When you don a bathing suit, you’re usually getting ready to wade in the ocean or lie in the sun. A bathing suit is the most comfortable way to get poolside, right? In these ads from the 1920s through the 1950s, swimsuits also seem like something the opposite sex is meant to gaze upon. Our current stylebook, The Style Aquatic, draws from vintage suits, but displays them with a modern sensibility.
It’s not only all about the gals, but the guys, too. These two ads from the 30s draw the eye to the men diving in their one-piece suits. Both women and men are watching the divers, as if to say that if you wear these suits, you’ll be the center of attention.
The above images are just two examples of the beautiful ads that Jantzen swimwear put out in the 50s. While there aren’t really men in the photos with the women, the men are referred to. The messaging, “the look a man likes,” and “blue is for boys,” strongly implies that these swim looks are not for you to feel beautiful in, but for men to find you attractive in.
There’s nothing wrong with others finding you attractive, but sometimes you just need a little space, right? These women aren’t just being gazed at from afar, but surrounded, chased, and um, caught. These guys must think they’ve got quite a catch.
A lot of swimwear ads or catalog spreads today are similar to the images above, where the model or models are interacting with you, the viewer. You’re the most important part of the ad, after all. You’re the one wearing the suit, and you’re the one looking good!
How do you feel in a swimsuit? Is it all about you, or how others think you look?