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Aug 7, 2012

Beach Jacket Bingo!



Readers, when you go to the beach -- I mean when you're literally walking on the sand -- what are you usually wearing besides a bathing suit (assuming you're not on a nude beach, of course) --  maybe a sweatshirt or windbreaker, right?  Or just spray-on Banana Boat, SPF 60?

What you're probably not wearing is a matching beach jacket.  I don't think you'd even see one of those on Lindsay Lohan, poolside at the Chateau Marmont.  It's just not the way people dress anymore.

I was going to title this post "Whatever Happened to the Beach Jacket?" but I didn't want to come across as one of those arbiters of womens fashion again so soon.  Actually, I have only positive things to say about the nearly-gone-but-not-forgotten beach jacket -- or should I say, coordinating beach ensemble.

Beach jackets could be Forties-style toppers, like Lana Turner's above, complete with shoulder pads out to there.  Many were cut more like smocks, or ponchos, or muumuus, or even the spitting image of a dental hygienist's uniform.







Like fashion itself, beach outfits went from tailored to loose and flowy -- from glamour, to boho and beyond, and you'd still find patterns for them well into the Eighties.











I finally finished my Forties beach jacket, which has come out looking like a cross between "Female on the Beach" and "The Birth of A Nation." 

 



The hood lining and facings are done in a contrasting black and white floral fabric.



I love this garment, which was a lot less complicated than the bathing suit that will accompany it, thank goodness.  The unfortunate part is that the fabric I'd originally chosen for the suit really doesn't work with the black and white.  I called it wrong, folks.



I'll just have to save it for a community theater production of Cobra Woman.  Now I'm thinking solid eyelet or pique; we'll see.

Remember all that to-do about stripes last week? Well, we tried the horizontal striped pocket (just pinned) but decided it was too bold, too distracting, especially with the contrasting fabric, so we went with vertical pockets instead.



What is cool, however, is the design the stripes make when the hood is down.



I don't want to go into too much detail about my jacket now, but rather to ask you about beach ensembles in general.  Aside from the fact that there are hardly any in-print swimsuit patterns out there, do any come with a matching jacket -- or a matching anything?  I'm not asking for Annette Funicello's entire wardrobe from Muscle Beach Party; those days are over.



Are beach jackets just too much trouble: too fussy, too matchy-matchy, too much to pack in a suitcase?

I miss them -- don't you?

Have a great day, everybody!

(Just a casual dip in the lake...)

40 comments:

  1. I almost spit out my Perrier reading the Birth of a Nation sentence. Hilarious. The beach jacket is not my thing, and I say this as a person who just came from the beach. Mind you, my friend wears chic dress-like ensembles to the waterfront all the time.

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  2. Love this topic, and have many patterns from these dates too. To reduce stress in my life I adore beach outfits, and see as something to wear when I want to. One very fun dress I wore to church often. One conservative but kind lady said - I love, love your dress. It reminds me of beach dresses. Got to laugh (especially after my day to-day). Cathie, in midst of a sea of vintage patterns, in Quebec.

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  3. They are now called cover ups and tend to look more like dresses ... http://www.victoriassecret.com/swimwear/cover-ups?pageAt=all

    At least, that's what shows up at Victoria's Secret ...

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  4. I love the beach jacket idea! I would totally wear one... however, since I dress in vintage every day this should come as a suprise to no-one. And I have sewn a swimsuit and beach jacket ensemble... I blogged about it here if anyone is interested: http://sewretrorose.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/my-completed-vintage-swimsuit.html

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  5. I like the beach jackets I see in my vintage patterns too. I do have a few beach cover-ups that are dress as the reader above noted. But a jacket - especially a reversible one would be fabulous

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  6. I giggled so much over the 'cross between "Female on the Beach" and "The Birth of A Nation."' line I got a sharp don't-wake-the-baby look from across the room! Still giggling (quietly), in fact.

    When I go to the beach I go to swim/ride the waves/snorkel and I'm wearing board shorts and a rash guard over my suit. (Very well covered, not so stylish as a beach dress though.) If I'm there to read a book and enjoy the view, I wear my normal clothes.

    Was at the beach last weekend, in fact, and people were either wearing normal clothes, skimpy suits & tanning themselves into luggage, or a variation on the rashguard & shorts above.

    Cheers! cait

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  7. I love a good matchie beach/pool ensemble...in fact I am making a matching swimming trunks and terry pool jacket for my fiance for his birthday this year... very James Bond, Sean Connery style:) I can't wait to make my own.

