Swimwear By Decade- 1940's

1940s Swimwear

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.

1940s swimwear

A one piece with halter top and shorts. I love her sunglasses.

1940s swimwear

The skirted bottom.

1940s swimwear

A ruffled skirted panty and halter top. This photo is from the Met Museum archive. Truly lovely.

1940s swimwear

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!


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xo,

Karen 

Swimwear By Decade- 1930'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.

Claudette Colbert looking gorgeous in a simple white classic belted maillot.

This summer my "Fashionable History" segments are on swimwear by decade. To read about the 1920's click here.


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xo,

Karen 

Swimwear By Decade- 1920's

In the 1920's swimwear started revealing the body more then ever before. The modern maillot was invented. The adrogynous athletic tank style of the maillot suited the fashions of the 20's as women became liberated from long skirts. Even though they were made in wool jersey and often worn with little booties these suits are the forerunners of the suits we wear today.

This picture is tiny, but the girls here "jazz" up their suits with flapper hats!

Although this pic doesn't actually show swim suits, it is too adorable not to share. Parasols were your best sun protection back then.

I love these ladies!

They have it all, decorated maillots, parasol, hats, and musical instruments.

Adorable!

My "Fashionable History" segment this summer is Swimwear by Decade.

Last week was the 1900's.

Next week, 1930's!


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xo,

Karen