A century of swim: the evolution of the swimsuit

If there is one piece of clothing that’s evolved more than any other through the decades, it’s the swimming suit.
The bathing suit. The swimsuit. Even the name has changed over time. From full-shade dresses to barely-there bikinis, swimwear has defined the decades with iconic style. Here’s a look back at highlights from the last 100 years.


Early 1900s Seaside Walking Dresses

Image source: Flickr through a Creative Commons license by George Eastman Museum licensed under CC BY 2.0

In the early 1900s, the “seaside walking dress” was the trendy gown to wear on the beach
or when walking the boardwalk.

Annette Kellerman, Pioneer in Women's Swimwear

Image source: Flickr through a Creative Commons license by Photo Library licensed under CC BY 2.0

A pioneer in women’s swimwear, Australian Annette Kellerman invented synchronized swimming.
She was arrested for indecency wearing this bathing suit on a beach near Boston in 1907,
but this suit, sans buttons or a collar, paved the way for the one-piece.


Turkish-style bloomers, often made of flannel (toasty!), transitioned to sailor-inspired frills and stripes.
Even lace-up shoes were worn on the beach!
Turkish-Style Bloomers in 1910
The tide began to turn in 1916, when Jantzen introduced a collection of figure-hugging suits sporting shorter shorts and even cutouts. They changed the term “bathing suit” to “swimming suit” to justify their more revealing suits as athletic.

Jantzen Swimming Suits Advertisement

Source: Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. “Jantzen Swimming Suits.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 18, 2017.


Women ditched the long sleeves and skirts to show a little skin, but shorts still had to meet a certain length, or else…

…they would be fined or arrested for wearing one-piece bathing suits without the required leg coverage.

Here’s what the definitive, prize-winning bathing suit looked like in 1922.


The ‘30s brought more form-fitting styles in stretchy synthetic fabrics, with higher-cut legs and lower-cut necklines.
Anita Page and Leila Hyams were actresses from the silent film era.


On July 5, 1946, French model Micheline Bernardini wore the bikini for the first time in Paris. It was marketed
as a two-piece swimming suit that revealed “everything about a girl except her mother’s maiden name.”


Brigitte Bardot starred in the 1952 French film “Manina, the Girl in the Bikini,” one of the first times the bikini appeared in a movie. Movies aside, it was still considered improper to show the navel, which sparked over 50,000 letters protesting the ban. Protestors claimed it couldn’t be called a bikini unless it fit through a wedding ring.


The introduction of nylon and Lycra in the ‘60s made suits tighter than ever,
similar to the costume Yvonne Craig wore in her role as Batgirl in the television series Batman.

Swimsuit in the 1960s, Yvonne Craig in Batgirl Costume

Image source: Flickr through a Creative Commons license Image 1 and Image 2 by Yvonne licensed under CC BY 2.0


Minds expanded and bikinis shrank in the ‘70s, and not surprisingly,
women were showing more midriff than ever before.


With hair slicked down and neon accessories turned up, the ‘80s went wild over prints.
Swimsuits plunged deeper in front and revealed more in back.

Women's Swimsuits - 1980s

Image source: Yaakov Saar [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


The trend navigated toward more athletic designs. Tankinis were introduced,
and the concept of mixing and matching tops, bottoms, and prints became popular.


Borrowing details from decades past, Garnet Hill launched Signature Swimwear, a collection of sophisticated styles highlighting our original prints. We still think the one-piece is the most universally flattering suit of all time.

Garnet Hill Signature Maillot, Summer 2010

Garnet Hill Signature Maillot, Summer 2010

From retro to daring to barely there, what’s your favorite style and decade? We’d love to hear your comments.

Shop the 2017 Swimwear Collection

How to plan an original breakfast-in-bed surprise for Mother’s Day

We know what you’re thinking, mom: Mother’s Day is coming up and wouldn’t it be great to sleep in and be served breakfast in bed? Or perhaps you’re looking for an original twist on the thoughtful classic to surprise your mom on Mother’s Day.

