The History of Men's Swimwear
For the most part of human history, bathing has always been done…naked. Before the 19th century, there were only few cultures, such as the Japanese who used a loincloth (fundoshi), that used a specific garment by men to swim or bath. Interestingly, even the then rather uptight English society accepted naked bathing in general. Only few towns such as Bath in England had swimwear regulations asking men to wear “drawers and a waistcoat” but the baths were also public places. In small towns, men usually bathed au naturel on one end of the beach or river and the ladies would enter the water in specially created bathing cars that blocked the views with umbrellas from prying eyes. The swimsuit as we know it today had only just seen the light of day by 1869, when Frédéric Bazille painted Scène d’été. It is remarkable how very similar these early items of men's swimwear were to modern day swim trunks – even the leopard and zebra patterns were around back then!