Florida bathing beauties in Columbia Six Sport, 1920. Public Domain / mediadrumworld.com

By Rebecca Drew

NOSTALGIC black and white pictures reveal what fashion was all about for pioneering Edwardian beach-babes of the early 20th century – including having to dodge the police.

Incredible images show a group of women wearing full-length bathing suits complete with stockings whilst lounging on the sand, enjoying a picnic and women wearing swim dresses.

Three girls wearing bathing suits standing on a rock in the water, 1922. Public Domain / mediadrumworld.com

One shocking photograph shows a woman being stopped by the beach police in America to measure the distance between the bottom of her bathing suit and her knee in 1922. If a woman was found to be revealing too much bare skin, they would have to pay a ten dollar fine, but many of these modesty rules were lifted by the mid-1920s.

Another shot shows a Native American family accompanying a woman in a bathing suit to the beach and two women drying their hair after taking a dip in the sea.

Measuring bathing suits 1922. Public Domain / mediadrumworld.com

Contrastingly, a picture taken in 1900 shows women in full dresses with parasols for extra sun protection.

In the early 1900s, women’s swimming costumes were often made from heavy wool with high necks, long sleeves, skirts and pants. As the 20th century moved on, necklines lowered and women started exposing their legs which saw the introduction of codes to regulate the appearance of swimming costumes to preserve modesty.

Bathing Beach, 1909. Public Domain / mediadrumworld.com

As women began to take more of an interest in personal health in the 1930s, cumbersome swimwear was swapped for costumes that were much more practical.