Friday, August 29, 2014

Vintage Beauty Pageants, Retro Bathing Suits 20s-50s

Labor day always signals the imminent end of long summer days, beaches and bathing suits, but for one more weekend let's celebrate the season! And nothing typifies the summer like vintage beauty pageants! So I thought it would be fun to celebrate this weekend by putting together a little tribute to the whacky and wonderful history of pageants.


1920s swimsuits
"Beauty show at the Washington Bathing Beach", Washington DC 1922

Be sure to open these panoramas to view the full size image! They're stunning! And prints are available to purchase from this awesome vintage photography site, Shorpy!

1920's beauty pageant
"The Third Annual Pageant of Pulchritude / 9th Annual Bathing Girl Revenue", Galveston, TX, 1928

1920s fashion
"Miss Atlantic City", 1927

20's hair 20s dress
"Miss Bobbed Hair", 1925


1930s Miss America
"Miss America" 1930

1930s beauty

1930s pageant costume
"Miss Radio Queen", 1939


1940s miss america
Miss Philadelphia crowned Miss America, 1940

1940s evening dress
"Miss America", 1943

catalina flying fish bikini
"Miss Toronto", 1946 - Love those early Catalina swimsuits!


By the 50's Catalina began sponsoring its own beauty contests!
1950s Catalina Beauty Pageants

1950s beauty pageant gowns
Behind the scenes - getting ready for the evening gown portion

1954 pageant queen
"National Catfish Queen", 1954

This newsreel highlight of the 1955 Miss California pageant features a quick tour of Santa Cruz, the arrival of the contestants, the pageant's bathing suit portion, an evening gown competition to die for, and a beachfront crowing. The winner was Barbara Harris, age 20. And for those as nosy as I am, you'll be happy to note that the reporter did his job very thoroughly - Miss Harris weighed 120 lbs, was 5'6",  and measured 34.5" - 23.5" - 34.5"!


How could I not include this goodie?!...
1960s mink
"Miss Mink", 1960

Enjoy the holiday! And don't be afraid to show off your best pageant wave this weekend!