Today was cold, dreary and rainy. Oh how I cannot wait for summer to be here! I love the warm sun and the lazy clouds by the pool... the hot sand and cool waves at the beach... Sandals, sundresses, floppy hats... Most of all though, SWIMSUITS! For vintage gals there are quite a few places to choose from. Yet, it seems as though the options are all rather similar. Or is that just me? Although I find the silhouettes to be flattering and pretty, the pattern choices are about the same everywhere I've looked! Red and black polka dots, cherry print or solid colors.
While Modcloth has some attractive colors, half the swimsuits look as if they are made of tacky, shiny, cheap material. Maybe that's just the lighting in the photos??? Modcloth also has really ugly swimsuits like the cheetah one to the right. (On another note, I don't understand monokinis. I personally don't find them attractive or flattering. Kinda makes me think your dog or hamster chewed a giant hole in your swimsuit.) From what I have seen online there are three major brands that have the cutest retro swimsuits available: Jantzen, Pinup Couture, and Esther Williams.
Jantzen recently celebrated it's 100th birthday!!! (January 27, 1910 to January 27, 2010! Talk about standing the test of time!) On the Jantzen website they have a time line of Jantzen's history:
"In 1910, Portland Knitting Company began in downtown Portland, Oregon, with a few hand-knitting machines above a tiny retail store. Little did founders Carl Jantzen, Roy and John Zehntbauer know that they would achieve both fame and controversy as swimwear pioneers. Producing a wool suit for a rowing team they began offering “bathing suits” in their catalog. Early advertisements guaranteed the famous rib-stitch “gives that wonderful fit”."
Jantzen's 2010 swimsuit collection is inspired by the "bathing beauties" of the 1950's. Here is a link to see the new collection. The average price range for a Jantzen swimsuit online is between 80 and 150 dollars. A bit pricey if you ask me, but very well made, comfortable and long lasting swimsuits.
This is where I would write about Pinup Couture, but their website is down for maintenance... So I'll have to leave that for another time.
Esther Williams Collection of swimsuits was started by Esther Williams herself, along with an above ground pool business after her "swimming movies" career was over.
"Esther Williams set multiple national and regional swimming records in her late teens as part of the Los Angeles Athletic Club swim team. Unable to compete in the 1940 Summer Olympics because of the outbreak of WWII, Williams joined Billy Rose's Aquacade. It was at the Aquacade that Williams caught the attention of MGM scouts. After appearing in several small roles, Williams made a series of films in the 1940s and early 1950s known as "aqua-musicals", which featured elaborate performances with synchronized swimming and diving."
Esther Williams Swimsuits are classy and authentic looking, while their prints give you the option to stay authentic looking or venture into more modern prints.
The prices are much more affordable than Jantzen, ranging from 60 to 90 dollars. Now I can't attest for the quality or durability of their swimsuits, but the styles are VERY similar to Jantzen. So I would recommend it as an alternative if you can't afford a Jantzen swimsuit or can't get your hands on one!