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Women’s bathing suit, c. 1913 

Click on image to enlarge

Martha Lobsinger (née Smith) wore this bathing suit when she would go swimming at Last Mountain Lake around the time of the First World War.

She later wore this bathing suit in the 1960s in the Regina Exhibition parade.   

Martha’s Story
Martha was born on Prince Edward Island in 1894. She moved west in the early 1910s to work in a Regina law office. She married Leo Lobsinger, who worked for an insurance company. After their wedding, the couple moved to Swift Current, Edmonton, Winnipeg, North Battleford and then back to Regina.   

Martha Lobsinger and friend. Martha wears the bathing suit. Click on image to enlarge

Changing Aesthetics in Swimwear
This bathing suit was modest for its time, similar to swimwear from the late 19th century. Suits like this one were known as “princess suits.” They were two pieces: a one-piece suit with elbow-length sleeves and knee-length trousers, and a knee-length skirt to go over it. Princess suits were made for modesty. The swimmer was covered from neck to knees, the baggy shape prevented it from getting too tight when wet, and the dark colour of the suit made it harder for onlookers to see that the suit was wet.   

Going to the Lake
Staying at lakes is a popular summer activity in Saskatchewan. Whether it’s going to a cabin, camping, or just a daytrip to a lake, many people from Saskatchewan have fond memories of time spent at “the lake.” This bathing suit shows that the popularity of this activity dates back to the earlier part of the 20th century. 

 

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