8 Vintage Swimsuits From the 19th Century That Make us Glad to Live in the 21st Century

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Bathing suit season comes with a whole host of problems. Think of the funky tanlines you got from your monokini with all those inventive cutouts. Raise your hand if your swimsuit halter top from target has ever gone renegade in the ocean. You know-- suddenly high tide comes along and is like – “Surprise, you’re naked!”-- while all you can do is shake your head and ask for a buddy to double knot you next time. Still, it’s important to retain a bit of perspective, because beachwear has a long tradition of being totally awkward and hampering.

Think for example of Victorian bathing suits. The only tanlines you were getting happened on your wrist. Instead of bikinis, they had bloomers and long-sleeved tunics. On the bright side, getting sunburnt or losing your top was never an issue. But if you were to even ponder the option of a swim, you and your fashionable wool bathing ensemble would be in waterlog city.

Sure, if these Victorian ladies got a load of what we wear to the beach, the reaction would be nothing short of a tsunami of pearl-clutching. But for all the charm of these ultra nostalgic swimsuits, contemporary styles win hands-down in the swimwear department. It's just a quality of life thing. After all, partial nudity and free range of movement beats modesty and fashion-induced heat stroke any day. Check out some of the following 19th Century bathing suits, and you’ll be glad to have been born in the late 20th.

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