Tag Archives: beach

On the Road

I’m headed off to the coast for a few days with one of my oldest friends, and I only wish we could look as classy as the young woman above, seated with her aunt on a German beach. It may be October, but our Southern beaches are still warm, and there are lots of historical sights to be seen. To see what’s happening, check in on Instagram. I promise not to be too annoying.


Filed under Road Trip

1960s Beach Bag That Might Be from Coppertone

If you were around in the 1950s and 60s then you probably are familiar with the Coppertone Suntan Lotion slogan, “Don’t Be A Paleface!”  Billboards and magazine ads showed the little girl with her tan line being exposed by an enthusiastic spaniel.  I recently ran across this beach bag, and immediately thought it was a Coppertone item, probably a premium of some type.

On closer examination though, the word “Coppertone” is nowhere to be seen, though there is a bit of a copyright symbol at the bottom of the girl’s right foot.

Weirder still is the image on the other side of the bag.  It shows a woman in a rather modest bikini, and a very exuberant man in matching trunks.  Still no Coppertone logo, though there is a little bottle of suntan lotion on the blanket.

It does look a lot like a Coppertone bottle.

To add to the mystery, there is another version of this bag that does have the word “Coppertone”, and that was somehow associated with the Olympics.  The bag does not reveal the year, but I’m guessing 1964 or 1968.

Since I bought this, I’ve seen ones like it for sale online, and the listings all use the Coppertone connection.  The ad and image were so well-known, that maybe the actual word “Coppertone” was thought to be unnecessary.

Note the squirrel photo-bombing my first photo.


Filed under Collecting, Curiosities, Summer Sports

Essential 1920s Beach Accessory – The Parasol

People in the 1920s were fond of the exotic, and so it is no surprise that a popular sun shade was theJapanese paper parasol.  It seems a bit risky to take a fragile paper item to the beach where it would be threatened by wind and water.  Maybe that is why so many of the ones found today are ripped and faded.

I found this one at an antique mall along with several others, all deadstock, never used.  I can’t say that it is from the 1920s, as these are still being made today (but probably in China).  Anyway, I loved the colors and design of this one, regardless of the age.

It structure of the parasol is entirely bamboo.

Two of these 1920s women have paper parasols.  I also love the bathing cap and shoes and beach pyjamas on the woman on the right.  I have no idea where this photo was taken, but note the US flag flying.  The sign on the building reads “Rooms, Tents, Cottages”.  Any ideas as to where?  There seems to be a fairly large hillside directly behind the beach, so that rules out a great deal of the east coast.

This ad for Lux laundry soap is from 1923.

To see it in the round, here is a vine.


Filed under Collecting, Summer Sports

The Beach Umbrella

I bought this super 1950s beach themed compact from Kickshaw at etsy a few weeks ago.  Since then it has been sitting on my desk where it elicits smiles and sighs.

Yes, it is the time of year when those of us who are not near the ocean, sit and dream of sitting in the sand under an umbrella with a cold drink at hand.   It occurred to me that the *dream* is actually better than the *reality*.   Or perhaps it is just me, but a planned long sit on the beach usually turns into a long, leisurely walk on the beach.

Either way, the beach umbrella is a strong symbol of fun times at the seashore.  It speaks of leisure and relaxation and the absence of worry.

A look at more beach umbrellas, and umbrellas at the beach:

Hunting beach, 1913, the “Westlake crowd”

1923 Lux washing powder ad

Available at AmericatheBeautiful at etsy.

1932 French Monte Carlo ad

1923 hosery ad

1920s postcard from Florida

1938 Tootsie Roll ad

1940s Santa Monica Beach, for sale at PostCardDepot at etsy

Girls at the beach with Grandma, circa 1945

The sweetest soft drink tray ever, and for sale in NattieCakeDesigns‘ etsy store.

From a 1960s beach cover-up

Unless noted, all ads and photos are from my personal collection.


Filed under Collecting, Summer Sports, Vintage Clothing, Vintage Photographs

The Beach at Monte Carlo, 1932

I wish I were in this picture.  Looks like a great old travel poster, but this is actually the back cover of L’illustration Magazine, May, 1932.

I’ve never understood all those people who take perfect good vintage magazines and rip them apart to sell the ads.  And I really don’t understand the people who buy the ads, especially seeing that for the cost of one or two ads, you can often buy the entire magazine! And I recently saw a page from an old Holiday magazine for sale for $14.99.  It was one page from a four page article on tennis dresses.  I know that because I have that issue of the magazine.  I think I paid $2 for it in an antique store a few years ago.

But seeing that the cover is torn off any way, I’ll probably frame and hang this one.  I can’t quite bring myself to pull out the other ads, however, some of which are really fantastic Art Deco designs.  There is just something about taking an old object in good condition and ripping it apart.