Either way, we teamed up with Stonewall Kitchen, Simon Pearce, and Framebridge to give away all the essentials for an original breakfast in bed. Enter for a chance to win or plan your own special feast with these tips below.

1. Select an indulgent recipe. Turn an ordinary breakfast into something special. Try a short stack of pancakes topped with artisanal jams and fresh fruit, like in this Stonewall Kitchen recipe for Pecan Pancakes with Maple Glazed Apples.
Our Farmhouse Pancake & Waffle Mix

Or, if you’re a little more ambitious, Michelle of Hummingbird High shared an amazing recipe for gourmet jelly donuts.

Gourmet Jelly Donuts on a Mother's Day Breakfast Tray

2. Presentation is everything. Find a cute tray to serve your breakfast on, and decorate it with cloth napkins and your mom’s favorite flowers for a personal touch. If you don’t have a serving tray, a wooden cutting board works too!
Mother's Day Breakfast Tray and Garnet Hill Mohair Throw
3. Create a comfy oasis. Nothing says relaxation more than a cozy bed layered with pillows and soft throws. To create a plush oasis you’ll never want to leave, try our mohair throw.

Dressing for Special Occasions

Adri, blogger of Adri Lately, shares her tips on how to effortlessly dress for every special spring occasion.

With spring in full swing and summer just around the corner, this season often becomes packed-full of special events. It almost seems that all at once, the invitations for weddings, graduations and birthdays clutter our mailboxes. Though there is nothing better than celebrating with those you love most, now is the time to make sure you have the right outfit in your closet so that, when the time comes, picking it is just as effortless. Because, really, the focus should be on making memories – not stressing about your clothes.

Even though you might have several events on your calendar, simplicity is always key. In my book, you can never go wrong with a good dress. They’re a one-and-done, and are wearable for years to come.

Keep It Basic: Pick a classic dress and it’ll never let you down. Not only will you be able to wear it more than once, you won’t regret looking back at pictures in the next 10 or 20 years later. Neutrals, even with prints, are my go-to, like this Twist Detail Knit Dress! The print is neutral, but unique.

Adri of Adri Lately in the Garnet Hill Twist-Detail Knit Dress

Comfort Level: Choose the length and cuts that feel best. There’s nothing worse than having to sit through a wedding in a dress that you have to tug down the whole time. If this is happening, chances are you will never wear it again and all your attention will be on the dress rather than the celebration.

Adri of Adri Lately in the Garnet Hill Twist-Detail Knit Dress

Dress Up or Down: A dress that can be styled up or down opens up so many more options on where you can wear it. It’s also a good indicator that you can wear it to more than one of your events this year.

Adri of Adri Lately in the Garnet Hill Twist-Detail Knit Dress

Whatever special events you have coming up, I hope these tips help you find the perfect dress!

Dressed for Dinner: 6 Organic Restaurants to Try in New Hampshire

By Kristyn Lak Miller

Home is where the (organic) heart is for many of us striving for sustainability. We have organic food in the fridge, organic clothes in the closet, and organic accessories throughout the home from the sheets, to the towels, to the throw on the couch.

But what happens when we leave the house?

Dining out is one of the biggest challenges in an organic lifestyle as most restaurants continue to serve conventional, non-organic food. There are exceptions—exceptional exceptions, as it happens. New Hampshire’s Seacoast (where one of Garnet Hill’s two offices in the state is located) has a number of organic restaurants; here’s an introduction to a few favorites worth a visit for locals and visitors alike.

