1920s mens swimsuits

Women were not the only ones to get tighter swimsuits. Men’s swimwear also slimmed down to show off his new athletic body. In many ways, men’s and women’s suits were nearly identical. A deep cut ribbed wool tank top over a snug fitting pair of shorts. The “skirt” of the top  came from knee length a few years before to mid thigh level. It was “too much” to raise the top any further revealing men’s personal parts. Instead more suit material was removed from under the arms and around the back- supposedly making it easier to swim but mostly to reveal more muscles.

1920s mens bathing suit

Late 1920s men's swimsuit

By 1926, the two piece, non-skirted, swimsuit made its debut. The top was often white or striped and the trunks a dark color. It was almost always worn with a belt, and the trunks came with belt loops. The separate pieces and lack of cover-up was quite shocking. Athletic swimmers were the first to wear them.

1920s swimsuits - mens and womens from Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries

Miss Fisher series at the beach

Men’s suits were also made of wool or ribbed cotton in very bright colors — red, purple, yellow, pale blue, navy blue, and the very popular orange. White or black stripes outlining the edges and skirt were equally common. White rubber belts were popular in the mid twenties — just like the ladies. Shoes also were nearly identical with men in lace up flat Oxfords made of canvas or all rubber slip ins.

1920s swimsuits catalog

1926 Men’s and Women’s Swimsuits, Belts, Caps and Shoes

Mid 1920s men's swimwear

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Replies to This Discussion

Swimsuits – Make or Buy Your Own

Making a men’s or women’s 1920s swimsuit isn’t too difficult- Find an extra long cotton ribbed tank top and a pair of biking shorts. Add stripes and edging using binding tape or buy a “ringer tank top” with contrast edging already attached. Add a white belt and swim cap and done! This tutorial should help (womens) 

DIY 1920s Swimsuit easy! Start with a long tank top and matching knit shorts and paint on stripes. Add a white belt if you wish. Works for women's, men's and kids swimsuits

DIY Swimsuit easy! Start with a long tank top and matching knit shorts and paint on stripes. Add a white belt if you wish. Works for women’s, men’s and kids swimsuits

For men, the above tank plus shorts works fine, too. For mid- to late-1920s style look at a wrestling singlet also called a body suit or unitard. These one piece, snug fitting suits have the same silhouette as ’20s swimwear. I would choose cotton or Lycra, if you plan to swim in it. You may also want to order 1 or two sizes up to get a looser, less body building, vintage look.

For a teens and early ’20s swimsuit that is more boxy, I took a cotton Henley shirt and a pair of basic swim trunks and trimmed them in binding tape. You could also use a basic cotton striped T-shirt worn over a pair of trunks, too. Most ready-made 1920s swimsuit costumes are striped. See below.

how to make a mens 1920s swimsuit
Men’s Swimsuit (circa 1915-1920) I made of Oscar using a Henley shirt and swim shorts, trimmed in binding tape.

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