What is better than a Summer day on the beach?
Going to the beach or the local swim hole was a popular activity in the 1920s. Whether one actually went swimming or not, everyone wanted to be seen in their fashionable beach wear.
Swimwear was originally made out of wool in the early 1920s. However this wouldn't last for long, it was the roaring twenties after all! Wool was soon replaced with a more a swim-friendly ribbed jersey material, and modest high necklines were exchanged for V-necks. Of course, not everyone supported these new trends, and measures were taken to ensure public decency. In some places, police officers were known to patrol the beach measuring ladies suits to ensure they weren't showing too much skin. Even so, the age of the modern swimsuit was not to be stopped, perhaps partly due to the creation of bathing beauty pageants.
So what did it take to be fashionable on a beach in the Jazz Age?
- The swimsuit was the most important element of proper beach attire. In the early 20's many women wore a swim dress overtop longer shorts that were attached underneath. Some women dared to wear the slightly more risque two-piece unit, referred to as the Jantzen suit. The Jantzen resembled a tank top sewn to a pair of swim shorts that reached midway down the upper leg. These suits were often brightly colored and made of either jersey or cotton material.
- For many, swim shoes (or beach boots) were a must. In the early 20's beach boots were typically lace-up boots that reached just above the calf, but they eventually evolved into smaller more beach-friendly shoes made of Duck canvas.
- Most women wore colorfully decorated swim caps to compliment their outfit and to protect their bobbed hair.
Many of these facts and images were gathered from vintagedancer.com. I highly recommend this article (link) if you would like to learn more about 1920's beach wear.
Ps. If you enjoy historical fiction I think you’ll love my cozy mystery series set in the 1920s, 30s, and 50s. I hope you'll give them a try!