Knitted Swimwear – part 2

miniature knitting
© F H Powell 2014

Changes in taste in the 1920’s required women to be youthful, fit and healthy. Both men and women wore knitted bathing suits and by the end of the decade the ‘neck to knees’ design had gradually been replaced by smaller and smaller bathing suits. By the 1930’s this strive for fitness was in full swing. In the US Jack LaLanne who was known as “the godfather of fitness” is credited with starting the fitness craze in the 1930s on Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, whilst in Europe the fitness craze was shown in the growth of the Lido. By the 1930’s swimming in its own right had become popular and the Lido a natural attraction for swimmers. It was here that the knitted bathing suits were as much a statement of design as functionality.

However, it was during the mid ‘30’s that the beginning of the end of the knitted bathing suit began. The invention of Lastex, an elastic fibre wound with silk thread produced originally for the girdle market, was adopted as a swimsuit fabric and was patronised by the top Hollywood stars. The invention in the early 1940’s of increasingly cheap synthetic fibres saw the end of knitted swimwear for the masses.

miniature knitting
© F H Powell 2010