Beachwear refers to clothing suitable for wearing on a
beachor urban beach. In terms of how much material is on the body, beachwear usually falls somewhere between swimwearand what a person wears when fully clothed.
In an indoor pool, bathers will typically wear
lycrabriefs (men) or lycra one-piece tanksuits (women). On a beach, especially an urban beach, however, something more substantial is preferred by most. For men, this may consist of beach shorts that are long enough to come down almost to the knees, and sometimes beyond; on an urban beach, men will often wear beach shorts, which look like regular outerwear, but are made of non-absorbent, fast-drying fabrics. Dark colors, such as black, blend well with warm-weather business attire, and can also dry quickly in the sun, since dark color absorbs light. Women's beachwear often consist of a pair of shorts and a tank top.
Nowadays, however, beachwear is becoming more and more like swimwear, i.e., trunks for men and bikini for women, and may be worn elsewhere too.
History of beachwear
The invention of the
railway, and the proliferation of rail travel in the mid 1800s made it possible for large numbers of people to visit coastal regions. While previously, people had bathed or frolicked nudeon the beaches ( skinny dipping), the increased popularity of coastal regions resulting from the ease of travel, and the more prudish Victorian morality created a need for beachwear.
In the 1800s and early 1900s beachwear consisted of heavy garments which covered most of the body. Women's beachwear usually covered from neck to ankle, including long sleeves. Men's wear usually consisted of knee-length trousers and a loose, usually sleeveless shirt. Both styles were made of fabrics such as flannel.
More recently, the appearance of
urban beaches has created a demand for beachwear that, unlike swimwear, is appropriate to be worn in an urban setting, such as the downtown core of a major metropolitan city.
Transformability of beachwear
In some places, especially temperate coastal regions, many people like to remain "beach ready" at all times, i.e., to wear something that can be spontaneously transformed into beachwear. For men, simply wearing black shorts that have an integral belt made of
nylon webbing(rather than shorts that have a drawstring) underneath regular trousers, together with a shirt that has a nice collar, for example, allow them to transform from formal attire to beachwear easily. This allows spontaneous unplanned visits to an urban beach that is usually located within the downtown business core of a city.
Transformable beachwear makes lunch hour trips to the beach possible, reducing the need to find a place to change, or to carry an additional set of clothing. Good beach shorts will mostly be
hydrodynamic, and will dry within 10 to 15 minutes of sunbathing on hot black graniteor dark cementthat absorbs a lot of the water. Because urban beaches usually have roughly-textured black surfaces that absorb both water and sun (thus, heating up easily), good beachwear can usually be dried while it is being worn on the body, simply by lying down to sunbathe for a few minutes.
Combination with outerwear
An advantage of wearing beachwear underneath regular clothing is the ease with which it can be quickly and easily changed. When a
changeroomis not available, beach shorts worn under regular trousers make it easy to change from dress slacksto jeansor vice versa, such as when changing in a parking lot, in one's vehicle, or in a similar public space.
Beachwear within a hierarchy of formality: related concepts
Beachwear is not necessarily used for swimming or bathing, and may be used just for lounging around a beach. It is therefore not mandatory to be hydrodynamic or fast-drying, but specifically designed beachwear is as a rule either or both; some swimwear, notably
diving suits, is rather unfit for use on land.
Beachwear can be classified within a hierarchy of formality as follows:
*naked (least possible amount of clothing and legal only on specified beaches)
underwear(may also double as swimwear)
swiming bermudas(like the brand MK / MACKEENE)
swimwear(most hydrodynamic and thus often most minimal, except for full body suits)
*bathwear for bathing, soaking or possibly moderate swimming
*various recreational clothing, as for beach walks, (non-aquatic) sports...
formal wearwith black tie, white tieor mess dress
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
beachwear — each wear n. clothing to be worn at a beach. [WordNet 1.5] … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
beachwear — [bēch′wer΄] n. garments for wearing at the beach, poolside, etc. in warm weather; esp., swimsuits and coverups … English World dictionary
Beachwear — Beach|wear [ bi:tʃwɛ:ɐ̯] die; <aus gleichbed. engl. beachwear zu beach »Strand« u. wear »[Be]kleidung«> Strand u. Badebekleidung … Das große Fremdwörterbuch
beachwear — noun Date: 1928 clothing for wear at a beach … New Collegiate Dictionary
beachwear — /beech wair /, n. clothing for wear at a beach, swimming pool, or the like. [1925 30; BEACH + WEAR] * * * … Universalium
beachwear — noun clothing suitable for wearing on the beach, though not necessarily for swimming in … Wiktionary
beachwear — beach|wear [ˈbi:tʃweə US wer] n [U] clothes that you wear for swimming, lying on the beach etc … Dictionary of contemporary English
beachwear — beach|wear [ bitʃ,wer ] noun uncount light summer clothes that you wear on the beach … Usage of the words and phrases in modern English
beachwear — n. clothes for wearing on a beach … English contemporary dictionary
beachwear — noun clothing suitable for wearing on the beach … English new terms dictionary