Dreaming of Summer with "Swim Easy" Swimsuits

As long as there has been sand, secluded coves, calm lakes, vast oceans and hot days, people have taken to the waters for health, exercise, fun, and community. Once just a summer retreat for those who lived close to a shore or the wealthy, mass transportation and motorcars turned a day at the beach into a democratized leisure activity. And with that came a booming market for fashionable attire.

Belmont Beach, 15 July 1928

 

Newspaper advertisement for Swim-Easy swimsuits (Honolulu Star Advertiser, 27 July 1924)

Early bathing costumes for women were a far cry from what we see at beaches and pools today. Virtually a dress with long pantaloons, these costumes were meant to cover and disguise the natural curves of a woman's body. Not much thought was given to form or function. At the turn of the 20th century swimsuits became more streamlined, using lighter weight fabrics and a tighter fit that did away with some of the modesty and allowed for freer movement in the water. A necessity for the New Woman and flapper, for whom as swimming for sport became more and more popular.

Newspaper advertisement for "Swim-Easies" (The Los Angeles Times, 1 July 1928)

By the 1920s, Hollywood along with popular women's magazines were promoting the idea of "sexy" swimwear with bathing beauties featured in films and swimsuit beauty contests happening across the United States. Bathing costumes became smaller, tighter and less restrictive on a woman's shapely curves.
This new obsession with swimming and swimwear also saw the rise of popular bathing suit company Swim Easy. Manufacturing suits for women, children and men, Swim Easy was branded by the Myers Manufacturing Company, Inc. of Poughkeepsie, New York. Their trademarked suits were advertised heavily in newspapers and magazines throughout the early 20th century. Their one-piece suits boasted a variety of novel and stylish models and many of Hollywood's aspiring starlets were photographed in their fashions. Popular among the Swim Easy style of suits was its wool jersey fabric, often belted at the waist, and featuring one of their logos –– an all caps SWIM EASY banner, a silhouette of a mermaid, or a bathing beauty flapper standing in shallow surf with a globe at her back.
To further promote their brand, Swim Easy photographed Hollywood stars in their suits and also held bathing beauty revues and contests.

Hollywood actress Myrna Loy modeling a Swim Easy swimsuit in Movie Picture magazine (6 August 1927)

A newspaper advertisement for the Swim-Easy Winter Bathing Girl Revue (Exhibitors Trade Review, 21 October 1922)

 

Newspaper advertisement for the Swim Easy Bathing Girl Revue (Variety, 30 June 1922)

 

Brea Municipal Plunge, 1932

 

Swim Easy Revue 1922

While very popular in the early part of the 20th century, Swim Easy eventually fell out of popularity in competition with brands like Jantzen and Catalina.

Swimsuit advertisement for a Swim Easy Bathing Suit Sale (Santa Ana Register, 6 May 1927)

 

"Swim Easy" Bathing Suits men's swimwear advertisement (Honolulu Star Advertiser, 9 February 1930)

 

 

 

 



 

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