11 Beautiful Vintage Bathing Suits From The 1920s And ’30s

by Jess Catcher
Jess grew up in Oklahoma before moving to New York to become a writer. She has a cat named Agnes.

As the weather warms up and we inch closer to the glorious days of summer, my mind is definitely drifting toward thoughts of spending days at the beach.

This, of course, also means thinking about finding the perfect bathing suit to splash around in. I’m a huge fan of vintage style, like all the beautiful prom dresses from the 1950s and ’60s, but I decided to dip back even further for some swimwear inspiration this year.

In the 1920s and ’30s, modesty was essential for both men and women hitting the beach in their bathing suits. Some of the “scandalous” options might seem a little ridiculous compared to today’s styles, but even showing the tiny bit of torso in #6 was likely seen as pretty shocking back in the day!

You have to admit, though, that there are plenty of adorable examples from the past that many folks wouldn’t mind donning today. Take a look below and let us know in the comments in which bathing suit you could see yourself hitting the waves.

And don’t forget to SHARE with your friends!

1. The "Spruce Girls"

spruce girls bathing suits

These 1929 bathing suits are actually made of thin strips of spruce-wood veneer, which is pretty darn creative. However, something tells me the lack of comfort made it so these never really became popular.

2. Measuring Up

measuring bathing suits

This “beach policeman” is checking to make sure these bathing beauties in 1922 aren’t showing more than six inches of skin between their knee and thigh.

3. "Friendly" Boxing Beauties

boxing in bathing suits

At least we know whoever lost this 1920s tussle had a soft place to land in the sand and didn’t have to worry about flashing anyone with their bloomer suits.

4. Showing Off Some Leg

washington bathing beach

Unlike bathers in Atlantic City’s boardwalk or the shores of Coney Island in New York, these gals were able to enjoy the sun without fear in a “scanty one piece” at Washington, D.C.’s, Bathing Beach in 1920.

5. Modest Floral Two-Piece

jane wyman in bathing suit

You can see just the slightest bit of actress Jane Wyman’s torso peeking out of this tasteful bikini in 1935.

6. Mermaid Club Members

mermaid club bathing suits

These ladies from Philadelphia kept things simple with their suits in 1920.

7. Line Of Legs

queensland beach bathing suits

Women started branching out more with halters and two pieces like these pretty swimmers did back in the 1930s.

8. Radio Beach Party

beach radio party

These speakers from 1923 were a little more cumbersome than the ones you see on beach blankets today, but I can’t believe some folks wore socks all the way up to their calves with their suits!

9. Wading In Waterfalls

1930s bathing suit

I love the buttoned belt on this chic 1936 one-piece!

10. Cast Mates Catching Rays

cast of 'the women' in bathing suits

These ladies were all in an Australian production of The Women in 1939, which called for this beachy attire. The style clearly shows the swimsuit fashion evolving into the 1940s.

11. Family Affair

wallace reid family bathing suits

Silent-film actor Wallace Reid passed down his summertime fashion sense to his son back in 1920, but I can’t get over the silly swimming cap on his head.

Did we miss any of your favorite iconic beach looks from the 1920s and ’30s? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to SHARE all the nostalgia with your friends!