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June 1, 2024

22 Cool Vintage Ads of Jantzen Swimwear From the 1950s

Jantzen is a brand of swimwear that was established in 1916 and first appeared in the city of Portland, Oregon, United States. The brand name later replaced the name of the parent company that manufactured the branded products.

The brand featured a logo image of a young woman, dressed in a red one-piece swimsuit and bathing hat, assuming a diving posture with outstretched arms and an arched back. Known as the Jantzen “Diving Girl,” the image in various forms became famous throughout the world during the early twentieth century.

Business perked up in 1941 after Jantzen added sweaters, foundations (girdles) and active sportswear to its basic line. In December of that year, the attack on Pearl Harbor changed the economic picture through 1945. Production of civilian goods declined while military orders increased. Military items produced by Jantzen included sweaters, swim trunks, sleeping bags, gas mask carriers, and parachutes. With the war's end, the company stressed new styling by nationally known designers such as Louella Ballerino. Nylon was a preferred fabric. The bikini introduced in France in 1946, set the style for brevity in swimwear and became a worldwide fashion classic.

The 1950s saw the expansion of highways, auto transport and air travel. Greater mobility allowed Americans to venture out to the beaches, lakes and parks for entertainment and relaxation. Florida was popular with vacationers and water sports enthusiasts. Swimwear and casual wear sales were high. Combinations of fibers and quick dry synthetics were a favorite. The late 1950s saw the introduction of commercial jet airliners, which made visits to exotic locations practical for many. Construction of swimming facilities expanded. Jantzen, with its licensees and design studios in some eighteen countries around the globe, provided a great variety of styles and fabrics from its international affiliates.


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