Home Local News ‘Shocking incomplete bathing suits’ fuel calls for Rehoboth Beach censor

‘Shocking incomplete bathing suits’ fuel calls for Rehoboth Beach censor

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“One-piece bathing suits that leave practically nothing to the imagination,” the Wilmington Sunday Morning Star reported in 1924, “and two-piece affairs, that many considered add even more to the viewpoint of the female form, are the vogue rather than extraordinary. The young people and the liberal-minded call them chic. The elderly women turn aside and say, ‘shocking.’”

When Rehoboth was established, few people owned specialized clothing for a quick dip in the ocean, and the early ocean bathers entered the water wearing garments adapted from their everyday clothes.

Men and women wore bathing attire that covered the torso and extended to the elbows and knees. Women also wore bloomers, stockings and hats. Some women were dressed in smock-like gowns that reached to their ankles. Modest ladies sewed weights into the hem of these loose-fitting garments to keep them from floating up and exposing the legs.

Visitors pack the beach in Rehoboth. In early 20th century, town commissioners attempted to restore decorum to the beach by trying to regulate bathing suits that could be worn on the beach.

It goes without saying that the combination of bloomers, stockings, and other paraphernalia that people wore for a dip in the surf made it nearly impossible to move about in the water, much less swim.

By the beginning of the 20th century, beach attire had shrunk to the point where people could actually swim in the surf. Adventurous vacationers appeared on the beach dressed in outfits that scandalized those who retained their strict Victorian attitudes concerning how people should dress in public.

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Source: GANNETT Syndication Service