Two Piece Bathing Suits, 1930s

I was looking for an illustration of men’s swimsuits from the 1930s for a post about Tattoo brand makeup. I found this:

Illustration by Cordrey from Woman's Home Companion, April 1937.

Illustration by Cordrey from Woman’s Home Companion, April 1937.

That woman’s print bathing suit on the right looked familiar — and it was.  I had posted its photograph from an article about cruise wear that appeared in Ladies’ Home Journal in 1936:

Photograph of swimsuits, Ladies' Home Journal, February 1936.

Photograph of swimsuits, Ladies’ Home Journal, February 1936.

Not just the bathing suit, but the pose is very similar. So is the hairstyle. It’s an intriguing insight into how illustrators worked. [Note: The illustration is not from the same magazine as this photo, but this is apparently the reference photo used for the drawing which was made a year later.] To see more fashions from this article about 1936 cruise clothes, click here.  [I remember that a very similar print in the same color was available as a chintz decorator fabric in the 1980s. I made a tablecloth from it. Fashion recycling keeps on happening….]

Technically, I doubt that it’s a two piece swimsuit; the top is probably attached to the waist of the shorts in front, like this white bathing suit from the black and white illustration: WHC april 1937 p 3 nmen bathing suits tans illus Cordrey 500

While searching for the print swimsuit photo, I found some other inspiring red (or pink) and white print bathing suits for 1936 – 37:

Story illustration by a. parker for The Delineator, May 1937.

Story illustration by a. parker for The Delineator, May 1937.

Butterick Early Spring Home Catalog, 1936. From an ad in The Delineator. This is Butterick pattern No. 6586.

Butterick Early Spring Home Catalog, 1936. From an ad in The Delineator. This is Butterick pattern No. 6586.

I also like this two-piece red and white swimsuit decorated with seahorses, issued by McCall’s in 1950:

"No. 1552, the Glamour Mermaid swim- or sun- suit." McCall Needlework Catalogue, May 1950.

“No. 1552, the Glamour Mermaid swim- or sun- suit.” McCall Needlework Catalogue, May 1950.

The skirt-like shorts from 1936 were still around in 1950. There were versions for adults or for little girls. For complete descriptions, see the mother and daughter fashions by clicking here.

Advertisements

6 Comments

Filed under 1930s, Bathing Suits, Hairstyles, Menswear, Sportswear, Swimsuits

6 responses to “Two Piece Bathing Suits, 1930s

  1. THat illustration that is taken from the photograph is unbelievable. That’s the kind of thing that can land one in copyright court!

    So, what is the earliest 2 piece you have seen in your magazine searches?

    • My magazine searches haven’t been done in chronological order. I have big chunks of the twenties and early thirties waiting for me. When I get back to the twenties & thirties, I’ll keep an eye out for two-pieces. What years should I start with, in your opinion?

  2. Pingback: Before Bikinis - Alexa Kang

  3. Pingback: My January Celebration and Giveaway | witness2fashion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s