Canadian Fashion Connection – Rose Marie Reid’s earliest line – Skintite

'Out of the West - Skintite' man's bathing suit by Reid's Holiday Togs Ltd., c. 1938 - 1944

‘Out of the West – Skintite’ man’s bathing suit by Reid’s Holiday Togs Ltd., c. 1938 – 1944

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I first blogged about Rose Marie Reid in my first ‘Canadian Fashion Connection’ post nearly six years ago. However, last week I found an example of the very first design she created that got her into the swimwear business. So here is a little more information about Rose Marie Reid.

Rose Marie Yancey was born into a Mormon family in Cardston, Alberta in 1906. Her first marriage brought her to Vancouver, British Columbia but that union did not last. After her divorce she took swimming lessons and fell in love with her swimming instructor Jack Reid, who became her second husband in 1935.

Bathing suits in the mid 1930s were made of wool that sagged when wet, so Rose Marie cut a pair of swimming trunks for her new husband from heavy cotton and put laces up the sides for a snug fit. In 1937 the Reids went into business after an order for sixteen dozen men’s and women’s laced suits were placed by the Hudson Bay Company department store. The suits were sold under the brand name Skintite and were made between about 1938 and 1944 (the dating is inexact in her biography.) In 1946 Rose divorced Jack Reid and moved her business to California. Rose Marie Reid went on to become the leading manufacturer of women’s swimwear in the 1950s.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present. Jonathan has authored various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.
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