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The Surprising History of the Tank Top

When the summer months are upon us, one of the most popular items in many wardrobes is the tank top.

It can be dressed up with a jacket and smart jeans, or dressed down with pajamas and worn to bed.

Tank tops keep your arms and neck cool while covering the rest of your upper body.

When the temperature is warm, they provide just the right amount of coverage.

When did tank tops make their way into modern society?

Before the 1920’s, men and women were not seen showing their arms off in public.

However, the Roaring Twenties brought about a revolution in the world of fashion and clothing.

Women were cutting their hair shorter, wearing dresses which were more revealing than the previous trends, and enjoying human contact (such as rebellious hand-holding!) with their male partners while they danced or walked down the street.

Tank Tops in the Olympic Games

The introduction of women’s swimming into the Olympic Games came along in 1912, held in Stockholm, Sweden.

A total of 27 women competed in the swimming events at these particular games, and their swimwear was deemed “immodest” by many news outlets and spectators.

The costumes they wore were very similar to modern-day tank tops, but with an added piece which resembled shorts to cover the top half of the thighs.

While we might call it a “swimming pool” these days, back in the 1920’s, it was known as a swimming “tank.”

Thus, the items worn by female swimmers were referred to as “tank suits,” in other words, a suit which was worn in the tank!

Tank suits were made from a variety of materials including silk, which was considered very immodest since it was often see-through after going in the water.

Cotton was also used, and heavy woolen materials were considered the most modest since they were so thick and concealing.

The top of a tank suit had straps which were almost identical to the straps we see on tank tops today.

The straps would keep the suit up, but the lack of sleeves gave female swimmers the freedom of movement and flexibility that they needed in order to perform to their full potential in the pool.

Definition

waist trimmer is a shaping garment similar to a girdle. The waist trainer pulls a person’s midsection in as tight as possible. The idea behind a waist trainer is that the pulling action gives the person a sleeker, smaller waist.

Waist trainers usually consist of a combination of tough fabric and hard fibers. Hooks, Velcro, lacing, or other strong fasteners hold the trainer tightly in place.

Advocates believe that it is possible to “train” the waist to retain a slimmer shape after frequent wearing of the garment over an extended period. Some people suggest that wearing a waist trainer while working out can aid weight loss.

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