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  8. What is the number of that Vogue pattern with the floppy hat? It is cut off in the picture!

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  9. The latest Burdastyle magazine has a reprint of a '60's bikini and jacket pattern. It's cute, but not as cute as your striped jacket.

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  10. As a child, I was given a towelling beach jacket for Christmas about every second year and was always disappointed that it wasn't a book!

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  11. Love so much about the jacket. Box the hood point! immediately!

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  12. In the words of Tina Turner, Peter, You're simply the best. Better than all the rest.

    Definately my favourite blog going, at the moment.

    Fantastic post. Also timely as here in the Southern Hemisphere the sun trying so hard to shine again.

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  13. I'd guess that sunscreen is the main reason for the beach jacket's demise. Sure we have coverups now, and beach goers seek shade, but being able to apply sunscreen must have been a large factor. I favor shade and big hats myself :)

    Speaking of Birth of a Nation, it actually inspired the modern KKK. And who says movie violence doesn't impact society?

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    1. Also, love the 60s and 70s suits! Wish they came with the body to wear them ;)

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  14. I really like the idea (especially from a sun-safe perspective). I would never have thought to make one, because I can't remember ever seeing one that isn't a caftan...

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  15. I can remember a mini hooded dress, zipped through with a round zip pull, (of course)made out of orange towelling. Now I suppose people just wrap a towel around themselves. I personally prefer the former idea

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  16. A beach Jacket? Just what I need! Love the beach but I am terrified of the Ozone hole we have here in New Zealand. And sunscreen can miss spots. I adore the Vogue 7479. Would it be sacrelidge to wear that even away from the beach?

    Beach jackets would also save us from this problem. Togs, btw, is the kiwi lingo for swimwear. Don't know why. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-Lx2ihpGbc

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  17. I distinctly remember my grandmother wearing a white terry towelling/cloth to the beach. She always looked so smart in her bathing ensemble.
    I tend to wear just an oversized sun shirt with a sun-protection factor over my bathing suit.... Matching of course :)

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  18. As someone who burns easily (no matter what SPF I wear!), I do love the idea of a beach jacket! I toyed with the idea of making one this summer to go with a swimsuit I bought (cherry print), but never found the right fabric. Alas, though I live within spitting distance of the beach, I get to be a bit of a curmudgeon about the tourists that descend during the summer and avoid it. Which means that a beach jacket would be another of those rarely-used pieces in my closet for activities I don't often do. *sigh* Still, I love the elegance and slight eccentricity of wearing one in the 21st century! But then again, I am always the gal on the beach also sporting the dramatic hat and platform heels (yes, you read that right...). So I must not really care about current convention on such things. ;) lol.

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  19. You said Birth of a Nation! I choked from laughter! Thank you :) So, I'm in the midst of swim sewing (hoping for two weeks at the beach before the year is over) and a coverup is on my list.

    I look best in a two piece, not because I'm skinny. But, it breaks up my body better and shows the smallest part of me. That being said, I'm super self conscious in swimwear and want a coverup.

    When I was a kid, I just wore a horrid men's tee shirt to walk around in. I do have a couple of vintage coverups and plan to make one out of a plain voile.

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  20. In the 70s my youngest brother had a beach jacket; it was lined with white towel fabric and the outer fabric was a quilting type cotton in a gorgeous red background with a beach shell design...i had SERIOUS beach jacket envy...i would imagine that, given my youngest brother was the third of 3 boys, it was passed on down through my older brothers until it became his. For some reason, it wasn't handed down to me...this fact saddened me no end - i would hazard a guess that said beach jacket just plain wore out after 3 boys wearing it. clearly i still haven't recovered from not being the 4th owner of the red beach jacket.

    I'm ALL for beach jackets...especially if they're red...and with a shell pattern.

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  21. I love that last pattern with the weird backless beach dress. I've dreamed of making it for years!

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  22. Dude, was that "contrasting black and white floral fabric" a gift from, or inspired by, Laura Mae?

    If so, "Cath-wrath" is another word for payback.

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  23. Beachwear (poolwear for those of us who are beach deprived) seems to have simply changed from a planned swimsuit/jacket to swimsuit/whatever. Hoodies, T-shirts, tank tops, button front shirts, long loose dresses, thin fabric just wrapped and tied have all replaced the jacket. And too often, nothing is worn over the swimsuit.

    Your jacket looks great, and I agree - the swimsuit fabric you originally planned is a bit off color-wise.

