The Sleeveless/Strapped Dress
During the first half of the oughts, the feet remain shod and the head hatted, but the bathing dress sleeve continues to shorten. By 1905, the sleeve disappears entirely, producing the bathing dress sleeveless bloomerless (HK0710-34BS). Now both the face and the arms are uncovered, with the sensuous armpit being an optional inducement.
Layers also continue to be shed, and the overall costume is much thinner. The sleeveless bloomerless is similar to the bathing dress shortsleeved bloomered, minus the shortsleeve and the bloomers.
The sleeveless bathing dress opens up several possibilities.
First, the sleeveless encourages opening the neckline in the manner of a sundress. No longer tight-collared, it invites provocative, and sometimes prurient, cleavage. Necklines, already in play in the bathing dress, become even more risqué.
Secondly, the resultant bare shoulder and underarm, contoured by the armhole line, provide a new, critical erotic frontier. Armpits become an erotic exposure. And the opportunities to offer breast exposures inside the armhole, the so-called cleavage côté, emerge.
Finally, this combined reductionism forges the shoulder strap (C1905), crafted from one direction by the disappeared sleeve and armhole, and from the other direction by the opening neckline. For this reason the bathing dress sleeveless is also called simply the strapped bathing dress.
Shoulder straps can be wide or narrow or spaghetti, and they are prone to slide off, accentuating the bare shoulder and collapsing armhole line in a reversible, disrobing striptease (fig. 2-4). An offshoulder may be restored by help from either hand, or by raising the arm, or it be be progressed further into a strapoff, in which the arm is removed from the strap entirely. Offshoulders and strapoffs are discussed in detail in Tieology, and they remain one of the swimsuit's biggest teases.
Baring the Leg
Finally, as discussed elsewhere, the absence of bloomers combined with thigh-high stockings introduces the possibility of the exposure the top of the hose, followed by the exposure of the white bare skin of the thigh just above it. This is strong medicine.