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By the late-1920s wealthy tourists frequenting the sun-drenched beaches of California and elite resorts along the French Riviera were setting a new trend for sunbathing and acquiring a suntan, now that sun-burnt skin was no longer the shameful sign of outdoor labour, but representative of luxury and leisure.

With the fashionable emphasis increasingly on glowing golden limbs, swimwear began to grow briefer, as narrow shoulder straps and low-backed costumes evolved.

However, beachwear was evolving and becoming more sporty and colourful with bold contrasting trims.

Patterned wraps created a new sense of style on wear on the beach and fitted rubber swimming caps came into vogue, perfect for protecting newly-shorn locks, as seen in this late-1920s French illustration.

(7) As so often happens, the evidence of dress provides the best idea of when this photograph was taken.

The lady is clearly elderly and her figure is diminished, but she had the means to dress well and wears a handsome daytime outfit typical of c.1875-80.

During the 1920s there remained a wide gulf between male and female modes: traditional dress codes were relaxing and by early-decade women enjoyed loose, comfortable cotton dresses with comfortable necklines and short sleeves - even soft white plimsolls or sneakers for weekends.

Yet respectable men were expected wear conventional three-piece suits, including waistcoats, and formal shirts with neckties, whatever the weather.

The most casual summer choice for the average 1920s male was a ‘sports jacket’ teamed with a pair of light flannel trousers, as in the early-1920s family snapshots above and below.

Clients could to a degree choose their pose when being photographed and sometimes - presumably if they were particularly pleased with their appearance - they might favour the traditional full-length composition, to set their attire off to best advantage.

We can see how much more pleasing the full-length effect would have been, compared to the more fashionable 1870s/1880s three-quarter length pose that cut off the lower legs and feet.

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