Saturday, May 02, 2009

I love the styles of yesteryear's bathing suits. I recall with great memories a bathing suit my Mom gave to me that had been hers. It was a corset style suit with a little bit of skirt over the built in panties and made my tiny waist look even smaller and my small bust line look a bit larger. I wore that suit in the hot Phoenix sun for two summers until it fell apart. Had I known then what I know today I'd still have that suit in my collection and I would have worn something more practical for every day. Ah the mistakes of youth.

Bathing suits have been around since the Greeks. Actually the bikini is very similar to early Greek bathing suits. How we got from those minimalist suits from Ancient Greece to the cover it all up wool suits of the 1890s I'll never know.

As time passed, suits got a bit briefer like in the 1920s and 1930s. The bathing suits were a bit briefer for men than woman (surprise surprise) such as the ones seen here which are available from
Born Too Late Vintage on Ruby Lane:


Vintage 1930s Welgrume Duckies Swim Trunks W30 H32



Vintage 1930s Wool Worsted Wool Mans Full Bathing Suit Swim Suit Chest 36 W36 H36



Once the 1940s hit swimsuits really started to cling to womens curves such as those in the pictures of Betty Grable in her pin-up bathing suit or Esther Williams in her swimming movies all dolled up and looking great.

Bathings suits give a woman or for that matter a man a way to show what they're made of. Suits of the 1940s and 1950s had modesty panels across the hip area in lots of women's swimsuits.
Two piece suits were available and of course American Sportswear designer, Claire McCardell, designed some spectacular swimwear.


Vintage 60s Red, White & Blue Modest Bathing Suit Swim Suit B34 W32 H38 B cup Size 14T




Sale Vintage 1960s Roxanne Spider Mum Bathing Suit Swim Suit D cup B38 W32 H36


However, none were near as brief as the bikinis of the late 1960s to the present. And of course there was the famous monokini designed by Rudi Gernreich in 1964 that let almost all of it hang out. Bathing suits after the 1960s still included the ever popular tank suit for those serious swimmers and for those more interested in being seen or tanning, all types of bikinis such as string bikinis, etc. were available as well.

Now that I'm the parent of two young girls bathing suit decisions are looming ahead for this summer. At this point, however, my girls are young enough that they're not very interested in letting as much show as possible but that day will come soon enough. For now, my husband and I have another summer to be able to dodge that bullet!

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Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania, United States
We are the owners of Mod Mary's Vintage on Etsy.