So do you want to own the hot designer swimwear or do you want to look hot in your swimwear? If you chose your curves over a trend, then you'll want to take a good look at Jantzen swimwear, because they've made women look a little wild when wet for over 100 years. And the good news is you don't have to deny yourself the hotter-than-hot swimwear, as Jantzen creates a big design splash every spring.
Diving Into the Past
Portland, Oregon is not exactly a tropical mecca from which to launch a swimsuit line, but that's exactly what happened. In 1910, a small commercial knitting company owned by Carl Jantzen and Roy and John Zehntbauer created "bathing suits" for a men's rowing team. They advertised similar suits in their catalog and a swimwear line was born -- albeit, one made of knitted wool. Wet wool. On your body. Comfy. Especially when paired with the matching wool stockings and cap. Thankfully, material has improved since then and suits are less claustrophobic, but Jantzen's philosophy of flattering the human form while allowing for movement remains.
Go For the Gold
The 1920s saw Jantzen's growth spread to Europe and Asia just as the hemline receded and swimsuits revolutionized the "bathing" world into the "swimming" world. The personal best for any company is to trounce the competition, so becoming the swimwear of choice for Olympians and Olympic teams was a win. In 1920, a suit of virgin wool accompanied its wearer, Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku, to capture the world championship title. Lest you think Jantzen is just for human fish, Jantzen also outfitted British snow skiing teams in ski wear in 1948, and the company also provided sportswear for the U.S. sport sailing team at the 1984 Los Angeles games.
Suits That Suit
Whoever coined the phrase "less is more" was probably talking about lingerie and swimsuits -- and was probably a man. As the swimsuits became smaller, Jantzen famously focused on swimwear designs that emphasized a woman's assets and topsets. The scandalous 1931 "Shouldaire" suit allowed a lady to drop the shoulder straps of her swimwear to avoid pesky tan lines. The company continues to design swimwear to fit every woman, not just the bony babes in the glossies who lose a quick 20 pounds with each stroke of an airbrush. Jantzen's online fit guide directs a hippy woman toward its maillot to lengthen her legs; a shirred swimsuit hides a concave tummy as it emphasizes the bosoms; and a bandeau bikini broadens the neckline and minimizes hips and thighs -- and honestly, who doesn't welcome that little trompe l'oeil?
In the Swim
The red-suited diving girl logo has remained in a perpetual swan dive since 1920, and she still graces each Jantzen swimsuit today. You typically don't have to venture farther than your local department store or your laptop to buy a Jantzen suit, and if you're lucky enough to live in an area whose weather offers up a swim party 365 days of the year, certain resort shops such as "Everything But Water" carry the line.