December 6, 2018

Just Before Bikini: Glamorous Photos of Classic Beauties That Defined the 1930s Swimwear Styles

While the 1920s started the trend for leisure activities like swimming, it was economic changes in the 1930s that made swimming a past time for everyone, not just those lucky enough to live near a beach.

From left to right: Gertrude Michael, Judith Barrett, and Mary Carlisle in swimsuits

Yarn covered in rubber invented in 1931 to make swimwear much more comfortable and lighter to wear. Previously all wool swimsuits looked fine dry but sagged terribly when wet and weighed a few extra pounds, too. With less sag, thinner material and a stiffer stretch to it, it was possible for designers to build in support for women — girdles and light bras.  This helped women of all shapes look and feel better in swimwear.

The 1930s swimwears could be made of cotton or Rayon, which was more comfortable against the skin than wool.

These glamorous photos captured portraits of classic beauties that defined the 1930s swimwear styles.

Alice White

Andrea Leeds

Anita Louise

Ann Dvorak

Ann Evers

Ann Sheridan

Anna May Wong

Bette Davis

Betty Furness

Betty Grable

Blanca Vischer

Blanche Le Clair

Carole Lombard

Cecilia Parker

Clara Bow

Dorothy Arnold

Dorothy Dare

Dorothy Lamour

Dorothy Sebastian

Eleanor Troy

Esther Ralston

Frances Drake

Gale Sondergaard

Gertrude Michael

Ginger Rogers

Grace Bradley

Irene Hervey

Jean Arthur

Jean Harlow

Jeanette MacDonald

Joan Blondell

Joan Crawford

Joan Fontaine

Joan Marsh

Joyce Compton

Judith Barrett

June Clyde

June Travis

Karen Morley

Lola Todd

Lucille Ball

Lynn Bari

Madge Evans

Margaret Lockwood

Mary Carlisle

Olivia de Havilland

Patricia Ellis

Paulette Goddard

Priscilla Lawson

Raquel Torres

Rita Hayworth

Sally Rand

Sheila Darcy

Thelma Todd

Toby Wing

Una Merkel

Victoria Vinton





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