August 27, 2011

Rose Marie Reid: Vintage Designer Bios

Rose Marie Reid was likely the most popular swimwear label of the 1950s, and her bathing attire remains just as attractive to the vintage clothing world today. The lady behind the label lived a remarkable life, outfitting the likes of Joan Crawford and Marilyn Monroe in her heyday.

She was born Rose Marie Yancey in 1906 to a Mormon family in Utah. Her upbringing lent itself to entreprenuerial success, as she worked in the family's grocery enterprise by age 14, and her mother taught her sewing at an expert level.

After marrying Jack Reid and moving to Canada, her bathing suits were borne out of a request by her husband for a pair of swim trunks in the early 1930s. His complaint was that swimsuits of the day were all-wool, and when soaked in water became very heavy and uncomfortable. She created a pair of trunks cut from an old duck-fabric coat, and laced the sides for a close fit. They were so functional that Jack arranged for a local department store to carry the swimwear, much to Rose Marie's reluctance. He'd even claimed they had similar (non-existent) women's suits available! With this, Reid Holiday Togs, Inc was created.

"What you really need is a new suit for sunning, last year's for swimming and an extra one just for fun. A wardrobe of three of four suits isn't at all unusual any more... and some women buy 12 or 13 at a time."

- Rose Marie Reid
(Burr & Petersen, p.95)

In their first year, the Reids showed six styles. In later years over 100 designs were shown in one season, as annual sales soared from $32,000 in 1938 to $834,000 in 1946. The war years stifled Rose Marie's creativity with quotas and fabric restrictions, but she continued to innovate.

Rose Marie began more direct competition with US swimsuit companies in 1946. With financial backing, Rose Marie's business overtook the industry in a few years, and quickly found her competitors copying her designs. Cole even had a suit they audaciously named "Rose Marie" because they'd stolen the design from her (Burr & Petersen, p. 89). By 1958, sales were $14 million as Rose Marie ruled a swimsuit empire.

Rose Marie was the first swimwear designer to come out with more than one line a year, including a late summer line and a resort & cruisewear line. Notable bathing suits included one "of glistening white" with a lobster placed on it, presumably after the surrealist Schiaparelli gown with the same theme (Burr & Petersen, p. 44). There was also a gold metallic suit with a price tag of $90, when most swimwear sold for $6.95 at the time. When Rita Hayworth bought one, Rose Marie enjoyed instant success despite the price. Another gold suit created in 1951 was actually precious metal, in black lace with 24-carat goldplating. This rarity sold for over $100 exclusively at Lord & Taylor.

Rose Marie found herself traveling to Europe for inspiration, and dining with the likes of designer Emilio Pucci and journalist Ann Scott James. Pucci complimented her by taking her swimsuits to his office staff. Even amidst the glamour, her personal style was endearing. At one RMR show, she'd had such a time crunch that the suits weren't priced beforehand. Rose Marie solved the problem by simply asking the models what they'd pay for the suits they wore! Then in 1955, a rose was created in her name, inspired by the colors in that year's swimsuit line. And in '58, she won the American Sportswear and Design Award. By 1959, her factories produced 10,000 suits per day. Rose Marie was on top of the world.

Just a few years later, RMR's swimwear success faltered with the bikini craze of the 1960s, and was accelerated by Rose Marie's emerging health troubles. Other designers were brought in to contribute designs, changing the atmosphere of the company for the worse. For the first time, some suits that had her label were not her designs.

Decorum was on Rose Marie's mind when the bikini binge began. Suddenly the midriff-baring two-piece suits were everywhere. At Saks, women over sixty were buying bikinis, and women sized 20 were requesting them. This change of taste was one Rose Marie tried to overcome by crusading for the modesty of the one-piece suits she made famous. She disavowed ever designing a bikini, but due to the collaborative design effort now present at RMR, bikinis were nonetheless made with the RMR label. She left the company she'd created in 1962, claiming the bikini was ultimately its demise. Rose Marie was not idle, however; she began marketing wigs in 1963.

Munsingwear bought the company, but had ceased operations of RMR swimwear by 1965. The name Rose Marie Reid is still licensed and manufactured today, owned for a time by United Merchants (who purchased Jonathan Logan in 1986), and then by Sirena Apparel Group who bought the name Rose Marie Reid in 1994.

