Kleinert’s for 1961 Swim Caps – Beach Bags

I have always loved catalogs. I wasn’t too crazy about the Barbie I got for Christmas in 1962, but I loved that little catalog that came with it, the one showing her latest fashions. And the arrival of the yearly Sears Wish Book was a big event in the Adams household.

It amazes me that so many old catalogs have survived. Why would anyone keep a 1961 Kleinert’s swim cap catalog? After a season its usefulness is wiped out. When I was a kid, there were never stray catalogs nor newspapers nor magazines lying around. My mother kept a tight ship when it came to clutter, and her method of dealing with it was to get rid of it as soon as possible.

But I’m grateful for the savers – the people who didn’t mind a few old catalogs taking up space in their homes or business. The latest addition to my collection is a wholesale catalog. The shop owner chose what she or he thought would sell. The original owner of this catalog made notes in the margins such as, “Add 6 to order, natural only”.

An obvious benefit of having catalogs of the things one collects is that they help so much when trying to place a date on an object. I’m sure a lot of people must think that these fancy bathing caps disappeared at the end of the 1950s, but this catalog is full of them. The bathing cap covered with flowers must have been really popular because so many of them survive. Most are in bad shape. The caps tend to age quite well, but the attached flowers get all mashed out of shape when stored flat. I’ve even seen them melted and sticky.

The “Gamine” style is less common, but not really rare. I have one that is covered in shiny black “hair”.

I’d like to see someone with that much hair actually put that rubber cap on! That is a sweet cap though, with the braid trim and that flower on the back of the neck. And how about those rubber bangs on the Bouquet cap?

Here we are getting in rarer territory. I’ve never seen a gingham swim cap, not in reality nor in print. This gives me something to aspire to, preferably in turquoise.

But most of all, I need this Regatta swim cap in my life, along with the matching beach bag.

When I think of bathing caps, I think of old ladies round the pool in Florida. I must have gotten that from some movie I saw as a girl. My actual experience with bathing caps was short-lived. My local public pool and the summer camp I attended both required caps for girls, insisting that the long hair of girls got clogged in the filtration system. In the mid-1960s when boys started growing their hair longer, we girls rebelled, saying truthfully that many of the boys had longer hair than we did.

Of course, instead of making boys wear the caps, the rule for the girls was “forgotten”.

The catalog has much more than just swim caps. I think that this postcard beach tote is simply the best.

Some time ago a reader emailed a photo of one of these folding hats that she had. I’ll admit I was clueless about it, so seeing this one was a real treat, despite the very unfortunate name. I’ve forgotten who had this hat, but if you are still around and you still have it, I’m ready to buy!

And here’s a different take on the sunglasses hat. Again, this is a new one to me.

The catalog has several styles of hats that have an attached scarf to tie on the head. I have a fairly generic one that belonged to my mother-in-law, but how I’d love to have this one that just looks so Italian.



Filed under Collecting, Proper Clothing, Sportswear, Summer Sports

14 responses to “Kleinert’s for 1961 Swim Caps – Beach Bags

  1. Ruth Beaty

    Oh wow, had to laugh at the pool caps! Had the same experience at the same age and I hated the thing. I think I only wore it a few times and decided I just didn’t care. Never have liked hats much anyway and that was a definite no for me. And on the subject of swimming, have you seen this one? It made me think of you the minute I saw it, and the shoulder detail is really nice…

    And I had to send you this one because I love her blouse!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. We had something similar to the visor hat growing up in the seventies. My mom saved everything – I’ll have to see if she still has it!


  3. jacq staubs

    These are fabulous! I loved the visual side of fashion merchandising. I loved working/ producing the catalog’s and shooting the ads. spent 10 years doing it which led to editor. This / the catalogs you post are really treasures I really enjoy them. The men’s catalog you posted a few months ago was wonderful. Thank YOU!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. OH. I ADORE these! I wear a vintage, very cheerful, sky blue 100% rubber, made in Spain, swim cap with its chin strap firmly snapped tightly under my chin every time I take a shower and wish not to wet my hair. With my poor eyesight I can almost make out Esther Williams in my bathroom mirror looking back at me… Your 1961 catalogue is my dream book!


  5. KeLLy aNN

    I collect vintage Christmas magazines {1975 and earlier} and I am forever thankful for those who saved them! I plan to scan them to save them even longer.


  6. I hated the look and “skinned” feel of wearing smooth white swimcaps. Colors and ornaments didn’t really help — and they definitely never kept my hair dry. Thanks for pointing out that “hair in the pool filter” ceased to be a problem when it was male hair. Funny how those rules work… but we’re not laughing now. P.S. No more swim caps: Another reason to love the Beatles.


  7. jean f

    In 1970 I took a swimming class at college. The girls who really wanted to wear the swim caps were the ones with the big afros.


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