Monday, May 23, 2011

Frances Sider - Swimsuit and Play Clothes Designer

Frances Sider, 1957.
 Frances Sider was an American designer of swimsuits, play clothes and sportswear in the 40s and 50s.  I had honestly never heard of her until I came across an image of one of her swimsuits in my archives.  Of course my curiosity was piqued and I had to find out more.  Unfortunately, there is not much known about Sider today, but here is what I did find out.

 Sider started her business about 1938 in New York designing swimsuits and beach wear.

 She was designing two piece swimsuits earlier than most as you can see by these first two images from 1946.

 She also designed play clothes, sportswear and casual separates.  All of Sider's swimsuits and strapless dresses were constructed with inner foundations for support and slimming.

 Most of her swimsuits were available with matching separates so a woman could go from the pool to the town with ease and comfort.  The swimsuit above was available with a separate wrap skirt that turned it into a sarong style dress.

This dress could be made strapless by removing the halter style strap.

 In 1950, Frances Sider became the first designer to be granted a patent regarding the construction of a swimsuit for the inner foundation she designed to go in her swimsuits.  It was attached to the front of the suit only and the panty was separate from the bra at the back for ease of movement.  She called this inner foundation the "Sun Body" and it came in all her suits.  She started designing separate foundation garments in 1951 and was granted two more patents, one for a long line corset and one for a strapless bra.

By the early 1950s, Sider was also designing loungewear and dressier separates.  In 1954, Sider decided to leave her career and closed her business.  At the time, she said she wanted to be at home with her husband and daughter and regretted the years she had missed watching her daughter grow up.  She moved to Florida to be near her daughter sometime before 1957.

In 1957, Sider once again began designing swimsuits and sportswear, this time based in Miami, but her newly launched line was never as successful as it had been in the past and she disappears from media mention by 1958.

Please note: This biography about Francis Sider is copyright of Couture Allure and may not be copied without permission.


Toni Jo said...

This is fascinating... especially the fact that she was granted patents on her construction!! Thank you for sharing this!

Nicole said...

This sketch is fantastic. So cool to hear about these woman designers who thought of practicality.
Love it.

Couture Allure Vintage Fashion said...

She was quite innovative in providing built in foundations in her swimsuits.

Sabrina Watts said...

I was trying to find out more about her. My grandmother gave me her wedding dress from 1955 and "Seasider body by Frances Sider" is on the label and it a balck and white dress just below the knee. zip's up the back, and can be strapless or have small spaghetti straps that can attack by way of buttons. It so so cute and kinda casual for a wedding dress, but I just wanted to know more about the designer. If anyone had in info for me please email at


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