Bathing Beauties of Richmond

As the temperature continues to rise, many of us are trying to find some relief from the heat – this is nothing new to Richmonders.  And ladies – you know it takes a bit of courage to face swimsuit season, so this made us think – what did the women of the River City wear over the years to have some fun in the sun?

In the 1920s swimsuits for women came in fairly standardized styles which gave women enough freedom to swim a few laps, but left very little fashion sensibility as seen in this image of a female swim team taken by Stead Studio located on Broad Street.

Stars like Ester Williams made synchronized swimming popular as seen in movies like Neptune’s Daughter (1949) and Million Dollar Mermaid (1952).  The trend made it’s way to Richmond as seen in this image of women performing at Shields Lake Park in 1948.

Whether you are laying out like these Virginia Commonwealth University students (1969) or taking a dip in the James River like this young girl with her mother (1970) or hard at work as a lifeguard (1969) – it is important to have the right suit…

Swimwear styles increasingly expanded from the 1950s through the 1970s and included the bikini, which was introduced following World War II.  This white bikini from swimwear designer Catalina was purchased in 1971 and features a halter top and hip-hugger style bottom.

This adorable suit by American designer Tina Lesner was sold with a matching dress / cover-up in 1973.

During the fitness craze of the 1970s and 1980s women could find many options for swimsuits specifically made for performance such as this Gottex multi-colored one piece from 1973.

A suit that is one with nature for the sun goddess of Richmond – this was sold at Neiman Marcus in 1975.