1957 Jantzen Junior Dealer’s Catalog

A lot can be learned from old catalogs.  This one from Jantzen was not made for the consumer, but for the merchants that would be buying Jantzen products for their stores.  This particular catalog is for junior clothes, and I’m sure there were others for clothing for men, misses, and children.

Of course there were plenty of swimsuits.  After all, Jantzen was primarily a swimsuit company.  But what is interesting is how much of the catalog is devoted to other sportswear.

But before I get to the sportswear, I want to focus in one the swimsuit on the left.  This model was the “Holland Check” Sheath, with retailed for $10.95.  (Add in inflation, and this suit would be $93.50.  Jantzen was not cheap.)  In the late 1950s, and into the early 60s, plaids and checks were very popular.  This catalog features several plaid designs.

You can’t really tell what the plaid looks like here, but I do admire the way the designer used the print as part of the design.

Here you see the Holland check as trim on shorts and in a sleeveless top.

Even more Holland check in Bermudas, and as the trim on a blouse…

and on pedal pushers.

And best of all, here is the same check in a fabulous reversible cap.  The check was available in white with red, blue, brown, or black.  I’d never heard of “Holland Check” but it looks an awful lot like Prince of Wales plaid.

A store would pick which pieces to sell and it’s very unlikely that any one store opted to sell the entire line.  I can remember shopping in department stores in the late 1960s and early 70s, and it was common for stores to be selling the same brands, but to be offering entirely different pieces.

As a collector, it is nice seeing all the options available in the same print.  It’s hard enough finding great old sportswear garments, but how challenging it would be to try and assemble all the pieces of a particular line.  Unless one gets lucky, that is, the way I did with a matching line from Tabak of California.  

There was a real “Italian Look” evident in many of the garments.  The influence of Emilio Pucci, perhaps?

There were also references to the nautical influence, as in “Tars ‘n’ Stripes”.

And here’s even a nod to the ever popular middy blouse, though for some reason they chose to spell it “midi”.

Because these were junior swimsuits, targeted toward a teen consumer, Jantzen offered “Accents”, a bra pad.  The description of most of the swimsuits in this catalog mention that there is “space for ‘Accents” bust pads” in the suit.  I’ve got to wonder if there was an actual place in which to insert these pads.  Anybody know?




Filed under Collecting, Sportswear

14 responses to “1957 Jantzen Junior Dealer’s Catalog

  1. poppysvintageclothing

    Great blog, they might have had a cut in at the bottom of the bra to fit in the “accent”. They really did think of everything!


  2. Ruth

    For some reason that Tars and Stripes picture is familiar looking, but I can’t think why. I wonder if some place selling that line used those pictures? Or maybe I saw it somewhere else, who knows. Or I wonder if there were patterns similar to this style, since that is actually what it makes me think of.


  3. GREAT find for many reasons Lizzie! for me -the “wholesale ” merchant mailer is of interest-the date is of interest because by 1957 I am sure they would have had a showroom for buyers? These were mailed to rural towns/stores/shops for buyers who could not get to market for many reasons. they included the retail/MSRP as well! These publications are rare Lucky to find the fashion this smart now! The quality/fabric better then! I remember a few of my mothers suits had a “pocket” for pads-they were sponge rubber-slid under breast . I think it was Jantzen


  4. Mim

    Those pusher sets are so cute!


  5. What a great find! Everything in this is so adorable–all those plaids, the nautical looks, the stripes. That hooded color-block beach top is very cool, too. Thanks for sharing this with us.


  6. What amazed me is how well made everything is. It isn’t easy to match plaids, but to match them in a shirred bathing suit takes a lot of skill…and I’ll bet a lot of extra fabric.


  7. Without even reading the post first, I am recalling, “Just wear a smile and a Jantzen.” Good slogans, good jingles. They’ve outlived the brands by decades.


  8. What a unique artifact to have! Especially for you!


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