Vintage ’40s swimsuits for women: Old-fashioned beach & poolside fashions

Note: This article may feature affiliate links to Amazon or other companies, and purchases made via these links may earn us a small commission at no additional cost to you. Find out more here.

LIFE Jul 26, 1948 - swimsuit
Vintage ’40s swimsuits often featured ruching, boy short cuts, and halter straps. This old-fashioned swimwear like modest one-pieces and high waist bikinis had more class than sass.

Vintage swimsuits from the ’40s: Take care to be pretty at seashore & pool

By Betty Clarke, Valley Morning Star (Harlingen, Texas) June 27, 1948

It is a very peculiar thing, indeed, that women who can be so ladylike in restaurants, theaters and other public places toss propriety to the winds when they hit the beach.

Perhaps the sea breezes or the sailboats on the lake give them that salty feeling. Most of them act as if they were in some private little corner of the world tagged “no trespassing.”

Some who wouldn’t dream of crossing their legs at a tea in their own home will sprawl on the sand in complete abandon when they are on a public beach.

LIFE May 24, 1948 - swim suits (1)

Swimsuits this year

This year’s crop of bathing suits demands the utmost decorum on the part of the wearer. If you must coat yourself with grease from forehead to toes, please don’t stretch out like a starfish.

You can acquire a beautiful tan with a good suntan lotion. Just recline casually on the beach instead of trying to practice the antics of a contortionist.

Simplicity lends charm to beach playgirls. Wear a simple hairdo, a smart dignified bathing suit which still can be eye-catching, a light makeup and you can be the belle of the beach.

Skip the top-knot of curls, the dangling earrings, the armful of bracelets, the too-ornate sunglasses, the huge fringed beach hat — unless you are the type.

1949 Jantzen swimwear

LIFE Jun 21, 1948 swimsuit

Frou-frou bathing suits are for the very young. The matron who dons one looks nothing short of ridiculous. Young girls with attractive figures can wear the strapless and midriff suits with perfect ease.

If you are fat, stocky and short, stick to the long full-skirted suit which coves the thighs and the bulging diaphragm. Mother and daughter suits are cute, but not for fat mammas.

MORE: ’60s swimwear: 8 snazzy swimsuits from 1967

Mind your feet

If your feet are in bad shape, do not expose them unnecessarily. Corns and callouses are not a pretty sight, and if you neglected to rid yourself of these ugly things. wear beach shoes, except when you are taking a dip.

This is a sandal season, and you may be tempted to wear some of the bright, beautiful sandals now so popular. Leave them alone, however, unless your feet are pretty and unblemished.

Sandal wearers will have to keep their feet pretty and smooth with creams or oil. Gay nail polishes will help their toes to twinkle.

Vintage swimsuit styles from summer of 1948 (3)

Vintage swimsuit styles from summer of 1948 (4)

ALSO SEE: Women: Do you have the ideal figure? Here’s what ‘they’ thought in 1950

May 24, 1948 Vintage swimsuits by Cole

Vintage swimsuit styles from summer of 1948 (2)

Vintage swimsuit styles from summer of 1948 (1)

NOW SEE THIS: 36 summery vintage ’50s swimsuits for women, when strapless one-piece suits with ruffles were hot

If you liked this post, please share it! You can also get our free newsletter, follow us on Facebook & Pinterest, plus see exclusive retro-inspired products in our shop. Thanks for visiting!

More stories you might like

Check out our books!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Because the fun never ends:

Join the fun

Don’t miss out on the latest and greatest vintage stuff!

Sign up for our free weekly newsletter here.