Elaine Henson on Vintage Bathing Suits – May Program

postcard of suitsVintage Bathing Suit Exhibit

This summer the Federal Point History Center, located next to Town Hall at 1121 North Lake Park Boulevard, will host an exhibit called Vintage Bathing Suits: 1900-1970 which includes 22 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.  There will be an opening reception for the exhibit on Sunday, June 12, 2016, 2-4 pm at the History Center.


Monday, May 16, 2016swimsuits  7:30 p.m. (past events)

The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, May 16, 7:30 p.m. at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to Carolina Beach Town Hall.

Our speaker this month will be our president, Elaine Henson, who will present The Bathing Suit in Vintage Advertising which looks at the evolution of bathing attire from early 1900s to the 70s.

Early suits were made of cotton or wool and looked more like dresses than the suits we see today.  The “dresses” had undergarments including bloomers below the knees and were worn with wool stockings, slippers and matching head-gear.  Men’s suits were wool knit tunics with sleeves and knee-length shorts.

Over time, the sleeves disappeared, the shorts became shorter, new fabrics appeared and suits became more athletic looking.  Suits became more stylish in many colors but still had little or no foundation features.  WWII brought the two piece with a brassiere like top and bottoms going from the waist to mid-thigh.  The post war years saw zippers, boning and other types of foundations in bathing suits.