Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Vintage Resort Fashions 2013 - My Favorites

Over the past month I have posted in my shop a number of wonderful swimsuits, playsuits, sundresses, and ensembles for sunny days. They span from the 1930s to the 1970s, for all ages.

My particular favorites include the following, many of which "flew off the shelves". :D My top pick? The Pictorial Review "dressmaker" swimming suit and dress from 1931 - what a rare treasure. Enjoy this view of summer fashion through the decades!



Sundresses and resort ensembles

Swimsuits, Beach Coats, Beach Dresses


Playsuits and Beach Ensembles for the Kids

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Resort Fashions 2013 - Swimsuit Retrospective 1945 Swimsuits - East Coast, West Coast

West Coast 1945
"California" suits for 1945 are styled for active swimming. Strictly functional, they have no shoulder straps, and minimum "diaper-style" pants. These suits are the ultimate development of the skintight knitted suits which first appeared in the early 1920s.

East Coast 1945
 These East Coast suits are a bit more dressy and feminine. Made of draped material, they hint at the beginning of regression to ruffles and frills. Many have long detachable skirts. The suits are paired to show each with and without the skirt.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Resort Fashions 2013 - Swimsuit Retrospective 1940, 1942, 1945

It was 1940 and the second year of the war. A girl could still appear on the beach and be in fashion with a one-piece suit. This was the year for short skating skirts on suits, many dots and flowers.

By 1942, the bra and pants had overtaken the one-piece suit in popularity. The bra is shrinking and becoming tighter. In the 1920s, wearing such a suit on Long Island would have caused arrest.

The Jantzen suit in 1945 made for mass sale is comparatively conservative. It has a fair-sized bra, and skirt that covers the pants.By now almost all US beaches have given up trying to regulate bathing suits.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Resort Fashions 2013 - Swimsuit Retrospective 1935, 1936, 1938

 This Jantzen suit was almost a bra and pants bathing suit but had a thin isthmus of material between top and bottom. Sun bathing had by now become a national craze, and women let down suits when no one was looking. :0 !

By 1936, bare midriff suits like this one were widespread. It is really the Riviera maillot cut in half. The bra was ot shaped but it was still too much for Rye, New York and Dover, New Jersey, where it was banned.

In 1938, "lastex" suits, very tight with molded bras, were worn everywhere. It was also the era of the clammy, easily torn, all-rubber suit. This was about the last summer that men wore any tops.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Resort Fashions 2013 - Swimsuit Retrospective 1932, 1933, 1934

Backless one-piece suits were the new thing! Skirts had now been hiked to the top of the thighs but necklines were still quite high and few had dared to think of a bare midriff.

The first really slinky bathing suit was the maillot, borrowed from the Riviera. Police had to control crowds when it was first displayed in a window in New York. It was skin-tight all over and cut very low in back.

This was an adaptation of the maillot. It consisted of a discreet halter fitting into separate pants. The bust was still not shaped. This conservative halter and pants paved the way for the two-piece bra and pants combination.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Resort Fashions 2013 - Swimsuit Retrospective - 1929, 1930, 1931

In 1929, the dressmaker suit still let a girl with a poor figure look pretty when she went swimming. This was a boom year when people drove to the beach in big open Cadillacs and paid $500 for a cabana.

In 1930, the Depression and a sudden trend to nudity set in together. On the beach, men and women looked about the same in their belted suits. In pools about the country, Eleanor Holm, an Olympic gold medalist swimmer, was beginning to be famous.

Stores sold 12,000,000 suits in the Depression. People had discovered swimming and sea bathing were cheap recreation. In 1932, the rage for dressmakers was declining except for older women.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Resort Fashion 2013 - Swimsuits Retrospective - 1920, 1924, 1926

The flapper era began with the shocking, tight-fitted knit suit. The neckline was lower but long underpants and stockings remained. This is the first popular suit made famous by Jantzen.

 This was a big year for Jantzen and the red diving girl insignia appeared on windshields of 3 million US cars. Stockings were at last discarded. Neckline is lower and armholes have begun to get bigger.

This year saw the introduction of the fancy "dressmaker" suit, tighter and more revealing but with frills. The popular materials were jersey and pure silk. By now women were really swimming, not merely bathing.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Resort Fashions 2013 - Swimsuit Retrospective - 1917, 1918, 1919

In the third year of World War I, a woman's bathing suit consisted of a heavy wool chemise which was worn over bloomers. Shoes and stockings were taken off only by the very daring and unconventional!

Although skirts got a little shorter, beach outfits like this, according to a fashion magazine, were designed, "to defy wind, wave and the scrutiny of man". Water wings were also much in use by women.

World War I ended with suits more form-fitting, still modest. Stockings were required. Tights under suit were called Annette Kellermans after the Australian swimmer who invented them.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Resort Fashions - Swimsuit Styles from 1915 to 1945

It's resort fashion month, and in this retrospective, courtesy of Life Magazine from 1945, I begin a series of posts that cover 30 years of swimsuit style, from 1915 to 1945.

I'll start with some history: In 1905 a lady's bathing suit was made of 10 yards of material. In 1945, it is made from one yard. Between these two statistics and two dates lie a social revolution and an annually expanding area of bare flesh.

Prime mover of the revolution was Annette Kellerman, the first famous woman swimmer. In 1910, Miss Kellerman became more famous by discarding the ruffles and heavy corset that went with bathing dresses and appearing unabashed in a tight, one-piece suit. This set a pattern for the Mack Sennett girls and the Atlantic City bathing beauties, who found that scanty suits could bring fame and fortune.

In 1926 Gertrude Ederle wore only brassiere and shorts to swim the English Channel. Her brief costume was chosen for athletic reasons but it gave a great many nonathletic women an idea. Women in the US took up the cult of sun bathing. More bodily area exposed and tanned each summer was acclaimed as the secret of good health.

Since 1930, US bathing suit manufacturers have made money by cutting something more off their suits each year. Neither sermons nor ordinances nor arrests have slowed the steady progress from bloomers to one-piece suit to bra and "diaper pants".



Friday, January 4, 2013

Resort Fashions 2013 - Vintage 1950 Styles!

January is here again, the time of year when those of us in the less-than-sunny climes are really looking forward to summer weather and the fashion that goes with it! And this is such a fun month for me, as I look at resort fashions of decades past and post about them. Be watching for a special series this month on swimsuits from 1915 to 1945 - does that sound fun or what?

Let's start with some cool summer fashions from 1950 featured in Women's Home Companion. Described as "playclothes", you can flash in the pool or sparkle by its side in these fashions that are "the clothes that California makes for summer".

 Here's a bright outlook - separates of bra top, clam diggers, beach coat, and short shorts in "sleek weave", a very soft denim.

Identified as perfect for bicycling or walking, this denim shirt ties in front, the striped denim "apron" is tied to look like a skirt, over denim Bermuda shorts.

By the pool, this white sleeveless dress in pique is casual enough for sunning, pretty and cool enough for many other occasions.

Here is a pretty spectator in a circular skirt of cotton in a gay farmhouse print and a blouse of tucked handkerchief linen.

A sailcloth camisole with a cuffed neckline and short shorts make an appealing playsuit. Add the button-down-the-front skirt and there's a sundress!

Stretched out to sun - her flattering slim one-piece suit of nylon dries in minutes. The poncho towel doubles as a beach coat!

Hand-screened tropical leaves distinguish these dresses for any summer evening in a patio or on a lawn. On the left, a two-piece cotton dress; on the right, a strapless dress of cotton twill.