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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • SUMMER IN ITALY, 1951

Sox Appeal: 1924

Sox Appeal: 1924

"Mme. Prochnik, July 7, 1924." For the fashionistas among us, as well as the morbidly curious, here's another look at Gretchen Prochnik's form-fitting swim togs. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

Reminds me...

Back in about 1974 or so, I bought a halter top which I discovered was rather see-through. I decided to alter it by cutting up one of my old bras and sew that into it. I showed it to my mother who was horrified that people would see my bra through the material. When I said "But otherwise they would see my nipples!" she replied "Yes, but it's better than seeing your bra!"

I ever did understand why this was worse than seeing nipples....

And SHE grew up in the days when a girl would wear a positively see-through dress which you wore an eyelet cotton slip underneath.

Flapper Fashion or Wardrobe Malfunction?

The revealing nature of the unlined jersey bathing suits of the 1920s was perhaps not as shocking then as in the 1960s because throughout the 1920s female breasts were not given any special erotic emphasis, and in fact were ignored by fashions that promoted a flat-chested look, despite the evidence of the photo above. Shocked outrage in the 1920s was usually reserved for short skirts and naked knees. The fashionable erotic emphasis on breasts, and moral outrage about that emphasis, came along in the 1940s and 1950s, and it was only then that Good Girls began to wear bras that hid the nipples behind impenetrable cones of wired and padded fabric. And, ironically, nipples are still thought of as shocking by many in our supposedly more liberated age.

Even hippies found it shocking

As a teenager in the '60s I was shocked and dumbfounded when I saw photos of my prim mother as a teenager in similar outfits. "How could you ever leave the house and go out in public like that? Why did your parents allow it? What did the guys say?" I asked her. She was embarrassed by my shock but answered that that's what all the bathing suits were like -- unlined jersey. If you wanted to go swimming or go to the beach, you had no choice. And since all the girls looked like that, they never gave it any thought. I'm still flabbergasted by the fact that this was totally acceptable and she NEVER gave it a thought. My dad would not comment on the suits, but tried not to smile. As wild as we were in the '60s, I wouldn't have been caught dead showing that much in public!

Say What You Will

about the subject - I'm just happy it has nothing to do with Michael Jackson.

Vintage swimsuits

I was reading a knitting book published not that long ago (in the UK, mid-60's) in which a number of different stitches were recommended for use when knitting wool bathing suits as they were firm and would not stretch. Much.

Rockin' it

Well, yes, it's an insanely unflattering suit, but Mrs. Prochnik is kind of working it. She's rather nicely proportioned, actually, if one looks past that odd latticework business and the even odder socks. I like her total lack of self-consciousness. Good for her, from 85 years away.

Farrah!

I presume this is a pretext for the upcoming hi-res Farrah Fawcett memorial post. Correct?

Evidently

Not a heated pool.

Ahem!

Nice socks

Fashion victim

My gosh, that looks like white adhesive tape arranged on the front of that swimsuit. Swim cap resembles a frumpy Sunday-go-to-meetin' hat! Can you imagine the cases of athletes foot & fungus caused by wearing heavy wool socks in water for hours at a time??

Chlorine!

I'm more concerned about the pool. It looks a little grungy. A good place to raise catfish. Vacation home of the creature from the Black Lagoon.

Give the woman some credit

How many women refuse to buy a swimming suit or refuse to go in the water because of how they feel about their physical flaws, real or imagined?

Mrs. P is not the the most shapely lady and that swimming suit is the most unflattering one I've ever seen BUT she put on her hat and got in the pool. Good for her -- an unflattering suit isn't going to stop her from having a good time.

Naughty Knits

That's knits, I said! Many of the women seen wearing wool jersey bathing costumes on the Shorpy pages show the same anatomical detailing through their suits, although much depends on the lighting. But the jersey shorts worn in a particularly non-binding way by the men in college rowing crew photos from the 1880s through the 1920s often reveal even more. I'm startled that even though a glimpse of stocking was still thought shocking, many bathing costumes telegraphed so much information.

[Dot-dot-dash. Minus the dash. - Dave]

I'm wondering

What she would look like in color.

Enough!

Prochniked out. Totally.

[So two is your limit. - Dave]

A cry for help

This picture is pushing buttons I never knew I had. I may need counseling.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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