Pioneer Women uncover the secrets of the bathing suit

June 19, 2013 by  

A luncheon which was held recently, revealed the secrets of bathing suits from 1904 to 1960.

Although it might be hard to imagine wearing a swimsuit made of wool or denim, Fort Lauderdale’s Pioneer Women demonstrated a variety of bathing suits that would have been worn by women as early as 1904. The 56th Annual Reunion Luncheon, which was held at Tropical Acres Restaurant, presented a program which outlined the history of the swimsuit.

Patsy West is a member of the Pioneer Women and spoke of the interest and enthusiasm during the ‘Heart of the Beach: Bathing Suits’ program. One of the bathing suits belonged to former Miss Fort Lauderdale 1937, Nancy Setliff, whose daughter Patsy Hawkes presented the swimsuit. It is believed that it was handmade.

Women also spoke of the time during the 1940s war, when women were not allowed to become lifeguards. The program covered the history of the swimsuit, from the very first bathing suit and the various materials used to make them, including the mohair swim suit. The event turned out to be nostalgic and fun, with women reminiscing about the rules for women and parts of the body they were not allowed to reveal, which includes the belly button and midriff.

The luncheons keep history alive and each year the annual event will be promoted, perhaps using local print companies to produce flyers and posters to remind the 426 members of Pioneer Women. The mission of the group is ‘Keeping Our History Alive’.