Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Swimsuit Contest

So after my last blog, the input narrowed down the swimsuits from five to two. I went with the one with the most votes, as I loved both equally. So my selection for the upcoming Vintage Swimsuit Contest at the Tiki-Takular Surf Party & Car Show on June 30th is the 1950's Black Rose Marie Reid Swimsuit.

Let's learn a little about the woman that designed my "new" swimsuit. According to Rose Marie Reid: An Extraordinary Life Story, she got her start in the early 1930’s when she crafted a pair of swim trunks for her husband. She made them from an old duck-fabric coat and placed laces on the side. Prior to her creation, male swim trunks were all wool and when soaked in water became very heavy (and uncomfortable). Her husband arrange for a local department store to carry the swimwear designed by the reluctant Rose Marie. So began Reid Holiday Togs, Inc.

Rose's first swimsuits were fashioned from cottons and gabardines. Soon she expanded into silk brocades, bengalines, mirrored fabrics, special Lastexm, and Lurex brocaded satins.

In their first year, the Reid's showed six swimsuit styles. In later years over 100 designs were shown in one season. Annual sales soared from $32,000 in 1938 to $834,000 in 1946. In 1946, Rose Marie Reid began to compete with US swimsuit companies. By 1958, Rose Marie's annual sales were $14,000,000.

Some of her more notable/famous swimsuits included:
- A glistening white swimsuit with a lobster placed on it (inspired by surrealist Shiaparelli down with the same theme).
- A gold metallic suit with a price tag of $90.00 (most swimsuits sold for less than $7.00 at that time). Rita Hayworth purchased one of the gold metallic suits. This was the purchase that really changed the social status of Rose Marie Reid.
- A gold suit created in 1951 that was black lace and 24-karat gold plating (it sold for over $100.00 at Lord & Taylor)

Rose Marie wanted every woman to feel beautiful and put together in her swimsuits. She developed:

- Tummy control panels
- Paneling that reproportioned the body
- A long-line bra with plastic or metal boning that created a divided natural bust line (for full bust)
- Vertical stripes that slimmed in a dress-like design (for full hips)
- "Magic Length" swimsuits for the long-waisted
- "Stay down" legs via a crotch panel
- Brief skirts (for full figures)

Rose Marie also found that pastels and dark colors seemed best for hiding figure flaws and that she could manipulate fabric grans for rigidity or elasticity depending on the placement. She made sure to include adjustable fittings and closures for a more tailored effect.

As a little side note, here is a song that I am absolutely loving at the moment courtesy of Cheeky Chick:


Hope you are having a wonderful day!

Baci Tutti


  1. Well that does it, I have to learn how to dance now. And I have to replicate that little green/grey dress she's wearing.
    Really interesting reading about the swimsuit. Might have to try and get my hands on that book.

    1. That is Lindy Hop. I am okay at it; getting better. I do a little more West Coast Swing, Jive, and little bits of some other dances.

      I am excited to wear that swimsuit!