Red Gingham Times Two

I recently received a box in the mail that made Christmas look like a second-rate holiday.  Reader June Lepidow had written and asked If I’d like a pair of 1950s clam diggers and a pair of jeans from the 1940s.  Well, of course I would.

When the box arrived I was shocked to also find the above swimsuit, and early 1950s skirt and an Hawaiian print halter dress from the early 1960s.  That June really knows how to pack a box!

The label in the swimsuit was Surf Togs.  That little R in a circle means that the trademark is registered, so I was able to locate the information about the company in the US Patent and Trademark Office website.   The name dates from 1933  as a maker of knit swimwear.  They were located in New Rochelle, New York and was owned by Jacob Soloman.

I love the lines of silver lurex. I do think a bit of effort could have been made in matching the check.

The inside structure consists of metal boning, which you can see has begun to rust, and which has poked a hole in the fabric.  The use of metal in a swimsuit is quite puzzling, but a suit like this one is probably more suited to pool and ocean-side lounging, rather than actual swimming.

I’ve written before about how bathing suits from the 1950s were styled much in the same manner as a sundress.  Just visualize a long circle skirt with the top of this suit.  A lot of vintage sewing patterns for bathing suits show a coordinating skirt or shorts.  You could go to the beach wearing the bathing suit with the skirt over it and not have to worry about finding a changing room.

With this bathing suit you might have worn these clam diggers.  The gingham is not the same, of course, but the color is very similar.  This piece was another of the gift from June.  According to her, all the clothes came from the same woman, so maybe these pieces were worn together at one time.

Sometimes, it is all about the details.


Filed under Sportswear, Summer Sports, Vintage Clothing

22 responses to “Red Gingham Times Two

  1. Very, very cool! Love when you share your latest acquisitions!


  2. Lovely suit! I had a Surf Togs swimsuit with a cute bicycle print and the exact same label. It didn’t have any boning though.


  3. That big bow on the swimsuit makes quite a statement! Love those clamdiggers – they remind me of “pedal-pushers” I wore as a child.


  4. Wow, that really is a stunning swimsuit. Very strange to have boning in a swimsuit though! I’d live a reproduction one like this. Xxx


  5. Liz…this blog I really enjoyed. I had a pair of blue plaid pants with the stringing at the knee….only in 1952 we called them torredore pants. I also had a bathing suit much like that one…mine was a small black and white check and had the little boy short legs with cuffs. It was a great suit…very expensive and strong firm material. The bra part had little cuffs on it. Thanks for taking me back to the 50’s for a little mental visit. Marge


  6. My first thought was that it’s more of a playsuit with the boning, but it does say “swimsuit” right on it. Wow, what a fashion statement with the bow and red clamdiggers!


  7. Love that swimsuit! So cute! And it would be adorable with a skirt or those clam-diggers!


  8. I’m kind of dying over how adorable both of these are! What finds!!

    Also I walked by the old Jantzen office today and thought of you!


  9. Ah! Such great pieces! Thanks for sharing Lizzie.


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