Blue Moon Evolution
Blue Moon Evolution, Exeter
Serving organic food since 1995, Blue Moon Evolution has evolved over the years to become a dinner-only restaurant committed to providing fare that’s both nutrient-dense and sumptuously satisfying for everyone, vegans to committed carnivores. To get the good goods, they rely on a network of local farmers as well as their own organic farm, which supplies the restaurant with everything from garlic to greens. The highly seasonal menu changes often, and always includes nightly specials—earlier this April, Pan-Seared Kellie Brook Pork Belly tempted guests with its smoked honey and guajillo chili glaze served alongside a rich and creamy parsnip purée and pucker-up pickled Maine blueberries.

Laney and Lu Cafe
Laney & Lu Café, Exeter
In a rather tiny spot, well-hidden unless you know where to look (hint: look behind Serendipity!), Laney & Lu is out to feed your body—and your soul. Each exciting vegan or vegetarian dish is comprised of local, fresh, and whole ingredients, and most everything is certified organic. Their comprehensive breakfast-to-dessert menu is across-the-board tempting, and nothing is ho-hum. Take the Colorful Curry Bowl, a vibrant and complex symphony of flavors and textures—its base of curry-infused rice or quinoa is topped with a veritable cornucopia (spinach, carrots, peppers, purple cabbage, green onions, and avocados!) along with raw sesame seeds, house-made sunflower seed veggie burger, and Thai-spiced cashews then dressed with a savory almond-miso sauce.

The Fresh Press
The Fresh Press, Portsmouth
Just steps from the center of downtown Portsmouth, The Fresh Press dishes out, well, wellness. The mostly meatless menu includes juices, smoothies, açai bowls, quinoa bowls, wraps, and salads—their use of organic ingredients supports The Fresh Press’ belief that there are no compromises to good health. The Skinny Scout Smoothie, for example, is a play on a refreshing and decadent mint milkshake that earns its “skinny” moniker by replacing the ice cream (and green food coloring!) with a blend of almond milk, spinach, banana, dates, raw cacao nibs, maca powder, mint, and peppermint oil.

Madeline's Truly Organic Kitchen
Madeline’s Truly Organic Kitchen, Portsmouth
Tucked in the way, way back of Portsmouth Health Food Center, Madeline’s Truly Organic Kitchen is a counter-service eatery with just a few stools lined up along a short bar by a window. They use fresh, organic, and local ingredients (sometimes from the owner’s own garden) to make smoothies and meatless or meaty sandwiches; they also have several grab-and-go cases featuring all kinds of prepared meals, side dishes, snacks, and desserts. A stand-out for their vegetarian twists on classics, the Tofu Reuben is their best-selling sandwich—it’s an ooey-gooey masterpiece of perfectly grilled rye bread, soy or conventional cheese, tangy sauce, and house-marinated baked tofu.

Flatbread Company
Flatbread Company, Portsmouth and Hampton
Flatbread Company began serving oven-baked flatbread pizzas—made with organic ingredients—when they opened in Amesbury, Massachusetts in 1998. Nearly two decades later, they now have locations across the country, including two on New Hampshire’s Seacoast. At the heart of each location is a wood-burning oven, with a primitive and primal pull that captures the attention of both kids and adults. The menu includes two organic salads and about a dozen flat-out fabulous flatbreads, from the Nitrate-Free Pepperoni & Mushroom Flatbread to the carnivore-converting Vegan Pizza which tops their chewy-crispy-smoky organic crust with wood-fired cauldron tomato sauce, caramelized onions, mushrooms, Kalamata olives, house-made garlic oil, and a sprinkling of organic herbs.

Roots Juice Bar
Roots Juice Bar, Dover
As the name implies, Roots Juice Bar serves an array of juices—and that’s just the beginning. Its 100-percent vegan menu also includes all-day breakfast, smoothies, and a lunch line-up with wraps, salads, bowls, burgers, and soup. Most everything is made to order, using local and organic ingredients; they’re also committed to serving those with special dietary requests, like gluten-free. Though dedicated to good health, they know it’s okay to splurge occasionally, so while you can order Detox Juice (a healthy combo of kale, cucumber, beet, apple, and ginger), you can also get Good Morning Cakes (grilled slices of house-made cake loaf topped with—wait for it—coconut cream, maple syrup, and cinnamon sugar).

