Bathing costume

About this object

Newly-married Emily Tinne got this smart bathing costume for her honeymoon at the seaside in July 1910. The Tinnes rented a house in Donegal at Culdaff, known for its beautiful beach. Emily bought this new outfit for her holiday wardrobe before she left for Ireland, from Nathan’s in Hardman Street, Liverpool. The outfit is completed with a matching waterproof bathing cap and espadrilles to protect her feet against sharp stones.

The beach experience we enjoy today would have been unknown in 1910. Emily would certainly have avoided getting a tan, as this was unfashionable at the time. It is unlikely that she could actually swim. She would probably just have immersed herself in the waves. Ladies wore modest dress for sea bathing and so the tunic has a buttoned-in bib front to the sailor-style collar, creating a high neckline. The man-made fabrics we now take for granted for our swim suits had not been invented then. The tunic and knee-length knickers are made of wool serge, probably very itchy even before it got wet.
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