To celebrate the official start of summer, here’s a family photo of assorted females enjoying a day at the lake. It’s hard to find pictures of older women in bathing suits, and I think most of us over fifty know why.
My friend Lizzie Bramlett of the blog The Vintage Traveler sent me this photo, along with the note that the oldest woman has on the most interesting style. Standing in the back, the mother/grandmother wears a knitted wool bathing suit, decorated with an abstract design. Or is it a stylized bow? A fanciful comet?
It is not as wonderful as the authentic Schiaparelli knitted suit in Lizzie’s own collection, but it certainly shows that she had a sense of style!
How convenient that this photo includes a date. Knitted wool bathing suits were going out of style by the late 1930s, replaced by fabrics woven together with lastex, the recently invented precursor to lycra. This new generation of suits offered more fashion possibilities, as well as more support. As we can see on the curvy young woman in the back, a wet wool suit could be very revealing.