Walsall Museum looks back on swimwear styles of the past in Summer on the Beach

By Ben Miller | 16 August 2013

Exhibition preview: Summer on the Beach, Walsall Museum, Walsall, until September 11 2013

A photo of a blue, green and red floral bathing suit
Ransacking an extensive resident vintage clothing wardrobe, this vibrant show of colourful swimwear ranges from the psychedelic – a bikini from the 1970s, naturally – to the sort of floral, puffed skirt bathing suits synonymous with the 1950s.

The idea is to demonstrate how fashions changed during the century. The practicalities, though, are typically amusing: an Edwardian bathing dress, described as “heavy stockinette”, is positioned as a challenging one in which to dodge waves, while a thick woollen swimming suit, for men, might bring its own sweaty perils.

Lighter summer clothing, classic beach accessories, holiday outfits and exemplifications of high style also adorn the mannequins.

  • Open 10am-5pm (4pm Saturday, closed Sunday and Monday). Admission free. Follow the museum on Twitter @walsallmuseum.
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