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January 5, 2024

35 Vintage Snaps of People in Swimsuits From the 1920s and 1930s

During the 1920s and1930s, people began to shift from “taking in the water” to “taking in the sun”, at bathhouses and spas, and swimsuit designs shifted from functional considerations to incorporate more decorative features. Rayon was used in the 1920s in the manufacture of tight-fitting swimsuits, but its durability, especially when wet, proved problematic, with jersey and silk also sometimes being used.

In many ways, men’s and women’s swimsuits in the 1920s and 1930s were nearly identical. Both were deep-cut ribbed wool tank top over a snug fitting pair of shorts that were sewn in at the waistline. The “skirt” of the swim-top came from up from knee-length of a few years before to around mid-thigh level. It was “too much” to raise the top any further, revealing men’s personal parts. Instead, more suit material was removed from under the arms and around the back, supposedly making it easier to swim, but mostly to reveal more muscles.

Take a look at these vintage snaps to see what swimsuits looked like in the 1920s and 1930s.


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