Jantzen Swimsuit, Mid 1960s

I really love and appreciate all the great friends I’ve made through writing this blog.  So many of you have shared your stories about clothing and sewing, and all these stories make for a rich and varied shared history.

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Janey at The Atomic Redhead.  Janey is lucky because she lives in the land of White Stag and Pendleton and Jantzen, otherwise known as Portland, Oregon.  From time to time I’ll get an email from her saying that she has a little something I might be interested in.  I must be greedy, because I’m always interested in Janey’s gifts.

The latest package from Janey contained the two piece swimsuit shown here.  It is, of course, from Jantzen, as the diving girl logo proudly announces.  It is made from a creamy white textured polyester knit, and the bra is very structured.  Many swimsuit bras from this era were made with a thin padded layer that over time degrades into a gritty powder.  But in this bra the padding is intact and shows no sign of powdering.

Thanks to movies like Bikini Beach and Beach Party, some people tend to think that bikinis were pretty skimpy in the mid 1960s, but in my little conservative town, this two piece was about as risqué as it got.  As the decade worn on, the bottoms got smaller, and the bras less structured, but in 1965 girls’ swimsuits were like armor!

I can remember my very first “grown-up” swimsuit.  It was a hand-me-down from my cousin Arlene, who was two years older than me and who lived near Atlanta and who was my idol.  The style was just like the Jantzen here, but was in shades of greens and brown.  I’d have never picked that color combination out, but I’ll have to admit, that at eleven years old, I felt very grown up wearing that suit.

This Coppertone ad from 1964 shows the style quite well.  No bellybuttons here!


Filed under Collecting, Sportswear, Summer Sports, Uncategorized, Vintage Clothing

15 responses to “Jantzen Swimsuit, Mid 1960s

  1. Yay! I am so pleased you are happy with the swimsuit! What a great Coppertone ad too!


  2. Such a thoughtful gift! It certainly looks in great condition too.

    Am I right in thinking the thick polyester knit would have made it uncomfortable to wear in very hot weather?


  3. That’s definitely a “don’t go near the water” hairstyle!


  4. Carrie

    Great swimsuit, and ad to illustrate that the mid-60s bikini was a different species from today’s version!

    So much fun to imagine a beach covered with carefully coiffed sunbathers, the scent of Coppertone hanging in the air… 🙂


  5. the sportswear line was really great too! the “sharkskin” fabric !!!


  6. it was for rteal…and the beach cover-ups with the thong sandals by Capezio!


  7. sorry for the oops..it was for real- the Coppertone and the “portable” radios!next weekend “Where the Boys are”-Fort Lauderdale!!!..Spring Break loves!


  8. White Stag short shorts with a cropped-sleveless- cropped top-in white cotton “sailcloth”…thank you for the fashion memory rush-so fortunate to have been there and lived it!!!!


  9. Liz

    In about 1960, I tried on a black wool (!) knit bathing suit, one piece, very modest with a hint of a cap sleeve. This was an expensive new suit, in a nice department store in the South. I knew I shouldn’t buy it; but it looked fabulous on, and both I and my mother (who wasn’t much into fashion) were enchanted with the look. Didn’t buy, but have never forgotten it.


    • It’s funny how certain garments stay with us. Designer anna Sui tells the story about the perfect dress she saw at Paraphernalia in the 1960s. She couldn’t afford it, but has spent a career trying to replicate the feeling the dress gave her.


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