50s Swimwear: Rose Marie Reid

25 Mar

Rose Marie Reid  had to be one the most innovative designers for swimwear in the 20th Century, specifically reforming swimwear of the 1950’s.

Born in 1906 to a Mormon family in Utah and taught sewing by her mother,  she married a man name Jack Reid and moved to Canada.  Her swimwear designs began when her husband requested a pair of swimming trunks that weren’t made of wool and that wouldn’t get drenched with water.  He was so pleased with her creation that he arranged for a local shop to carry her swimwear, and the label Reid Holiday Togs, was created.

Starting out in the 1930’s, Reid’s sales soared to close to $1 million in 1946, and began serious competition with US swimwear manufacturers.  Rose Marie Reid became one of the top swimwear designers for her innovative designs and fabrication and construction that flattered the body.   Focused not only on functionality of the swimsuit, but for beauty and style as well.  Reid introduced into her designs tummy control panels, panels that fit and enhanced the body, built in bra cups for a natural bustline,  vertical stripes that slimmed fuller bodies in a dress like design, and skirting to hide full hips.  Reid focused on colors and patterns that would flatter the figure, along with manipulating the fabric placement, seams, shirring,  boning, for the best fit- ideas that had only previously used for lingerie.

Rose Marie Reid’s suit’s fabulous fit and designs were so beautiful that they were worn by the likes of Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe, and Joan Crawford.  Besides being one of the first swimwear designers to produce more than one line a year and producing memorable bathing suits, she also won the American Sportswear and Design Award in 1958.

Some original Rose Marie Ried ads:

I have a great vintage original Rose Marie Reid nautical swimsuit up for sale now SOLD OUT! on my Etsy shop!

Rose Marie Reid vintage nautical swimsuit, click to buy at Castaway Vintage

Rose Marie Reid 50's pin up nautical swimsuit


2 Responses to “50s Swimwear: Rose Marie Reid”

  1. Donna Scott July 19, 2010 at 12:28 am #

    My favorite bathing suit still is a Rose Marie Reid suit that I bought in the early 1990s (style 5108). Unfortunately, it was ruined in a highly chlorinated pool and lost all of its elasticity. I have been trying to find out if Rose Marie Reid suits are still being made. If the company was bought out, does anyone know who bought it? My suit had a slimming black band down each side, with gathers along the bands. It was a beautiful aqua blue with black markings – similar to an animal print. I have never had a suit that fit so well and I’d love to have another one, at least the same style. Does anyone have any related information? It would be appreciated.

  2. Carol Schurtz November 13, 2010 at 5:16 pm #

    I have a ventage Rose Marie Reid swim suit (50’s) for sale. It is a Orange/yellow/brown plaid with shorts legs and a back zipper. It is fitted with sheared elastic in the back that is in perfect condition. It is about a size 6. Interested? Know someone who would be? Thanks

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