Why was RMR so popular? Rose Marie sparked the very idea of beauty in swimwear, compared to earlier wool suits meant for sport, not style. Yet finding a flattering swimsuit was just as difficult then as today. As the swimsuit queen said herself, "Nothing is so brutally frank as the bare essentials of a bathing suit" (Burr & Petersen, p. 45).

To achieve the goal of flattery on every figure, Rose Marie always designed on the model to ensure a realistic shape even through the severe silhouette of the 1950s. She referred to her customers' various silhouettes as "jewel shapes" - six geometric shapes that were all stunning in their differences. A few of the innovations Rose Marie developed in her suits included:

  • tummy control panels
  • paneling that reproportioned the body
  • a long-line bra with plastic boning that creates a divided natural bustline, for full busts
  • vertical stripes that slimmed in a dress-like design, for full hips
  • "magic length" suits for the long-waisted
  • stay-down legs via an innovative crotch panel
  • brief skirts for full figures
*images from 1950s Rose Marie Reid pamphlet titled 'Which Jewel Shape is She?'

She found that pastels and dark colors seemed best for hiding figure flaws, and that she could manipulate fabrics' grains for rigidity or elasticity, depending on placement (like the bias cuts Vionnet used for dresses decades before). She made certain to include adjustable fittings & closures for a more tailored effect. Details previously used only in lingerie & evening wear, like boned bodices and wired bra cups, were added to achieve a smooth silhouette.

Rose Marie's intuitive genius created swimsuits that wore well, looked flattering and seemed so much more special than the utilitarian looks they originally replaced. From the 1950s to early 60s she ruled the swimsuit market, and she is well-remembered for her ambition and creativity.

Update (12/15/09):

An update on RMR's first-ever women's bathing suit from Colin Stevens of the New Westminster Museum of British Columbia, Canada:

Rose’s husband Jack was the swimming coach for Noel Oxenbury. He formed a swim club called the “”Crystal Club.” Rose Marie’s first 4 swimsuits were two male and two female:

Male - Jack Reid, her husband.
Male - Freddie Rossiter (swimmer)
Female - Noel Oxenbury (swimmer)
Female - Bunty Harrington (diver)

They modelled them for large department stores. The New Westminster Museum has uncovered the swimsuit made for and worn by Noel Oxenbury. It is green with white laces (one on each side.) The typed note that she pinned to the suit reads “The first ladies bathing suit made by “Rose Marie” Reid at the Crystal Pool and modeled by Noel Oxenbury for buyers from Spencers, Woodwards and the Hudson’s Bay era 1936 – 37.” Colin has graciously offered to provide us with a picture of the suit when available.

Reid Burr, Carole and Petersen, Roger K. (1995). Rose Marie Reid: An Extraordinary Life Story
. Utah: Convenant Communications, Inc.

Additional Resources:
The California Swimsuit


  1. Some of my friends are fan of vintage clothing and accessories. I think I love it as well because I can appreciate the conservative yet sexy style of their clothes.

    -Alexis H.

  2. It is good hear. I have found some useful success information in your content. Most social shopping have believe this work. I found a informative success fashion story.


  3. After this brings up its clients get entertained well with its premium services, the Russian Escorts in Lucknowis liable to increase the level of fun by its quality services dissimilar to get anywhere. So, let us forget everything and take pleasure in what you wait for a long time. Check our other Services...
    Russian Escorts in Lucknow
    Russian Escorts in Mahipalpur
    Russian Escorts in Mahipalpur
    Russian Escorts in Mahipalpur
    Russian Escorts in Mahipalpur

  4. I saw this before and been looking this for a week! Glad I found it here where my Canadian-born American swimwear designer, business woman, and Mormon missionary, Rose Marie Reid made her first bathing suit in 1937. Check us here

  5. I am amazed by the way you have explained things in this article. I got so involved in this material that I couldn’t stop reading. I am impressed with your work and skill. I have bookmarked your page that is explain very well, I am excited to see more of it! Thank you so much. Best Beach Fashion Wear For Sale In USA.

  6. For a less curvy body, try wearing a bikini top with lots of detail like ruffles or prints to accentuate your figure. Under-wire or padded bikini top will help create cleavage. Micro kini

  7. The time has come to explore the sexy services for the bold requirement and bold requirements can do with the right services. Mahipalpur Escorts are now going to show you the ultimate cool performance of sex and this performance may never forget by you when you choose the ultimate services of sex.

