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Swimsuit History & Care of Vintage Swimwear


 History & Care of Vintage Swimwear



We have a passion for vintage swimwear. Swimsuits, bathing suits, bikini's, tankini's, malliots, trunks and cover-ups; you'll find them all here. We strive to always have a large selection of bombshell beauties in a range of sizes from makers such as Jantzen, Rose Marie Reid, Cole of California, Roxanne of Hollywood, DeWeese Design, Speedo and Miss Hawaii to name a few.

When purchasing swimwear, start with one size larger than your dress or pant size. Swimwear should be a snug fit. As with most swimwear, when the fabric gets saturated, the suit will stretch approximately a quarter of an inch. For normal care of your swimsuit, you should hand wash your suit with a mild cleanser and rinse with clear water to remove chlorine, salt water, suntan oils and bacteria from your swimsuit. Blot with a towel, don't wring out your suit and dry away from direct sunlight and heat. Don't use harsh chemicals or detergents.

Most early swimwear from the 1920's was made of dark wool. Wool can be very heavy when wet but most wool swimwear will remain soft when worn in water. About 1925, an elastic, two-way stretch textile made from Latex was introduced, called Lastex. By the 1930s, the one-piece swimsuit gave way to the belted suit with or without top for men, although many still wore the two-piece suits. For women, the lastex invention offered a more form fitted suit and the leg lines started to rise. The first completely synthetic fabric was invented by DuPont in 1938. Called nylon, it was derived from coal, air, water and other substances and spun into yarn. Europeans called it polyamid and polyamide. In 1946, designer Louis Reard designed the Bikini, named after Bikini Atoll in the South Pacific. In the 1950's swimwear became more structured and offered similar support as undergarments. Bikinis and maillots would come with bandeau-style, strapless tops. We begin to see padding in the bust, and modesty panels in the front for the suits. In 1958, Spandex was invented and subsequently marketed in 1962 by DuPont as Lycra, revolutionizing the swimwear industry and allowing swimsuit designers to create a more fitted, lightweight swimsuit product.

In the 60's the bikini got smaller, we saw the Monokini and in the 70's the Thong was introduced along with Tan-thru swim suits. The 80's brought along the french cut in swimwear, leg openings high cut on the hips. Clearly as the decades have evolved swimwear has seemed to have gotten smaller along with the ability and desire to show more skin. Some current swimwear designers and manufacturers are pulling vintage designs from the archives and recreating them with modern day techonology and materials.



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