AtoZ Letter B...1950's Bathing Beauty Bombs

I have my Mother and her snap shot camera to thank for this photo of her two bathing beauties and their brother.  The trademark border design of Fox Photo Co. puts this Family Jewel Photo and the rest of Mother's 1950's Collection right in the Retro Era of our lives.

Of course we didn't know we were living in what would become this Retro Rage some 60 years later.  No, we were just having a day at the lake during the hot summer of 1955.

Neither did we think of ourselves as bathing beauties, but as I look at my sister in her cute pigtails, full bangs, dry bathing suit and posed smile...'me thinks I was set up'!

Yep, set up to look like a drowned rat! 

Which I very nearly was...drowned...that is!  I couldn't swim, but brother was a fish and took great delight in luring me out in the knee deep water...deep for me as you can tell by the long legs.  He would leap out of the water like a flying fish and drag me to the fathomless bottom and hold me there until one of our parents noticed my kicking legs and precious air bubbles floating out to sea. 

It does look like the ocean, huh?   It sure did to me, a non-swimmer.  Which brings us to the real 'Bathing Beauties'...friends of my mother.  One with the latest look in swim suits and bathing caps, and the other probably a non-swimmer looking like...well not like a drowned rat.

Through most of the 1950's women's bosom and derriere were pretty much completely covered with the swim suit creating a shapely figure.  There was under-wiring, built in bras and panty girdles to make a gal more or less than she really was.  You will notice those fashion attributes did not make it to the kids swim wear line...unless they looked like my model sister who did not get in water any deeper than her ankle. 

The 'Bathing Cap' modeled by mother's friend was touted as the 'Magic Inner Rim Cap' which guaranteed a water tight fit and a permanent red line around your head.   Kind of explains the hairline showing and ears out on this lady. 

My mother must have had her Magic Cap pulled down over her ears.  How else can I explain her not coming to my rescue?

I read where Bloomingdale's in June 1957 advertized these Caps for $1.25 and Jantzen advertised the Caprice Swimsuit for $22. 

Today they are part of the Retro Rage Collectibles.  Makes me wonder what my 1962 Swimsuit would go for these days.

Yes, I finally learned to swim and got a swimsuit that definitely created MORE than what I had for a shapely figure.  Fashion wise, it was still in the late 50's  with an addition of what we called 'Boy Legs'...a band around the suit that kept it from riding up one's skinny no butt behind, and preserved one's sense of modesty in the front.

That was especially important to me as I not only learned to swim, but became a pretty good water skier who could not keep my skis together when being pulled up and out of the water. 

I loved that swimsuit with it's elastic straps, revealing back and 'More' on top and 'Modest' on bottom.  That is until the 'More' floated out to sea and the 'Modest' fell to my knees in the splitting of the 'More and Modest' from a fall off the ski's.
 I was a Bathing Beauty Bomb in my Birthday Suit!


Wendy said...

Bwaaahaaaahaaa -- couldn't have happened to a better gal! Oh but seriously, I remember those horrible swimcaps. But we had 'em all -- white ones, colorful ones, ones with 3D flowers. And yes, I think we still have the red marks on our foreheads.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue - well the whole gambit is here .. bathing beauties of the 20th C .. I remember my school one - that was jersey?! Not a good idea ... I did learn to swim - but wasn't that brilliant at it .. the bikini era - I hate to think about .. cheers Hilary

Anonymous said...

Love the post and the pictures! I did some skiing myself as a kid and lost a bunch of "more"s coming up on a slalom ski (I think the modest had to be surgically removed!)

Shilpa Garg said...

Lovely pictures and I liked that little 'drowned rat' too :)

Pratikshya said...

curious about 1950's :) :)

Tasha Duncan-Drake said...

Your brother sounds like a menace, but then I understand that's what brothers are supposed to be. I only have a sister, so I don't know, but I am reliably informed by my husband that his cousin had to stop him killing his younger brother a time or two ;). "permanent red line around your head" - LOL and I thought our swimming caps were bad at school.
Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

Great pictures! I almost drowned the life guard when I took lessons. And of course I had a swim cap, white with a blue flower to match my swimsuit. Luckily we had a back yard small pool since I never really learned to swim.

Joanne said...

cute kids becoming bathing beauties. I was always the drowned rat at the shore - ocean waves buffeting me about. Nice swim down memory lane

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I never lost my one piece suit while skiing, but, I did have trouble keeping my top covering me when I wore a bikini skiing.

Ann said...

Oh Sue those are great memories, even the onery brother. I had all sisters and we didn't pick too much on each other.
My Mom and Dad had a cabin at the lake of the ozarks when I was growing up. I spent ALL summer in the water and on skis.I learned to swim early and still swim for exercise.

Sue McPeak said...

Thanks for visiting. There will be more of the 1950's. I was not able connect with your blog for a return visit. Your name took me to Google+ where there was no link to your Letter 'B' Blog. I would love to visit. If you return, please leave a url link.

Barbara In Caneyhead said...

LOL Coming along in the 70's I wasn't allowed to have a bikini. I had "Baby Doll" with the bikini bottoms and the pieces of fabric that hung from the bra part. Real cute out of the water. But floated up and stayed in the way in the water.
Finally at age 38 I spent a summer in bikinis and rocked them! Now the way I float, folks holler "There she blows" when they see me. ;)

Su-sieee! Mac said...

Cool post. I didn't learn to swim until I was in high school, and then I became a fish.:-)
The View from the Top of the Ladder

Anne M Bray said...

Love your description of your MORE on top swimsuit. Great story.

Paula said...

These pictures are just wonderful! And oh how I remember those lovely swim caps!


Related Posts with Thumbnails