    Mahipalpur Escorts
    Mahipalpur Escorts

  8. Delhi Call Girls offer best sexual support you actually head. You can likewise have supper and sweet experience to know each other well before your implication. You can appreciate a sentimental candlelight supper with one another prior to beginning drawing near to one another as it would make a sentimental encounter and you may think of her as like your better half.

  9. Need the Best Call Girls? Call For Best Service in Udaipur

    The finest features and qualities of Female Call Girls in Udaipur. Let us take a look at the options and the availability of the Udaipur Call Girls. Our Udaikkpur Call girls are supple and can stay with you the whole night. All our call girls are sexy, blonde, and well-informed and offer top Call Girls Service in Udaipur.

    Udaipur call girls
    Udaipur nude females
    Udaipur escorts
    Sexy Udaipur call girls


  10. South ex Call Girls Beauty with Killing Looks and Physique

    Our call girls Escorts in the south ex area are modish and stunning babes to enlighten your privacy with our professional Escorts that understand to maintain confidentiality about your privacy.South ex call girls now bring you the most lucrative deal for companionship as well as intimacy at inexpensive prices.
    South ex call girls
    South ex escorts
    Escorts in south ex
    Sexy escort in south ex

  11. Nice post! This is a very nice blog that I will definitely come back to more times this year! provides a collection of the Best Sofa Products, Accessories, Reviews & Recommendations. Such as Sofa Covers, Pet Sofa Cover, Sofa Slipcover, Sofa Accessories & More. We have collected only the best sellers from amazon based on customer reviews and sales.
    Best sofa Covers
    Cheap sectional sofas under 500
    Cheap sectional sofas under 300
    Best couch for back support

  12. Good Looking and lovely VIP Call girls in Udaipur

    Udaipur Call Girls offer the simplest top entertainment with sexy call girl Service. you've got an in depth choice between something more romantic up to some rough sodomy . These are just a few of the samples of the items that are possible whenever you desire to feel the proper way and fully satisfied with the highest class call girls.

    Udaipur call girls
    Udaipur escorts
    Udaipur call girl

    Escorts in udaipur

  13. Enjoy Munirka Call girl Services in the city
    Our munirka call girls are always willing to offer some attractive naughty offers. it'll get the simplest rates longer with ladies like escorts or others with some pleasure.You can have munirka call girls for your night fun. Also the middle City ladies as perfect Old so far companions.

    Munirka Call girl
    Munirka Call girls
    Escorts in Munirka 
    Munirka escorts

  14. Spend sensual bold day with Janakpuri call girls

    Janakpuri call girls never let their charm and horniness fritter away because they know once it goes away then it will be hard to get it back.All Janakpuri call girl are highly qualified and dress to kill to kill people You can appoint model call girl directly from the website or call us for further inquiry.

    Call girl in janakpuri
    janakpuri escorts

  15. On the other hand, Young College Girls Escorts in Paharganj is also good for the pleasure of the customers and that’s why they can grab the best pleasure moments with these call girls. There is no need to worry about the bad things because Young College Escorts Call Girls are always ready to make sure your sexual satisfaction in the right way

    Paharganj escorts
    Paharganj escorts
    Paharganj escorts
    Paharganj escorts
    Paharganj escorts
    Paharganj escorts

  16. Good Looking and lovely VIP Call girls in Udaipur

    Udaipur Call Girls offer the simplest top entertainment with sexy call girl Service. you've got an in depth choice between something more romantic up to some rough sodomy . These are just a few of the samples of the items that are possible whenever you desire to feel the proper way and fully satisfied with the highest class call girls.

    Udaipur call girls

  17. My name is Pooja Roy, and I am an Independent Delhi Escort Service in Chhatarpur. If you want to meet me you have just booked my sensual sexual service to bring me towards your hot body. I like to spread jovial experiences for my clients. I am naturally sized 34C, having soft and tender skin for you to touch. I got the perfect figure for you to have fun with. So let’s get in touch and spend some quality time together.

