Monday, 28 November 2011

Swimming Costume (100 Objects)

Do you remember the 'A History of the World in One Hundred Objects' series that Radio 4 and the British Museum ran? It was very very very good and is here.

When the BBC did an extended version the  Islington Museum put in this red cotton bathing costume left behind in the lost property of the Hornsey Road Baths:

Image courtesy of the BBC


I realise I'm supposed to find this ridiculous, I get that wet cotton must be neither flattering nor comfortable nor easy to swim in, and I don't want to get into a conversation about Victorian morality and all that.

But I would like it if there were still swimwear that doesn't expect its wearers to be young and toned or whisper that they should diet for months or have surgery or otherwise act out shame before wearing it.

I like clothes because they are interesting and varied. I like how there are dresses (and shirts, trousers, skirts, blouses, ...)  out there that channel Coco Chanel and Susie Bubble, Katherine Hepburn and Amelia Earhart, Cary Grant and Kurt Cobain.

Except, it seems, when we're swimming. It's dull.

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