Some of the vintage clothing groups I participate in have had this discussion about whether or not to alter vintage clothing.  Can’t sell that 1970s maxi dress?  No problem, just cut off the bottom, hem it up to a mini.  Or is that early 1960s gown too demure?  Slice it down through the decollete from the neck to the waist.  It’s a common practice, all in the name of selling the item.

Now, what you do with your vintage dresses is your own business, but before you get the scissors out consider this:  Would you rather find an original bias cut gown from the 1930s, or the one that a 1970s hippie girl took, tie-dyed  and cut to knee length?

Would you rather find a great 1950s gown in original condition, or the same gown that a Cyndi Lauper wannabe chopped off in the 1980s?

Would you rather find a fine silk Victorian ballgown in perfect condition, or the same gown that was dragged out of the chest in 1946 to make a Halloween costume?

If you have a great piece of vintage, but it just is not the right lengtht, do what your grandmother would have done: fold the hem up and sew a new hem without cutting it.  That way it can be let back down, even though there may be a faded line.

And for damaged vintage (and Heaven knows there’s plenty of that around!) I say go ahead and be creative, just make sure you aren’t cutting up a garment that would be valuable even though it’s damaged.  You know, something like a Charles James gown or a 1920s couture piece.  This is when it pays to know a little about fashion history, so read before you cut!


Posted by Lucitebox:

I just had a 40s skirt altered. It might be an early 50s skirt. It was way too long on me. I made sure that it was folded and hemmed. It looks better on me at this length and if anyone wants to let it down, that can be done. It’s slim skirt with three horizontal faux pocket type slits at one side of the hip with big button details. I can’t wait to wear it. I would have never worn it at the length it was, though.

Wednesday, March 4th 2009 @ 8:56 PM

Posted by gail:

Today, there is no excuse to take apart a vintage magazine or book. If you want to frame a picture, copy it. You can even enlarge or reduce to fit your space.

Thursday, March 5th 2009 @ 11:53 AM

Posted by Lizzie:

Holly, to me that seems to be the perfect solution. Clothing is meant to be worn, and it’s unrealistic to think that every piece of old clothing can – or should – be saved. But I do think that we need to be mindful of the next wearer in the life of a garment.Your skirt sounds really cute!

Gail, you are absolutely right.

Thursday, March 5th 2009 @ 5:35 PM

Leave a comment

Filed under Collecting, Travel, Viewpoint, Vintage Clothing

A Week at the Beach

All this week I’ll be showing pictures from my collection of vintage bathing photos.

This line-up of beauty contestants from the mid 1920s shows a very modern group of young women.  There is only one contestant, Miss Winnepeg on the far left, who is wearing a suit with a real skirt.  Only two women do not have bobbed hair.  And while some of them are still clinging to the old-fashioned idea that a lady must wear stockings, most are bare-legged, and three have rolled their stocking to below the knee.  Just a few years before this, most would have been in knee-length suits with heavy black stockings.  What a difference a few years made!


This card is postmarked 1906, but if you were to have gone bathing in a suit like this in that year on any beach in the US, you most likely would have ended up in jail!  The typical bathing costume of the time was skirted to the knees, had sleeves and was worn with stockings and shoes.

Notice that the water has been painted in and the lines of glitter which add a bit of dimension to the card.


I know nothing about the people in this photo except for the obvious fact that they are having a blast!  It’s the early 1920s – the women have bobbed hair, but their bathing suits are a bit (okay, a LOT) dowdy, with long skirts and stockings all around!


This postcard is postmarked 1909.  This is two years after professional swimmer Annette Kellerman was arrested at a Massachusetts beach for wearing a one piece suit that bared her knees and arms.  As she put it,  “I  can’t swim wearing more clothes than you hang on a clothesline.”

The rules were often posted in public swimming places.  In 1917 the American Association of Park Superintendents imposed the following rules:  “Blouse and bloomer suits may be worn with or without stockings, provided the blouse has quarter-arm sleeves or close-fitting armholes, and provided bloomers are full and not shorter than four inches above the knee.”


This girl of the mid 1920s is clearly breaking the rules of just a few years earlier, but she stilll clings to the rolled stockings and shoes on the beach.  These. oddly, look like street shoes, so she may just be posing after a walk along the boardwalk.


The hope…

…and the reality!


From Lake Keuka, New York, 1905

Looks like making fun of fat people is a sport that has been played for a very long time.  The card is meant to be funny, but I just find it sad;  here we are 102 years later, and still it is acceptable to laugh at people who are not of “perfect” body shape.

Leave a comment

Filed under Summer Sports, Vintage Photographs