In Pompeii , depictions of Venus wearing a bikini were discovered in the Casa della Venere,    in the tablinum of the House of Julia Felix ,  and in an atrium garden of Via Dell'Abbondanza. The bathing gown of the 18th century was a loose ankle-length full-sleeve chemise -type gown made of wool or flannel that retained coverage and modesty. Inspired by the introduction of females into Olympic swimming he designed a close-fitting costume with shorts for the bottom and short sleeves for the top. Rayon was used in the s in the manufacture of tight-fitting swimsuits,  but its durability, especially when wet, proved problematic. With the development of new clothing materials, particularly latex and nylon , swimsuits gradually began hugging the body through the s, with shoulder straps that could be lowered for tanning.
Though many pageants are playing down the bikini contest part,  participants in some beauty contests like the Miss Earth or the Miss Teen USA pageants, are required to wear bikinis as part of the competition. Early women's bodybuilding was about bikini contests. After protests in the s Gloria Miller Fudge started real bodybuilding. History[ edit ] In the United States, beauty pageants of women in bathing costumes became popular from the s. However, such events were not regarded as respectable.