Serving organic fare seems like a most natural idea for restaurants. To get more (and more!) to go organic, make the request when dining out and support already-organic eateries when possible.

Kristyn Lak Miller is a freelance writer (and Garnet Hill aficionado!) based in Portsmouth, NH with an appreciation for genuinely good food; Kristyn lives so sustainably, her daughter was born on Earth Day.

An Eco-Friendly Approach to Spring Cleaning

Spring is the perfect time for organizing and cleaning. When the first warm rays of sun hit our faces, our first instinct is to pack up our winter coats and pull out the spring cleaning essentials.

When cleaning for spring, it’s easy to forget about being eco-minded. So we decided to call in an expert for this one. Hildy Neumann of Organizing Strategies dishes all of her secret tips and tricks for Green Organization.
Eco-Friendly Spring Cleaning

How can we incorporate Green Organizing into our spring cleaning this season?

Limit new things. If your goal is to slim down your belongings, ask yourself if you really need to buy replacements. If you must purchase, invest in fewer items of better quality.

Everything and anything! Storage containers are especially great to use in a different space. Or you can always give unwanted items new life by donating them.

Challenge yourself to recycle more. Return wire hangers to the dry cleaner, rubber bands to the post office, eyeglasses to your optometrist, and wine corks to your local Whole Foods.

What are some of the lesser-known benefits of Green Organization?

There’s a psychological lift and a sense of satisfaction that comes with living in a less toxic space. The fewer things you own, the less time and energy you need to spend caring for them.

What helpful tips would you give to someone who is new to Green Organizing?

People often start an organizing project by rushing out and buying new containers. This can result in more unnecessary stuff! A better way is to weed out items you don’t need to keep and then find containers to store those you really want – possibly by reusing or repurposing something you already own.

Another tip: set up permanent places in your home to collect items for donation or recycling. I have a bin in my closet for clothing and shoes, and another in my garage for things to go to the recycling depot.

What sparked your interest in Green Organizing?

My mom was a child during the Depression and my dad was an immigrant from wartime Europe. Avoiding waste in my childhood home was a practical necessity. As an adult, I was surprised to discover that not everyone thinks environmentally. It’s now part of my organizing approach to gently educate my clients on ways to be eco-friendly.

Do you have an eco-friendly fragrance that you recommend to clients?

The eco-friendliest fragrance is no added fragrance! Nothing smells as good to me as sheets that have been dried outside in the sun.

What are some quick and dirty tips that we can incorporate now to lessen next year’s organizing?

Organizing is easiest if you do it regularly rather than save it up for an all-out attack.
One trick: when you switch your closet for the season, hang items with the hangers facing backward. As you use them, rehang with the hangers facing forward. At the end of the season, you will immediately identify which ones haven’t been worn.

When organizing, what are the first things to tackle in order to prevent getting overwhelmed?

Start small. Something as small as getting one drawer under control provides immediate satisfaction and will motivate you to tackle something else. Another tip is to set a timer for 20 minutes. You’ll be amazed at what you can get organized in just a short burst of focused time.

For more information, reach out to Hildy on LinkedIn.

The latest sandal trends from Donald J. Pliner

From the beaches of Miami to the neon-lit streets of Las Vegas and beyond, Donald J. Pliner shoes and accessories are infused with bold, modern styling inspired by places frequented around the globe.

Donald Pliner combines unique details with luxurious materials to create sandal styles that span all occasions from cabana to soiree. The freshest designs to join our collection embody what’s going on in footwear right now. These are the top trends for the Donald Pliner pieces we have selected for the season.


Donald Pliner Doli Demi Wedges
Go ahead, flaunt that pedicure. Sandal season is officially open, and as you lighten your layers, it’s time to expose those pretty toes.