    Chhatarpur Escorts services

    Chhatarpur Vip Escorts

    Chhatarpur Call Girls

  18. We are the main and most used organization of Chanakyapuri Call Girls organization that trust customers through and through and thus propose Chanakyapuri first rate female escorts that are picture-perfect like charitable girlfriends or partnerships to partner Chanakyapuri Escorts.
    Chanakyapuri Escorts

    Call Girls in Chanakyapuri

  19. hi, this is Chhatarpur Escort Service in Cheap Rate 8000 overnight we provider call girls In Chhatarpur, South Delhi near metro station our escorts girl fascinating features for Everything as your need whatever available into your previous sexual on bad relationship with them will be accessible to here huge amount of lovely moments captivating & stylish young escort girl and Housewife in your town and they keep search for companion for having sexual fun. Our service in your area able to do among a pleasure to seekers in the starting night day but could not break us Libertines started to show you enthusiasm into our provisions with the second years so we are happy to add some more kind our collection girls you, call us 24x7 we have in call also if you have your own hotel flat OYO room then we will drop at your doorsteps in cheap rate no need to pay extra to anyone
    Chhatarpur Escort

    Escorts in Chhatarpur

    Call Girls in Chhatarpur

    Chhatarpur Escorts Service

  20. They are dedicated and adaptable and make fantastic sex partners or hook-up partners. There is a specific saying - Never judge the book by cover. Chanakyapuri Escort believe in call girls celebrations and show or make long cases. They are incredibly delightful and can let your faculties jump into the closeness or joy of a passionate night out. They are practical and progressive and can sense sexual need or abundance of energy without any stretch. Their committed happy administration can do a lot to quench the thirst for sexual desire and let you into the wonderland of Eradicate. It is the grandeur, style, devotion, competence, modesty and temperament of administration that they deliver, they are top notch. Subsequently, they are highly rated and a large number of our escorts receive endorsements in the form of bills of affection and gratitude for their service rendered.
    Chanakyapuri Escorts

    Escorts in Chanakyapuri

    Call Girls in Chanakyapuri

    Chanakyapuri Escorts Service

  21. Lust Girl 69 is a large plate for site advertising. This site is an adult person profile site. This is a fun site Girls Lust 69. On this site, you will get lots of fun options and you can make full use of your time. This site is a good source for your profile advertising and this directory submission

  22. Best Vivo Phone under 15000 in India in 2021. Shop Online Vivo Mobile SmartPhones at Discounted price on Snapdeal. Check out the latest offers on Vivo Mobile Phones with specifications. Vivo phone under 15000
    Vivo phones under 15000

  23. ===============================================================================

    Try not to burn through your time in getting Dwarka accompanies

    Visit: Escorts in Dwarka

    Top Low-Cost Call Girls in Dwarka.

    Get Services: Call Girls in Dwarka

    Phenomenal Lavish escorts administration in Gurgaon on your offer

    Go With: Escorts in Gurgaon

    Prominent young ladies in Gurgaon let you experience exotic euphoria past your experience

    Website: Call Girls in Gurgaon

    Hot call young ladies for wild evenings in Gurgaon

    Website: Call Girls in Gurgaon

    Our Escorts: Beauties Like Models

    Visit:Call Girls in Haridwar

    Premium and top-class Haridwar Escorts Agency!

    Go With: Call Girls in Haridwar

  24. artikel yang di sajikan di blog ini sangat indah dan berisi, terima kasih atas informasi yang sangat bermanfaat ini
    dan jika ingin bermain game online deposit pulsa xl dan telkomsel tanpa potongan silahkan saja berkunjung ke situs kami di:
    agen judi slot togel singapura judi poker judi poker online
    dimana situs ini sudah sangat nyaman dan aman untuk dijadikan tempat kalian bermain dan sudah menjadi tempat andalan para penjudi profesional.
    blog kami :
    absintheandlyrics beesandbuttercups aduniversalisecclesiae bridalhood corinabrandusan londonslostrivers mojkotija-beata olgavanouito pixel-manie phalenshappyaccidents romy-buchard ruthillustreert sheeplessinseattle ukhwah-dhearty whatyoumustread wenzlau
    terima kasih

  25. Terima kasih atas informasi yang bermanfaat ini dan jika ada waktu silahkan berkunjung ke situs kami:
    sekali lagi terimakasih dan jangan lupa foya-foya.