Swim Skirt

How to say it: swim skurt

Traditional Features: 

Swim Skirt

  • skirt of variable length – most commonly a miniskirt length
  • made from swimwear material
  • worn to swim in
  • usually worn with or attached to bikini bottoms or a one piece

21st Century Swim Skirts

In the 21st century the swim skirt seems to be making a comeback, and cute, modern styles are swarming the swimwear market. Designer and high-street brands alike are adding swim skirts to their summer repertoire and based on the range currently available, the modern woman must be buying them.

Eco Swim Jessica Simpson

Eco Swim, Jessica Simpson

Kenneth Cole Marc by Marc Jacobs

Kenneth Cole, MARC by Marc Jacobs


…of the style: Women have been swimming in skirts since it first became popular to ‘take to the waters’ in Victorian times. Skirts made from cotton or wool were worn as part of the bathing costume to hide a woman’s figure and therefore retain the modesty of the wearer.

Skirts continued to be regularly worn as part of the female swimming outfit through to the 1960s, but as modesty standards relaxed and swimsuits became more revealing, skirts got shorter and tighter until they became tube like garments that did little more than cover the buttocks. By this time the swim skirt had been incorporated into one and two-piece suits, so that even the women who had taken a liking to the newer bikini styles could expose their midriff whilst enjoying a little more coverage on their lower half.

Towards the end of the 1960s the swimwear fashions turned towards the-smaller-the-better and remained that way through the remainder of the 20th century; during which time the swim skirt had a bit on an identity crisis, becoming the realm of older, unfashionable women who covered up to much.

Yet despite this unflattering reputation, the swim skirt never disappeared from the swimwear market and in the early 21st century the style seems to be having somewhat of a renaissance. Designers and high-street brands that market to the young and fashionable have begun creating modern swim skirts that are short and cute, and appeal to those fashion conscious women who like a little more coverage over the hips.

While the newer versions of the swim skirt have given the look a much-needed face-lift, it remains to be seen how long this new-found favour will last.

…of the name: It is a skirt that is designed to be worn when swimming, hence the name.

Random Facts

  • Early swim skirts often had weights sewn in the hems to stop them from rising up in the water and compromising the wearer’s modesty

For more info on Swim Skirts try Vintage Fashion Guild, Fashion Era, and Google Image Search.

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