Donald Pliner Fae Woven Sandals
A little shimmer and shine instantly elevates a simple silhouette, taking it from day to evening, and from classic to unexpectedly modern.


Donald Pliner Vida Elastic Shoes
The intricate detailing of woven leather straps adds texture for an unexpected twist on a minimalist sandal — add a heel and you are ready for anything.


Donald Pliner Dani Wedges
Snakeskin prints add depth and dimension to metallic leather, offering fashionable flair to the most wearable of styles.


Donald Pliner Mules
A cork sole or heel lend a natural touch to modern styling that gives the shoe a chill, versatile vibe — special enough for seasonal events, yet easy enough for every day.

What are your favorite sandals and trends for spring and summer?

You’re the editor: Preview the 2017 backpack collection & get free shipping!

Tell us what you think and receive FREE Shipping on your next order.

2017 Kids' Backpacks: Garnet Hill Kids' Backpack Survey
Take the Garnet Hill Kids' Backpack Survey
Although it’s not quite the end of the school year, we’re already busy preparing for next fall. The brand-new 2017 backpack collection has just been photographed and we couldn’t wait to share a sneak peek with you!

New for 2017:

Every backpack and lunch pack in the collection is now made with recycled PET fabric, created from plastic bottles and reclaimed polyester.

And, as always, each bag is ergonomically designed to give your child the best possible fit.

We’re thrilled with how they turned out and would really love to know which ones you’ll like the most. Would you share your thoughts with us? Fill out our quick backpack survey, and you’ll receive a promo code via email for FREE Shipping on your next order!

Thanks for your feedback, and be sure to mark your calendar for June 15 to be among the first to shop the collection when it premieres online.

Creative tips for traveling with kids

Low-tech entertainment for your next family vacation

As the season of family road trips and airplane travel approaches, it’s a good idea to have some fresh strategies ready to keep kids happy and occupied. Tablets and phones can be great in a pinch, but we love creative and interactive activities. Here are a few favorites:

Ask the kids to document the trip with an instant-print camera

Ocean Photos
You know, the old-fashioned kind. Introduce your kids to the joy of snapping a photo and waving it around in the air as you eagerly wait to see what develops.

Pro tip: You’ll want to ration the film – maybe even hide some extra in your bag – so you don’t run out before you’ve even left the driveway.

Create a collection with free (or nearly free) found items

Travel Bag
Anything from rocks, to sea glass, to coins, to flowers for pressing. Next, decide on some creative ways to catalog where you found each item and what it reminds you of.

Pack a journal/scrapbook with supplies

Butterflies on a Book
Give your child a journal for doodling, writing, and pasting in their photos. A blank book plus a glue stick, stickers, crayons and colored pencils for the younger set, and markers for older kids are all a good start.

Bring along a family mascot

Golddish in a Bowl
Pack something meaningful, but not priceless, like a photo of a pet who couldn’t make the trip or silly knickknack from home. Tote them along for funny photo ops and share their journey with family and friends.

Play some travel-friendly family games

Remember I-Spy? License-plate bingo? 20 questions? All of those car-trip classics are just as fun for kids now as they were back then, and they have the added benefit of engaging little imaginations.

Refresh your memory on how to play, and discover more games you may not know.

If you have the space, pack UNO, Go Fish, and Travel Yahtzee for more options.

Make a big deal out of little thrills

Kids are experts at this. The hotel elevator, the frog in the grass by the parking lot, the tiny swing set at the playground (rather than the over-the-top rides at the amusement park).

As every parent knows, the things you expect to make an impression are often not what kids are still talking about months and years later. And really, that’s part of the magic.

Step back whenever possible and let the kids take the lead. You may find it’s the key to your best vacation memories.

What are your suggestions for keeping everyone happy on a family trip?

How to naturally dye easter eggs

If you have kids at home, at some point this week you’ll most likely be coloring Easter Eggs with your little ones. You’ve seen the easy dye-kits at the supermarket containing vials of artificial food coloring, but this year we’re on a quest to find a more natural, sustainable method for coloring eggs.

