A day at the beach in the Belle Époque

We traveled back in time to an era where the beach contemplated a state of leisure. It is hard to believe but it was not so long ago that marine baths were exclusively seen as a form of therapy for the sick and convalescent.

The 19th century shows us some deserted beaches, but with the emerging of the new century everything changes, and the Belle Époque brings with it amusing images of the first swimmers, enthusiastically posing to the idea of the sea being a place of enjoyment and pleasure. Ready? Set? Let’s go!

Letting go, even if it were only a couple of times a year, of the tyranny of dresses and corsets of the time, was a luxury for women. So, one of the curiosities that the 1920s gave us was the skreenette, a kind of tube-shaped sack where women avoided prying eyes while changing clothes on the beach.

It’s comical, but it wasn’t more than 100 years ago that female swimsuits included stockings and sleeves. It’s difficult to believe such a thing when, today, there are millions of different styles of bathing suits which are offered to beach goers.

However, all these styles are far from the first one-piece swimsuit, born in 1930, a garment made of wool and weighing more than 30 kilograms. It should also be noted that even this garment was not accessible to everyone. It was not until 1940 that they appeared to be more comfortable and lighter in design. These new fashion styles were the first of its kind to be marketed and promoted with models and actresses of the time.

And so, it went from a shallow coastline to a progressive conquest of masses of a coast that currently proposes and shares millions of recreational activities and infinite models to look at during the summer.


The “Beach” phenomenon is born from the industrial revolution. The noble classes are becoming more aware of the stale air in big cities and the detriments to their health as a result of this. Thus, they find the perfect excuse to migrate in search of bathing stations. Examples of such migration include the British inhabitants of the mid19th century. The march from the city of London has Brighton, thanks to a train that joins the two cities with this unique task in mind. The same thing happens in other places such as Miami, Mar del Silver and the Biarritz.

Later, and as a result to further milestones in technology, such as the creation of the automobile, coastal tourism is developed in countries like France, where people traveled from the interior of their country to places like Normandy or the Riviera.

Let’s go, ducks!

We’ve seen how women bathed. Garments that looked like street clothing that were later profiled and promoted by celebrities of the time who did not hesitate a second in showing the benefits of a piece that was key in the pursuit of female identity.

But how did the men bathe? Male swimsuits looked very different from what we are used to today. An outfit that once seemed to be more like a garment, later, after World War II, gave rise to models and designs which were both elastic and sports like.

And so, a dreamed time of enjoyment and permanent renewal is portrayed. A few years of discoveries and changes in which the swimsuit took different shapes and styles, adapting to the most avant-garde decades and leaving a footprint that lasts, even today.

Compartir es vivir!

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