Jacket and Bloomers
By 1870 a even more specialized bathing attire emerges in Europe. The bathing dress longsleeve bloomered (BDLB) "skirt" rises to above the knee, and separates into a long middie frock and bloomers, still usually worn with shoes and hose. This is the bathing dress middie bloomered (aka the BDMB), which resembled a frock with shortsleeves and pants (LL187301, E187601). This silhouette, which continues to be popularized throughout the 1880s (E188101, E188601) combines a long, usually front-button wool frock with pantaloons. Shoes, hose, and a hat are standard fashion accessories. Colors vary, but this blue with red trim is typical (LM0060).
The middie bloomered is a somewhat remarkable garment that is ahead of its time. Mannish in many respect, it resembles a military tunic with pants, and it proffers a path toward the unitard and maillot, evidenced for example in this dainty one-piece similar silhouette (LL8501).
The middie is also advanced in terms of exposures; instead of just the hands and face being exposed two other body parts are much more revealed: One of these are forearms, an alternative many women choose, and the other is the ankle, which although still covered by a thin layer of hose, is much more conspicuous. Women who might be completely sleeveless, a moreover not be wearing hose, qualify for pinup photography (E188501).
After the turn of the century these hose will actually get removed, if not for wading then for walking in the sand (BW191010) or posing outside the bathing machine (FR0710) or with a friend for a pinup (PC0310). Clearly this last picture pushes all limits of decorum on the real beach, but a careful reading of pictures, especially with regard to whether the foot and ankle and calf are bare or not, tells a great deal about the morals of the model, and whether she is a proper girl or a hussy posing for pictures.
Related Bathing Suit Species
Relationships between the midddie and other swimsuits must obviously consider this species in terms of the other bathing dresses, But there is also a relationship to the maillot skirted pantaloon, in that the latter represents a general contraction from the middie--legline raised from the calf to above the knee, the skirt retained, but the overall construction tightened onto the body. In terms of legline, the middie boomer hits on the calf, similar to a capri pant.