Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of E.A. Meister, 1950
Not on view
Since the 18th century, going to the seaside to experience the restorative effects of salt water and sea air was a common practice. During the 19th century, holidays at the beach were not only seen as beneficial to one's health, but also as fun. Women who participated in these outings wore modest bathing dresses or bathing costumes that many times were not meant to actually swim in, but rather as a more comfortable alternative to the many-layered ensembles of the period. Therefore, a corset was often required, even while bathing, which, along with an increased participation of women in other sporting activities, led to a burst of inventiveness in corset shapes and types to accommodate every possible activity. This example of a bathing corset is lightly boned, fairly non-restrictive and made of wool, as were many bathing suits of the time.