IntroductionPrevious 5
M969.1.11.1-4 M971.105.6.1-3 M968.2.1.1-3 M19789.1 M7417 M991X.1.1.1-2 M18005.1-3 M979.7.1-5 Conclusion
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Two-piece bathing suit
1910-1920, 20th century
10 x 87 cm
Gift from Eaton's of Canada
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Bathing suit (5)
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Author's text

anonymousPublished by anonymous on 01/05/2002 01:47:15
Même si ce maillot de bain a été confectionné quelques années plus tard, cet exemple montre bien qu'il n'y avait pas beaucoup de parties du corps de dévoilées à cette époque. Probablement inconfortable et encombrant, ce n'était peut-être pas l'idéal pour aller à la plage!

À cette même époque, les pantalons pour femmes faisaient leur apparition.

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Keys to History

Towards the end of the 19th century, swimming was becoming a more and more popular pastime in Quebec, particularly enjoyed by the middle class.

During this time, women's bathing suits were like long dresses and were difficult to swim in since they were often worn over a corset until the 1890s. A practical, comfortable women's bathing suit, which only became available at the beginning of the 20th century, would be adopted by woman who wanted to do more than dip their toes in the water and really wanted to swim. However, this type of bathing suit, more acceptable but still not very convenient and following the outlines of outer garments, remained common.

Of course, not all women swimmers could afford the latest fashion in bathing suits. It would take until the 1910s and 1920s before this wardrobe item was mass-produced and so became really affordable.

  • What

    Chemical dyes for textiles were perfected during the last quarter of the 19th century. These innovations facilitated the production of coloured fabrics.

  • Where

    Starting in the 19th century, some people had the privilege of holidaying at the riverside resorts of Quebec, particularly in the Lower St. Lawrence region. Renowned for its therapeutic benefits, sea bathing was very popular.

  • When

    Wool serge and flannel are two fabrics used to make bathing suits at the beginning of the 20th century. However, wool would be used almost exclusively until the 1930s.

  • Who

    The well-to-do took advantage of the riverside resorts, while the workers had to make do with the rivers, streams and lakes.