Turns out one of our favorite bloggers, Kaley Ann, has mastered naturally-dyed Easter eggs and suggested a few options to try.

1. Use ingredients in your fridge and pantry.

Kaley may have stumbled upon this idea by accident but we think it’s brilliant – and not to mention safe and fun for the kids.

Select ingredients from the list below and boil in a small pot for 10 minutes with salt. Then pour the boiled liquid into mason jars, and add vinegar and hard-boiled eggs. Let the eggs sit in your homemade dye for a few hours, or leave over night for a more vibrant color.

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

2 cups of chopped purple cabbage
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon vinegar

2-3 cups of blueberries
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon vinegar

1 beet, chopped
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon vinegar

1-2 tablespoons of paprika
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon vinegar

1-2 tablespoons of turmeric
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon vinegar

3 cups of chopped spinach
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon vinegar

2. Create ombre eggs.

Using the same method above, but remove an egg from the dye every hour or so. When you’re finished, your eggs can be arranged to create a beautiful gradient of color.

Kaley’s favorite ingredient to use for this is purple cabbage to create eggs in blue hues.
Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs in Blue

3. Keep them au naturel.

If you have access to a local farmers market that sells farm fresh eggs, you can try the ultimate natural Easter egg solution.
Natural Eggs
Just go pick out an array of beautiful farm fresh eggs in soft hues. From subtle blush tones to sea-foam greens to misty aquas, nature has already done the work for you!

Do you have any natural dye secrets to share? We’d love to hear them. Comment below.

Maple sugaring at The Rocks Estate in Bethlehem, NH

A horse-drawn wagon,
Bright blue tubing zigzagging from tree to tree,
The drip-drip-drip of sap falling into galvanized buckets,
Steam rising up from the sugarhouse as snow gently falls…

The Rocks Estate in Winter, Bethlehem, NH

Photo by Jason Tors

Maple sugaring is a time-honored tradition here in New England. It’s a sign that spring is on its way. To celebrate, we recently visited The Rocks Estate in nearby Bethlehem, New Hampshire for a little Maple Sugaring 101.

Collecting the sap requires the right conditions: warm days and chilly nights. And it takes 30-50 gallons of sap to create one gallon of maple syrup. Once the trees start to bud, the sap tastes different and the sugaring season is over.

Maple Syrup

Photo by Megan Bogdziewicz

We learned how to identify red maples (red buds at the end of the branches) and sugar maples (sharp needle-like buds), and how to responsibly tap trees. We identified a sugar maple in the tree line and used an auger to insert the tiny tap to get the sap flowing. When done correctly and placed in the right spot, the trees naturally fill in the hole after the season and it becomes almost invisible.

The sap didn’t taste like much directly from the tree, but we visited the steamy sugarhouse to see how it is boiled down into syrup and graded based on its color. After, we went back to the main building for a chef’s tasting and cooking demo from a local inn. Sweet and savory fritters with a touch of maple cranberry chutney — the end of a glorious maple-sugaring day.

The New Hampshire Maple Experience is offered in early springtime every year and The Rocks Estate is open all year long, offering various programs.

About The Rocks Estate

The heritage of The Rocks Estate reaches from the pastoral beauty of 1800s through the property’s modern-day role as a conservation and education center for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. Now home to the 1,400-acre North Country Conservation & Education Center for the Forest Society, The Rocks was once the summer home of Chicago businessman and International Harvester cofounder John Jacob Glessner and his family. In 1978, John and Frances Glessner’s grandchildren donated the estate, including 22 buildings, to the Forest Society, with the requirement that there always be a crop in the field. For more than three decades, that crop has been Christmas trees. Today, the Forest Society offers a host of other activities, from springtime maple tours and school programs to various natural history talks and customized experiential tours for small groups. The trail system at The Rocks is open daily to visitors.