The Evolution of Men's Swimwear
The evolution of men’s swimwear has come a very long way, thank God. As men, we are everchanging. Our rights are changing, the times are changing, and the ability to be and wear whatever we would like is upon us.
It wasn’t always this way and sadly, there are those who still have trouble embracing the new age. Let’s take a trip back into time and see where swimwear fashion all started!
In The Beginning
In the beginning, someone lost their mind and created unisex styles! Actually, these unisex styles are perfect for men and women. Mostly used for the active swimmer, these styles are comfortable and extremely popular. Still, to this day, swim teams, weightlifters, and wrestlers use unisex styled suits.
Unisex Swimwear and Suits
There are four main types of swimwear and suits that are considered to be unisex.
- The rash guard, also known as the rashie or rash vest, is an athletic shirt used in place of wetsuits. Now, most rashies offer UV protection. They are made out of spandex and nylon or polyester and is perfect for sports of any kind. From surfing to hiking, the rash guard is great for outdoor adventures.
- Wet suits and dry suits are all you need for your surfing fun! Both are insulated and very form fitting. They are mostly used for scuba diving, surfing, and snorkeling. Both are made from neoprene material. Something particularly interesting about wet suits is that they trap water inside and hold it close to the skin. The body’s warm temperature heats up the water keeping you warm while in cooler waters.
- Drag suits are shorts worn over an inner swimsuit. This increases the resistance of water!
- Racing Suits are perfect for those who are extremely competitive! These suits are considered technologically advanced with fabrics biomimetically designed to feel like shark denticles. Racing suits are super form fitting and increase muscle compression to reduce vibration.
There are so many different and unique types of swimsuits for men. From patterns, colors, and fabrics there is a swimsuit for every build, body type, and flair.
Swim briefs, also known as speedos, racing briefs or trunks, were first created in the 1930s. Muscle men and competitive swimmers began wearing them to enhance their performance. It is thought that swim briefs proceed the underwear. Originally made with military grade fabrics, we sure have come a long way with the comfort and fit of swim briefs.
One of the more popular choices for swimwear, boardshorts are a much longer version of swimming trunks. Boardshorts come loosely past the knee and most have pockets. Originally created for board sports like surfing, paddleboarding, and skimboarding, boardshorts are snug around the waist and provide maximum movement. They are quick to dry and barely take in any water.
Swimming trunks have an elastic waistband and are made of 100% nylon fabric or 100% polyester. Shorter than boardshorts but longer than briefs, trunks hit about mid-thigh. They have a mesh lining on the inside to hold everything in place.
Square cut swimwear is comparable to briefs but do not show as much leg. They are made from spandex and nylon or polyester fabrics. They get the name “square cut” from being cut straight across resembling a square.
Jammers are worm mostly by competitive athletes. Similar to cycling shorts or compressions without the padding, jammers hold the boys in place while allowing maximum flexibility.
The History of Swimwear
Believe it or not, swimwear wasn’t always a fashion or required! Prior to the 20th century, swimming and bathing were done naked. There were no rules or regulations for men and women that stated their bits needed to be covered. In Japan, loins were worn outside of the pool but removed prior to taking a plunge. In the United Kingdom, towns were allowed to make their own laws about bathing. Swimming while clothed was actually frowned upon. In fact, Teddy Roosevelt often swam in the Potomac completely nude!
Over time, the United States adopted laws that indecent exposure, especially to the opposite sex, was offensive. We went from one extreme to the other! While these laws are still enforced today, there are many ways to get around them and still get a maximum tanned body with minimum clothing.
Fun Fact - In 1907, Annette Kellerman an underwater ballerina from Australia visited the U.S. She was soon arrested for indecent exposure because her bathing suit showed her neck, arms, and legs. America went from being completely nude to only showing the end extremities!
The Timeline of Transformation
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, men were expected to cover their chest and woolen one-piece suits were worn. This swimsuit had cutoff sleeves and fully covered legs. Did I mention it was made out of wool?? How uncomfortable those guys must have been after getting wet!! These suits are still used today for swim competitions and meet however the fabric used is nylon. The material is lightweight and great for aerodynamic speeds.
In the late 1930s, Men began protesting their right to go shirtless! In 1936, Westchester, New York was the first to lift the topless ban and other cities followed shortly after. It wasn’t until the 60’s that swimwear became more about functionality and comfort rather than modesty. Most suits were brown, green, orange, blue or black, still not to cause all sorts of attention or stand out.
Finally, in the 1950s new fabrics increased comfort and drying times. These fabrics included Lycra, Crepe, and Drilon. Patterns finally made their debut along with zippers and pockets. Men could now express themselves and individuality with their swimwear.
In the 60s, men's swimwear fabric began to get smaller and brighter. The “space age fabric” inspired by the first man on the moon, was bright with outrageous patterns. Corduroy, terry cloth, and denim were also popular fabrics. Also, Speedo the Australian swimwear brand introduced the men’s swimming briefs.
1970 - 1980 consisted of bright colored swimwear to express each individual’s style. In the 1990s, loose-fitting boardshorts were all the rave! From laid back and casual to playful and extreme, swimwear began transforming to fit every man's needs. Now, you can find a plethora of men swimwear at any swim shop.
While states require swimwear to be worn at public beaches and pools, there are multiple private beaches and pools wear clothing is options. No shoes, no suit, no problem! We have come a long way from looking like a sea of completely clothed robots. As men, we are now free to express ourselves not only in color, pattern, or fabric but also with style.
Ochox provides the highest quality of trending men’s swimwear. From briefs to surfing shorts, Ochox has something for everyone. Our brand uses only the best fabrics for our designer fashions. In case you don’t know who we are, Ochox is a group of longtime friends that have a passion for finding amazing alternatives for what we put on our manly nether parts.
To see our full line of swimwear visit us here and dare to be uniquely you.