On this date in 1917, the Santa Ana Register took some swimwear instruction from Luella Rogers from Seal Beach. The article focused on women who put on brightly hued bath suits for a beach visit, but never actually went swimming. Apparently the Non-Bathing Bathing Girl was one of the great issues of 1917. Fuddy-duddies felt that women who had no intentions of entering the water should wear more conservative clothes while on the beach.
Miss Rogers disagreed. “Wouldn’t a woman look fine running around the beach wearing a street dress? You’ve seen them try it and you usually see them trip and fall or they take a few steps and then stop for breath. Sometimes I like to go in swimming. Then I wear a close fitting bathing suit. But when I want to romp on the beach and do not want to go into the surf, I wear my latest, prettiest, stripped bathing costume, and I have a good time on the sand in spite of what I know the ‘old hens’ with their long black skirts say about me.”
I think we all know which side won this fashion war.
– Michael Dobkins