The French bathing-dress is designed far more often for sun than for water. This is not to say that the Frenchwoman is not a good swimmer. When she really takes to the water she is expert, and her bathing-dress is designed to allow her the greatest amount of freedom and comfort. But when she merely goes to a watering-place, the bathing-dress serves as a beach-suit as well as for the water, and her only object is to ensure that it shall look well in the water, and if this is impossible, then to dispense with the water. Thus this year bathing-dresses are designed in two main forms.
One follows the dresses or perhaps precedes them it shortness and exiguity of material. The other follows the masculine trend and is not unlike the pyjamas which have been worn as negligés during the last two or three years. The one is suited for the water and has a good many extras in the way of cloaks and capes; the other is better dry and appears in gay taffetas and satiny. It has high-heeled shoes worn upon bare feet
The Pyjama fashion
The pyjama bathing-dress is among the prettiest this year, even though it does not fulfil its intended function. It is made with the conventional long trouser, pleated in closely from the knee so that the shape of the calf shows, as do also a few inches of the ankle. Very beautiful colourings are seen among the satins of which these pyjama bathing-dresses are made, and not very many of them are exposed to the risk of the water, but are used rather as lounge suits to vary the eternal short dress.
Occasionally there is a long, straight coat to go with the satin suit. This also may be made of satin, though sometimes it is of wool lined with the satin, and occasionally of a different colour. With the shingled beads, which are left bare and only shielded perhaps by a very bright parasol, the effect is very young and attractive. Where the parasols are of the flat, bright variety and are used with the Chinese coats the suggestion of light opera is irresistible.
The swimming public is on the increase, and here woollen bathing-suits are generally provided. These are no longer the ugly vestments which used alone to be considered suitable for the water. They have the effect of well-cut tunics and, as they are divested of every superfluity, they are generally well and severely cut and appear in black or dark blue with white edges. The stripe has gone out and colour is confined to the bathing-cap. This is rather like an airman’s helmet, and is exceedingly becoming. For people who only bathe a little and who have the luxury of short hair the rubber cap is unessential and has given way to little net bonnets such as are worn in red for the better ordering of short hair.
Now and again there appears a dark blue bathing-suit with perhaps a red sash round the waist and worn with a red fisherman’s cap of rubber. But here again the pantomime suggestion of principal boy is a little too strong for it to be entirely successful.
The coat or cape is an essential at every French bathing town, whether it be confined to the old bath-towel garb or has developed into the floating mantle of the Rule Britannia order. People with neat dark suits and no superflous trimmings like very bright cloaks of imperial purple or of scarlet. These float out upon the wind and they give opportunity either for swimming or for sitting about, as the wearer wishes. On warm days a little dip is very pleasant and the bather then returns to drink her Dubonnet or other “aperitif” wrapped in the gaily coloured cloak which is awaiting her. Some people prefer the sleeved cloak which looks rather like a monk’s garb. It also has a big collar like a cowl, in the middle of which the shingled head looks small and elegant.
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