Bathing Suit Exhibit

Bathing BeautiesThis summer the Federal Point History Center, located next to Town Hall at 1121-A North Lake Park Boulevard, will host an exhibit called Vintage Bathing Suits: 1900-1990 which includes 23 suits from the time period.

The exhibit will be open on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm during June, July and August.

In for FunThe oldest suits are from the 1900-1920s and look more like dresses than bathing suits.  All three are fine worsted wool and were worn with stockings and bathing shoes.

Five suits are one piece tank suits of wool knit worn during the 1920s-30s.  One of those has the initials of the bath house that rented it stamped across the front much like those from our pavilion and bath houses at Carolina Beach.  And, one is a child’s suit in bright red that someone added elastic to the straps for another season of wear.

Two ladies’ suits are Jantzens with their distinctive swim girl logo, one of those has a zipper down the back.  Two men’s suits are bathing briefs made of wool knit from the 1930s-40s both with belts.  One has the Jantzen swim girl on the buckle and the other has a “Surfing Waikiki” patch.

There is an emerald-green ladies’ suit in silk taffeta with a flared skirt over cotton bloomers.  Bare Essentials - yellow 2 pieceThere is a yellow woven rayon two piece with a bra like top and trunks from the waist and a green woven cotton two piece with a halter top.

Wool, cotton and rayon gave way to synthetic fabrics from the 1950s on.  Several more one piece ladies’ suits are made from polyester blends most with a modesty panel to cover the crotch and some with zippers and boning.  There is a man’s cotton boxer suit and a ladies’ suit with a matching detachable skirt made from synthetic stretchy fabric.

The most modern suit is a 1980s-90s one made from linen and features embroidery and is fully lined.

We invite locals and beach visitors alike to visit our exhibit this summer at the History Center.  Call us at 910-458-0502 or email at and please visit our Facebook page at Federal Point History Center and like us.