Images via fashiongonerogue.com
Images via fashiongonerogue.com
For my Fashionable History segment this summer I am exploring swim wear by decade. Here we are at the 1950's. Swim wear becomes form fitting and curvaceous. The hourglass look is in. Shaping and support are key factors and swimsuits resemble corsets in many ways. Strapless one pieces are favored over the bikini but are very sexy with bias shaping, ruching, and padded cone shaped bra cups. As shorter curled hairstyles become important, so does the swim cap to protect the hair from swimming. Here's a look at some gorgeous photos.
Gorgeous use of plaid with bias shaping and a ruffle at the bust.
A great shot of the popular ruched style on the left and chevron stripes on the right.
Matching swim caps! Divine!
Truly form fitting!
With fabric shortages during wartime in the 1940's, the US Government issued the L-85 order which makes smaller swimsuits patriotic. Cutouts in the midriff and bikinis become very glamorous and by the end of the decade appear on every beach. Hollywood gets in on the act by ensuring that their pin-ups, Lana Turner, Rita Hayworth, and Betty Grable to name a few, expose their bellies. With two pieces, more options and combinations are available. The basic top styles introduced are the halter, the shelf bra, and the bandeau. For the bottoms which are always high waisted and cover the belly button and low on the hips, the choices are; the skirted panty, shorts, the sheath, and the sarong. These style lines can also be seen in the one pieces as well. The girls above showcase many of these styles.
A one piece with halter top and shorts. I love her sunglasses.
The skirted bottom.
A ruffled skirted panty and halter top. This photo is from the Met Museum archive. Truly lovely.
The classic 1940's look. Shelf bra halter and the sheath bottom.
Polka dots! Rolled hair!
This summer my Fashionable History segments are about swim wear by decade. Next week is the 1950's!
In the 1930's sun bathing became more popular as an inexpensive recreation. Athletic swimming and synchronized swimming was also popular. The suits reflect the need to show more skin to the sun and be more streamlined for water sports. Belted maillots were popular with boy cut legs or slim skirts. The exposed v-back was invented and a few daring ladies even exposed their midriffs with the first bikinis. The suits above are from a 1930's catalog. I love the red and white striped one on the right!
Jean Harlow striking a pose. Her suit is very glamorous for the time and shows a lot of skin.
Beach athletics. Notice her V-back and belted waist.
For the summer my Fashionabale History segment will be about bathing suits and swimwear by decade. The early 1900's, Victorian/Edwardian, is going to start off the season. Seaside vacations became very popular in the early 1900's. Typical swimwear was often burdensome and heavy for our standards but for the time it must have felt light and alluring. Wool dresses were the norm worn with black tights, lace up booties, and puffy caps. Imagine swimming in that! But as you can see in the delightful photos below, the girls seem to be having fun.
Love the stripes!
This one above is atypical. She is showing a lot of skin. Notice the strange beach accessories....victorian boots and muff! Don't leave home without them. She is lovely though.
Ready to dive! This is adorable but a bit fussy for the beach.