{DO-IT-RIGHT} – How To Men’s Vintage-Style [Swimsuit Inspiration]

It’s official, swimsuit season is here, and that beautiful tropical heat is beckoning for all of us to take a dive into the nearest pool of water – any pool of water! While we prefer the beach, community pools, water parks, and backyard bashes all call for appropriate swim gear.

Here at The Eye of Faith, you know how much we love vintage clothing, but when it comes to swimsuits for men – a really great piece of true vintage is extremely rare to come by in this department.

If you can find a piece that is void of rips, holes, and stains, it is only half the battle.

While these days, most swimsuits are made using water-friendly fabrics such as polyster or nylon, most “true vintage” pieces dating between the 1910s-1950s are made from not-so-water-friendly fabrics such as cotton, wool, and yarn (making them extremely HEAVY) . In fact, your best bet, if you come across one of these pieces, or have one lying around, might be to save it for a museum (which isn’t that bad…)!

But, as we mentioned, the sun is screaming for us now – and the waves are not going to stop crashing anytime soon, so what do you do when you want that authentic vintage style, but can’t find the real thing?!

Look no further, as always, The Eye of Faith has you covered for ideas and inspiration.

Luckily, many of the top fashion brands out there know the staying power of vintage, and provide everything you need to create that vintage look without destroying a valuable piece of history.

Taking some of our favorite snapshots of the past, we were able to put together some vintage-inspired swimsuits from some of our favorite online fashion and style destinations, so you can get the look you aspire to.

1910s – 1920s

“All-white and flesh-colored suits were discouraged as anatomical details were too clear. Nothing below the armpits could be shown on the chest. Men’s suits needed a skirt or skirt effect, worn outside the trunks. The leg could not be shorter than 4 inches from the knee and the skirt not shorter than two inches above the bottom of the trunks.”

-“Bathing Suit Regulations in the American City” by the American Association of Park Superintendents {circa. 1917}

+++

The turn-of-the-century was a huge turning-point for swimwear, and what were once cumbersome full-piece suits that would keep you almost fully covered, evolved into lighter, slouchier, more casual one-pieces made from yarn or wool.

While, the one piece isn’t necessarily something you’d consider wearing into the pool, taking cues from vintage snapshots featuring these unique looks is a fantastic source of inspiration.

You will find a lot of graphic simplicity in the suits that feature details like ribbing, stripes, and buttons. This is what we looked for in putting together our inspired looks. You can keep to the dark palette of the era, but don’t be afraid to shake up the past with a little color!

{Sparks Aaron Oversized Pocket Tank} from ASOS.

{Two Square Vinny Stripe Tank} from ASOS.

{Rachel Comey Swim Trunks in Grey} from OPENING CEREMONY.

{Nautical Tank in Grey and/or Blue} from ASOS.

{Oiler and Boiler Stripe Swim Trunks} from ASOS.

{Religion Button-Up Tank} from ASOS.

{VANS Stripe Tank} from ASOS.

{Rachel Comey Swim Trunks in RED/BLUE} from OPENING CEREMONY.

++++

1930s – 1940s

By the 1930s and into the 40s, the slouchy looks of the 10s and 20s had been exchanged for tighter formfitting swimmers. The one-piece has not yet been retired, but for the first time swimwear became available with “Tops” and/or “Bottoms”, giving men the choice to go topless on the beach, causing quite the uproar.

+NYLON was the first completely synthetic fabric

invented by DuPont in 1938+

You will find the look has cleaned up, embracing the body, and elevating it to Olympic proportions. When going for a look inspired by the 30s and 40s, think athletic, and tight. Don’t be afraid to go for speedos and swim trunks made from elastic materials for that skin-tight effect.

We turned to snapshots of life guards from the period, as well as some of the Golden Gods of Hollywood for our inspiration.


{Cheap Monday Kim Printed Tank} from ASOS.

{Hugo Boss Panrea Swim Shorts} from MACY’s.

{Adidas Original Tank with Trefoil Logo} from ASOS.

{Shorts People Classic Board Shorts} from OPENING CEREMONY.

Clockwise from Left:

{Emporio Armani Stretch Cotton Black Tank} from ASOS.

{Diesel Tank} from ASOS.

{Hugo Boss Solid Oyster Swim Shorts} from MACY’s.

{Speedo Shoreline Swim Briefs} from MACY’s.

++++

1950s – 60s.

Swim trunks for men really came into their own by the 1950s. Instead of wool and yarn, cotton became the fabric of choice, and no longer was wearing swim trunks without a top an impolite statement.

Movie stars continued to push the popularity of the boxer swimsuit, and soon the beach boy surfer became the accepted ideal. The addition of bright colors and exotic patterns is something we still see today.

Today, finding this look is easy, and many of the industry’s top fashion labels feature cuts and prints directly inspired by this era. Look out for retro patterns and colors that evoke notions of paradise. The cut really is key, making sure to keep it short.

There’s no doubt, the beach boy on the surf is as classic as it gets, and is an easily achievable look today.

Clockwise from Left:

{Hartford Fish Trunks} from ASOS.

{Oiler & Boiler Stars Classic Swim Trunks} from ASOS.

{River Island Car Print Swim Shorts} from ASOS.

{Oiler & Boiler Tuckernuck Island Swim Short} from ASOS.

Clockwise from Left:

{Hartford Paisley Swim Trunks} from ASOS.

{Shorts People Grey Floral Swim Trunks} from OPENING CEREMONY.

{ASOS Geo Print Swim Trunks} from ASOS.

++++

 +HISTORIA MAGISTRA VITAE+

“History is the Teacher of Life

So no fret, my fine fellows, if you’re not finding that great pair of vintage swim shorts you dream of – you’re not the only one. But until then, there are dozens of easy ways to achieve your vintage fantasies, and all it takes is a little inspiration!

By looking through dozens of vintage photographs, advertising, fashion plates, and magazines we were able to sum up certain elements that characterized each era:

1910s-20s: Slouchy, Simple, Graphic

1930s-40s: Athletic & Form Fitting

1950s-60s: Cut, Colour, Pattern

By applying these characteristics, you can easily satisfy those vintage aspirations! Best thing is, now that we’re into swimsuit season – most of these summer styles are on or heading to the SALE section, which means you can save some bucks!

If you’re a true vintage swimsuit aficionado, we will be keeping our {EYE} out, and in the meantime don’t hesitate to try eBayvintage suits do show up, but they go very quickly, so react fast!

Thanks for reading!

Sincerely,

{theEye}

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13 responses to “{DO-IT-RIGHT} – How To Men’s Vintage-Style [Swimsuit Inspiration]

  1. Pingback: In the interests of gender balance (and keeping the ladies happy too) « The mind is an unexplored country.·

    • Absolutely! It needs to END. But don’t worry 20poorandfabulous, here at The Eye of Faith, we have a {MASTER PLAN} !!! Muahaha ;)

      You’re so sweet! Love your blog, btw! Now, need to go and catch some daydreams…

      Sincerely,

      {theEye}

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    • Great. We hope to see you again. Loved your blog, as well. Super cool stuff (and I don’t say that to too many people)! So, keep up the good work!

      Until next time,

      {theEye}
      +

  9. Pingback: {STYLE WISE – SUMMER EDITION} Surf Dudes with Attitude! | The Eye of Faith·

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