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#81: Like a Fish

July 29, 2009

#81: Like a Fish

I must tell you! Swimming in a vintage swimsuit is more fun than swimming in a new, store-bought swimsuit. Once you’ve swam out into the middle of the lake, without a car or power line in sight, time and era disappear.

Swimming hole of choice for one of my darlings and me over the weekend, the Kennebec River in Maine.

Did you know that swimsuits were made from wool or flannel until the 1940’s? It wasn’t until the 1940’s and after the Great Depression that the fashion industry could pour their dollars into styling fabulous swimsuits modeled after present-day fashions. Elastic and lastex were introduced in the 1940’s to give ladies, as they say, va-va-va-voom. And it wasn’t until 1937 that mens suits went topless (ooh la la, sounds scandalous!).

Boys swimming in full bathing costume, tops up, in 1922, before swim trunks became the usual.

I love the notion of swimming in wool swimsuits, having so little to do with style or beauty, but everything to do with jumping in and throwing your cares away.

Vintage swimsuits, made from wool, late 1930’s to early 40’s.

Gals revealed their lovely backs for the first time while swimming in the 1930’s, the new suits replacing heavy, full coverage jumpers. In the 1930’s the ladies suit began to resemble what we know as the modern swimsuit.

Betty Lou

Not much for technology or support. Who needs it anyway?

Boys swim trunks, just my size. Keep an eye out for a matching top for me, will you?

Boys will be boys, 1939
1939 boys

early 1940’s

The tag looks more like one you might see on a ski sweater or heavy wool flannel hunting shirt.

Metal zipper detail at pocket, cotton-canvas belt with metal buckle.

I must tell you! If you haven’t, get yourself to a lake or the seaside. We look so much more beautiful against the blue backgrounds of the skies and waters than the grays of the city.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 11, 2009 6:26 am

    i have this incredible men’s wool swimsuit from the 20’s that doesn’t make it into my everyday outfits as much as it should.. but you’d love it! i’m always hoping that i’ll come across another one at some backwoods new hampshire antique store.. but it hasn’t happened yet!

    your blog is really great and i’m excited we’re internet friends!!

  2. Kristen permalink
    August 16, 2010 6:40 am

    I gasped when I saw the woollen swimmers! Wow I would love a pair of the boys swimming trunks.

    ps your blog is beautiful, I only just found it and have been going through it all!

  3. Mermaid permalink
    October 16, 2010 2:13 pm

    The boys had to wear bathing costumes like that as they were the norm. They were actually better as they kept boy swimmers warmer. The picture of the boy being pulled out of the water shows how prone to cold boys are when they swim.

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