Monday, May 23, 2011

Hippy Glamour -- 50s style

 I've become more fascinated recently with the 1950s era of fashion, culture and surfing. I can't tell you how many times I've watched Bud Browne's Surfing in the 50s (and yes, on VHS!). Browne, the father of surf movies, captured some of the greats in his films, including Dewey Weber,  Buzzy Trent, Phil Edwards, Peter Cole, Linda Benson and Marge Calhoun, who is my favorite all-time female surfer.
Calhoun, Benson  and the other pioneering women from  this era had such style and grace, not to mention chutzpa for riding big surf on heavy logs sans leashes and wetsuits. And they were super stylish in their '50s bathing suits (I'm actually on the hunt  for one now, similar to one worn by Calhoun in the Surfing in the 50s film).
Many of the bathing suits during this era were fashioned by none other than the "Million Dollar Mermaid" herself -- Esther Williams. The  former competitive swimmer and starlet-turned bathing suit designer set the stage for classic, stylish and quality beach-going and wave riding attire. During my grand quest for such a suit  I came across some really great vintage wear sites, including Esther Williams ( and a cool blog called GlamourSplash ( 
I'm inspired and stoked to see this style of suit still being made. It's funny how the pioneers in fashion and surfing back then were making "modern" advances, and how today we want to reverse back to that time.  It was a time before polyurethane foam, plastic fins, Roxy, SUPs and everything made in China for cheap. I, for one, vote to go back to that era of classic, quality fashion and surfing, even if it means I can't wear a wetsuit.
Esther Williams

Marge Calhoun

Linda Benson


  1. Love it! I am also partial to this style of bathing suit, as it's most flattering and comfortable for my (fuller) figure.

  2. Ditto Heidi! Real women figure as opposed to the waifs in style there...