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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Loving Cup Lovelies: 1921

Loving Cup Lovelies: 1921

Lansburgh Girls Win Style Prize

Five Models Gain Cup at
Tidal Bathing Beach Costume Show.

        With five models displaying the most modern bathing costumes, Lansburgh & Brother won the prize cup at the first annual style show, held yesterday afternoon at the Tidal bathing beach. The models who represented Lansburgh's -- all local girls -- were Mary Lee, Iola Swinnerton, Thelma Spencer, Hattie Spencer and Julia Cunningham. The suits which they wore were special importations, brought to Washington for exhibition at this show ...

-- Washington Post, 6/26/1921

Washington, D.C., 1921. "Bathing Beach costume contest." At left we have Iola Swinnerton, First Lady of Shorpy in perpetuum; the others are plebeian ciphers spared total invisibility only by the grace of her luminous beauty. View full size.

To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

I agree with Alan_Flor

Agree with his post up to a point. Viewing past Shorpy images I am so happy to be living in the "here and now". I am 74 and I belonged to the generation that changed a woman's view of who we were and what we wanted to change, starting with what we wore. My mother took my older sister and me shopping in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. What I noticed was the uncomfortable clothing that was required, hat, high heels, gloves, as acceptable. I was a tomboy to the "umpth" degree and wore jeans when in my home and the little town we lived in. I now live in Texas and just viewing the heavy clothing women wore back in the time makes me break out in sweat. I do believe I got my attitude from my mother, who was a trendsetter in her generation.

What a nice surprise!

The bathing beauty pictures are among my favorites, here on Shorpy and it's SO nice to see a new one! Iola looks beautiful! The one "model" needs a lesson in posture, but the rest look pretty good!

What, no Kardashians?

What gets me is women were allowed to look "normal" back then. No Pilates, yoga, Zumba, endless diets, botox, spa treatments, etc. They look like the women I see at the supermarket with two kids in tow, standing in line at the bank, the doctor's office. This is what the vast majority of women look like.

Krazy Kat

Looks like a doll version of a beloved comics character in the arms of babe #1.

Semantic Suits

Back then they were "bathing" rather than "swimming".

But Jantzen was working to change that with "The Suit That Changed Bathing to Swimming" introduced around 1920.

Pirates of the Caribbean

The Johnny Depp line of bathing suits looks nice on the first contestant (and winner) on the left.

Reverse nostalgia

A lot of times I think I was born too late. This is not one of those times.

Not Permanent Press

Normal appearance back then was that everything still needed ironing.

Wet stockings?

It looks like all these ladies are wearing some type of hose. Would have been common for swimming? Or was it just for the sake of the competition?

All I can say is

Thank God for Spandex!

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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