Swimwear – Modern and Still Evolving

Every year Sports Illustrated publishes a swimsuit issue that shows off the latest swimwear worn by beautiful models. This issue consistently sells more than any other. Readers worldwide flock to look at pages filled with beautiful models in the hottest swim fashions. The fleshy beach scenes capture the American imagination and is part of our beach culture, surf culture, fashion, and athletics.In Victorian times swimwear for women and men covered much more of the body. In the early 20th century an Austrian synchronized swimmer visited the United States in competition and was arrested for indecent exposure. After this high-profile event suit sizes began to shrink. The arms were exposed and then the legs came up to mid-thigh. In addition, new fabrics allowed for more comfortable and practical styles.Today’s swimming suits are as much about fashion as they are about performance. Both men and women spend hours in the gym and thousands of dollars under the knife in order to look their best on the beach. Swim suits and coverups allow one to be seen on the scene and to strut their stuff. The bikini is perhaps the most revealing of all swimsuits. A women’s bikini consists of two pieces: one covering the chest and one covering the bottom. In Europe women’s bikinis can consist of just the bottom piece. Overseas exposing a woman’s top is considered far less taboo.Bikinis are made for men too. This small piece is sometimes affectionately referred to as a Speedo because it resembles the minimalist athletic bathing suit for swimmers that Speedo has marketed to athletes. Again, overseas it is much more common to see less fabric and more body at the beach on men.Businesses also market more modest lines . For women one-piece unitards are form fitting and practical. Men can wear knee length trunks. Floral patterns are known as jams and were extremely popular in the 1980s.Athletic companies such as Nike and Speedo make high-tech specialized swimwear for athletes. In 2008 Speedo introduced a full body swimsuit designed to reduce the body’s drag in the water. Not long after world records started falling like never before. The 2008 Olympic Committee even evaluated whether at the swimsuit gave an unfair advantage and should be banned from the events. Athletes said that the swimsuit did not necessarily give them a physical advantage; however, it allowed them to feel more confident before they jumped into the pool.Parents and coaches of young children had fears about the new performance fabrics. The suits cost hundreds of dollars and adults worried that these would become must-have items for juniors swimming competitively across the world. Swimming has typically been an inexpensive entry-level sport for kids. By placing swimwear front and center at competitive meets adults feared some athletes would be left out. In addition, parents already feel the financial squeeze of so many must-have items for their kids. The debate is ongoing.

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