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Men's Manmilla Seasuit

Date: 1930s
Dimensions:
Overall: 850 x 480 mm, 350 g
Clothing size: 42
Medium: Wool
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Robyn Cumming
Object Name: Swimsuit
Object No: 00048066

User Terms

    Description
    This swimsuit is typical of men's swimwear of the early 1930s and features a tank top and full modesty skirt. Before the introduction of one-piece suits with detachable tops in 1933-34 men one-piece tanks suits. To sun bath and tan their upper bodies men would roll down the tank top.

    Manmilla Seasuits were sold with racer-backs as well as with this tank top design in shades of solid maroon, black, blue and red and retailed in Melbourne for 9 shillings and 11 pence.
    SignificanceThis swimsuit is representative of the men's Manmilla Seasuit range produced in Melbourne from 1934.
    HistoryDuring the 1930s swimwear designs were all about revealing more of the body, a trend influenced by the craze for sun bathing. Men rolled down the tops of their one-piece suits to tan their upper torsos, thereby challenging the accepted protocols of the day which dictated that upper bodies are covered while swimming or sun bathing in public. At this time men's swimsuits incorporated full modesty skirts giving the suit a double layer of wool and ensuring it would not hug the body when wet. Shoulder straps became thinner and racing suits popularised the racer-back shoulder strap with its characteristic Y-shaped straps and narrow back.

    Over the decade men's one-piece suits became briefer with cut-away-side panels and the introduction of detachable tops in the early 1930s allowed men to swim or sun bath topless. By the end of the decade high waisted woollen trunks with webbing belts were the preferred swimsuit for men and boys.
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