Hey, that’s my swimsuit!

fashion, friends, nostalgia, shopping, vintage & retro Style, Viva Las Vegas

A few weeks ago, I finally finished a book that I had been reading on and off for a couple of months. It’s titled Picture This! The Inside Story and Classic Photos of UPI Newspapers, and it’s a compelling read sandwiched in between both classic and less-familiar photos from UPI’s heyday. But the best part, for me, was this: Almost at the end of the book, all the way on page 248, I see this photo of gals in swimsuits playing in the surf. The caption says it was taken during the 1961 Miss America pageant, and hey, that one gal on the right… she’s wearing my De Weese swimsuit! See? (Click on the Corbis photo to see it full-size)

Miss America Pageant, 1961

Viva Las Vegas pool party, 2008

Something I noticed about this modern photo just this evening: I personally had something to do with every outfit. From left to right: Repro pants set from Chop Suey Sisters, traded to the wearer for a dress that I have STILL not worn. Vintage ‘Peter Pan’ by Oleg Cassini swimsuit, found on eBay and sold to the wearer for my cost (Anchor and belt not original to the suit). Me, wearing the De Weese Designs ‘Sea Goddess’ swimsuit that I coveted and finally found, still with tags, on eBay.* Also wearing the shoes that I got in exchange for the shoes that our right-most model is wearing. Both pairs were purchased via mail order, mine a wee bit too small for me, and hers way too big on her. We swapped, but those shoes are too big even on my rabbit feet. My inability to keep them on was only partially due to the poolside drinks, and I nearly broke a toe when I got caught in the straps as they slipped off for the 50th time. I still have them, if anyone is interested. I think they’re marked an 8, but must be at least a 10.

*The original selling price on that swimsuit tag was $29.95. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ online inflation calculator, the price in 2007, when I bought it, would have been $209.69. Thankfully, I didn’t pay that much. 🙂

As another side note, because I’m a research whore: The swimsuit came with two hangtags; one from De Weese and another from the department store that was selling it, Hudson’s. In 1961, the flagship Hudson’s store in Detroit was the tallest department store in the world. By 1969, Hudson’s had merged with The Dayton Company to become Dayton-Hudson. In 2000, D-H rebranded all Dayton’s and Hudson’s stores as Marshall Fields. The brand was in short turn sold to May Department Stores, which then sold to Federated Department Stores in 2006, and all MF stores were renamed Macy’s. So there you have it.

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