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  24. Going to the beach? Don't forget your parka. That's how it is here in Oregon. I do see swimsuit cover-ups in resort wear depts and in swimsuit boutiques. They are pretty but not windproof.

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  25. When I was growing up, I always had a cover up. It was not an elegant beach jacket, though. I would have loved to have a matching cover up. Yours is certainly impressive. Mine was a garment made by my mother out of towels. I thought it was cool at the time. I burn easily and in the hot eastern Washington desert it was a must at the pool. Now I usually use a shirt made of high SPF fabric from REI.

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  26. First, I have to comment on how modern the photo of Lana Turner looks. Beautiful and timeless. I would love a beach ensemble with matching jacket and wedges. I have also always loved the bathing suit and cover SKIRT that Grace Kelly wears in To Catch a Thief. Perfect for transitioning from hotel to water.

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  27. I'm guessing the beach jacket was replaced with the ~sarong~ and the ~cover-up~ (read: a seriously cheap jersey wrap dress that retails for obscene prices). BORING!

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  28. beach jackets were in the days before serious sun protection, and so much more fashionable than SPF 15.

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  29. I think the jackets are mostly envelope filler. Most people are shopping for the suit pattern but feel better if there's something extra included. I'm all for sun protection but would prefer a pullover dress. Something that covers shoulders and chest but isn't stifling. But perhaps this sort of layering works best with modern knit suits.

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  30. Great jacket. I never had a need for a beach jacket or a swim suit/bathers for that matter. I went to a nude beach. Some people there really needed a beach jacket though and there was a wonderful Japanese man who offered free massages.

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  31. It looks lovely, and I feel like I totally missed out on the days of coordinating items... sigh. I would love a matching suit/coverup, or a cute matching bustier & skirt set. There's just something so classic about it!

    Coverups that girls wear on the beach today are often flimsy, see-through, and neon. What's the point? Oh right - sex appeal.

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  32. I really like the striped cover up, though the pointed hood is a bit too pointy/KKK for me. I like the print lining and the fact that it’s long enough to cover the “Crotch Gusset of Shame.”

    I’m with Sara. I don’t spend much time in a bathing suit these days, but I’d love a matching/coordinating set. That Lana Turner set looks great. However, those days seem to be gone. I live near the shore and there is very little covering up going on.

    As a kid in the 1960’s I remember having a terry beach jacket that I loved because it was super comfy after being in the sun all day. As a teen, I would just throw on a shirt and shorts like everyone else at the time.

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  33. I love the idea of a beach jacket, although around these parts it would be more of a pool jacket. Something to toss on while you walk to your car, or better yet when you stroll through the very chilly hotel hallways on your way back to your room after lounging pool side.

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  34. When we go to the beach, we take shorts and short sleeved shirts in case we want to go into a cold restaurant after. That's not very likely though - we just go home after rinsing off our feet.

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  35. I still have a terry cloth coverup that my grandmother gave me around 1980. It's cut like a loose long sleeved shirt, with the addition of hood with ties, a kangaroo pocket in the front, and a bit of a keyhole opening at the neck. It's handy for having a bit of warmth for cooler days at the beach.

    As kid, around 1974, I had a terry cloth poncho that my mother made for me. It was a large square of multicolored terry cloth, with a circular elastisized head hole at the center, and with 3" red fringe all around the edges. Very 70s looking.

    That green floral fabric is FABULOUS! I so want a swimsuit of it for myself, and I'm generally not a fan of greens.

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  36. Hi Peter!
    Re: "How to Avoid Unfortunate Patterned-Fabric Placement" I did a blog post + Pinterest pin on the subject LOL - here :)

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  37. My mom made us matching bikinis and cover-ups from 8153 above, of a wild, paisley print, and they were so groovy! I wore it to the pool, only to have some bossy lifeguard-type tell me that I couldn't wear my cover-up because it was 'street clothes' and street clothes weren't allowed in the pool area. (?) She hadn't even seen the swim suit! I was really young and didn't even know what 'street clothes' meant! I ducked back into the dressing room, upset and crying, took it off and hid it, rolled up in my towel, and took it out with me anyway. My mom's cover-up 'disappeared' while we were visiting relatives: They had guests with two older teen age daughters, and good grief! My mother HAD to be mistaken, there was no way anyone of them could be sticky-fingered! But when we left, her cover up was gone. (She still has the swimsuit.)
    I found a hand-drafted pattern for a terry towel cover-up in a box of patterns at a yard sale. It's a shawl-collared, short jacket with sleeves. It's very cute made up in a printed beach towel.

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