Gloria Brame, Ph.D.

Get Beached: Vintage Summer Fashions

Filed By Gloria Brame, Ph.D. | March 30, 2011 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: 1940s, 1950s, men's' fashions, vintage beach, vintage fashions, vintage summer fashions, women's fashions

Buried like some deep ancestral memory, I vaguely remember that my dad had a jacket and swim trunks set like this ca. 1960. I think they were called cabana sets.

My dad's was a Hawaiian print with flamingoes on it (uh-huh). Though it's painful to admit, he wore black leather shoes and black socks with it. Of course, being a tot, I thought this made him look very sophisticated. A few years later my mother, who never threw anything away, threw this outfit away, and a fashion trend died (at least in our house in Brooklyn).

This photo is probably ca. late 1940s/early 1950s. I really like the gal's simple set but the men's line still looks awfully goofy to me.


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The term "cabana set" rung a distant bell for me, too. I googled it, and sure enough, that was the term. Apparently they're still available, if difficult to find. And I very much doubt anyone today advocates wearing them with shoes and socks. Though doubtless some men in Florida are sporting that look right now.

Please don't Bil. It would devastate my image of you.

My friend and I felt very cosmopolitan strolling down Kapiolani Blvd wearing only the swimsuit part of our cabana sets. It suddenly started raining; a daily happening in Hawaii. We dashed into a men’s clothing store and bought another trendy item that year. We looked very GQ wearing our new clear plastic raincoats over our swimsuits. It was time for another cocktail at the happening gay (off limits) bar, The Wagon Wheel. Circa 1965

There's a certain segment of the male population that will forever wear shoes and socks with their bathing suit and also with shorts. It crosses all lines, too.