The rise of modest swimwear

Entry #8

The rise of modest swimwear

Posted on Monday, November 27, 2023

Sheila's dive into the transformative waves of modest swimwear.

Swimwear, like all fashion, is a reflection of society's evolving tastes, needs, and values. It provides insight into our influences, the trends that permeate our feeds, and the way we choose to celebrate ourselves. And right now? We stand on the cusp of a paradigm shift in swimwear – one that celebrates modesty, inclusivity, and style in equal measure.

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Let’s take a look back: The history of swimwear style.

Swimwear has always been a reflection of societal norms and trends. At the start of the 20th Century, modesty was paramount for women. This era witnessed the rise of "bathing dresses," which were made from heavy fabrics (one would argue, impractical for swimming), and prioritised modesty over practicality.

Then came The Suffragette Movement (AKA the original Sheilas). 

They boldly challenged societal norms, including women's rights and swimwear. Annette Kellerman, an actress, writer, and professional swimmer, introduced the one-piece bathing suit, radical for her time, despite facing arrest for public indecency on a Boston beach. Her influence and courage sparked the popularity of one-piece swimwear. 

A bold shift.

In 1916, designers introduced snug-fitting swimsuits, revealing shoulders and legs. During the 1920s to the 1940s, swimwear embraced form-fitting designs, often accompanied by short skirts for modesty.

The bikini revolution.

Yet, the most seismic transformation arrived in 1946, courtesy of Louis Réard's audacious invention – the bikini. Initially a bold statement, it quickly evolved into the norm, thanks to iconic figures like Marilyn Monroe who played a pivotal role in its widespread acceptance (and celebration).

What came next?

As time marched on, swimwear continued to change shape, with each era leaving its indelible mark. From the pin-up swimsuits of the '50s to the high-waisted swimwear designs of the '80s, fashion in swimwear evolved alongside the shifting sands of time.

Miranda Long Swim Short - Sheila

Fashion Across Decades

Skipping ahead: The rebirth of modest swimwear.

The bikini went on to dominate, and by the early 2000s, bikinis had become a US$811 million business annually, and boosted spin-off services such as bikini waxing and sun tanning.

The resurgence of modern swimwear.

But fast forward a little more, and you’ll find something interesting: a rebound back into modest swimwear. Recent years have seen the modest fashion scene surge in popularity, with Pinterest searches skyrocketing by 500% since 2019 and an astonishing 149 million Google results for 'modest fashion.' This demand extends beyond religious or conservative beliefs, appealing to a wider audience in pursuit of comfort and coverage.

Embracing modern modesty.

We bid farewell to the days of frumpy Lycra and uncomfy tees. Today's modest swimwear is a tribute to luxury, design, and innovation. Our best-sellers are a testament to this. Our Mina One Piece, designed with modesty at its core, also champions sustainability. Crafted from luxurious recycled nylon derived from waste that would otherwise pollute our planet—including fishing nets, carpets, discarded textiles, and plastic waste—its environmental footprint is impressively low. The added 25% Elastane ensures the swimsuit stretches comfortably without losing its shape. 

Another exemplar is our Miranda Long Swim Short; with its high-waisted and fully lined design, it ensures generous coverage while promising to stay put.

Explore More: Check out our full range of modest swimwear to discover the perfect style for you.

As modest swimwear has evolved, we've seen it change with the times, give women a boost of confidence, and roll with the latest fashion trends. From its simple start to its trendy comeback, modest swimwear is making a splash in both style and impact.