashion language all our own.

    1. Thank you for sharing, Anmarie! I love the fact that you have perceived this post as a “convincing case” for the black swimsuit. Indeed, it is certainly a iconic basic that should be considered as every woman’s Summer “seaside essential”! Perhaps it is a “Swimming costume”. One of fashionable appeal, for certain. And…perhaps we all have a unique fashion language to express our own personal “take” on the world of fashion that surrounds us!
      Kristin

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