Beauty & Fashion

These Kids Were Made for Fashion: The Toddler Swimsuit

Kids clothing design has really gone through a seismic evolution. From merely functional to being fashionable and safety conscious! Here we look at the toddler swimsuit.

toddler swimsuiy

Swimwear in the 1800s

No less than the adults, bathing suits were modest for kids at the beach. This was at least the case in the conservative European society. Children were generally buttoned up to their necks as they paddled about in the water. This is illustrated by an early film photographed by Alexandre Promio

Taken in the late 19th century ( 1896) in England, this charming footage shows the children wearing merely rolled up pinafores or shorts while fishing for clams. Though not featured here, both boys and girls wore little sailor suits by this period. These doubled as bathing costumes for toddlers.

Swimwear in the early 20th century

By the 1910s, the liberation of clothing continued. Women’s dresses raised their hems to above the ankle and the hems kept rising into the 1920s. Swimsuits likewise became – a thing. Adults and children alike began wearing commercially available bathing costumes. Prior to synthetics, these were generally made from fine stretch wool and later Rayon.

The Roaring 20s Swimsuit

childs bathing suit in the 1930s

The post WW1 era saw the rise of an industrial scale consumerism. Especially so in the United States, the home of modern can-do Capitalism. Women’s and children’s fashion went through an extraordinary change. Just compare an Edwardian woman’s bathing costume in 1909 to the famous Jantzen swimsuit to the late 1929s. All within 20 years.
The swimsuit joined a new clothing category known as Sportswear.

By the 1930s, knitting pattern companies encouraged Moms to knit playful ‘sun suits’ for their little ones.

From Rompers to the Toddler Swimsuit

In the late 1890s, the one-piece romper suit was born. It quickly became an acceptable alternative clothing for toddlers of any gender to wear while learning to walk. In the 1920s, toddlers ran around the beach in rompers, and it was only a matter of time, before the toddler swimsuit was born. Playful designs being a major factor. Today, the toddler swimsuit features popular Disney characters, animals and other playful designs. Gone also are the divide pink/ blue gender identity.

Fun fact: The Victorians used blue for girls and pink for boys. Nobody is entirely sure when this gender association was reversed. But today, anything goes and when you are shopping for a playful swimsuit for your child, you have no end in choices for your little one.

family matching bathing suits 1960s

By the 1950s the romper suit for toddlers had evolved into the colourful fashionable toddler swimsuit. Since the 1960s  ‘colour co-ordinated’ bathing suits for Mum, Dad and the kids became a thing for some families ! Some of you may remember the Brady Bunch television show!

Today the possibilities are endless for parents when it comes to choosing fun clothes for their children. From big high street chains to small brands who specialize in creating beautiful handmade clothing for kids. Children love cool clothing. It helps them build their confidence and develop an aesthetic appreciation of style. Why not start with your toddler! 

That’s all ! ©

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