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Friday, 6 September 2013

Work it, work it out... 1930's style!

Hello all!

To some, workouts seem like a nightmare.
Do you want to go to the gym or for a run, but think you’re too heavy/thin/weak/clumsy?

♥♥ The gym - the chamber of torture

Gyms: They're full of machines, and people watching you, and it can feel like every second you're doing something wrong.
Let me lighten it up a bit.

Before treadmills were the high-tech, TV-equipped machines of today, they had wooden slats that rotated around two rolling drums. Because this was well before the invention of Spandex and Nikes, people tended to work out in odd cotton outfits and their regular hard-soled shoes.

By the 1930s, the treadmill had evolved a bit to include a more comfortable hand rest and a fabric, rather than wooden, walking belt. This model seems to be in a swimsuit and high heels, which we’re glad have gone out of fashion for gym bunnies.

Above, a group of ladies try out a bucking bronco machine. Below that, a woman tries out a revolutionary (for the 1930s) fat-burning machine that vibrated to wiggle away the excess pounds.

These early exercise bikes were equipped with a huge dial that told spectators how much energy was being generated by the riders. The footwear still seems more than a little uncomfortable for working out.

Although the outfits and specifics of the machines are different today, the general functionality of some of these vintage gym devices are familiar. Bicep curls, leg lifts, lat pulldowns and situps have always been popular exercises; it’s just that today our gym equipment looks a lot less like torture devices.


♥♥ And now, ladie's sportswear:

Clothing for active women was a necessity, and the popularity of separates addressed this need. Instead of simply one-piece frocks, women in the 1930’s were faced with choices: separate tops and bottoms, which ranged from shorts to trousers to skirts, two-piece suits, and the concept of mix-and-matching (well, mostly just entirely matching) wardrobes. Sportswear brands in Europe began emerging during the 20’s and throughout the 30’s, with activities such as tennis in mind. While those brands, such as Lacoste, were first introduced for men, women’s clothing followed the trend of sportswear as well, if not quite so literally. The concept of ready-to-wear did not really exist yet, but sportswear meant that women had more options and choices to present themselves. 

Jean Harlow

Norma Shearer

So.. maybe - should we start a workout now?

♥♥ Pinky Honey


  1. Adore the outfits - some of the early gym equipment though? Perhaps not quite as much. The bunking bronco in particular might have seemed fun when I was a kid, but as an adult it's almost scary looking! :) This post wasn't frighting at all though of course, quite the opposite, it was full of fun and fitness happiness, and I wholeheartedly enjoyed it.

    ♥ Jessica

    1. I'm glad you've liked it.
      (I'm trying to post more fashion-friendly material)
      I'd never get near some of the gear from the pictures - they really do look like they belong in a torture chamber. However, we must give the credit to the girl in heels - she's bringing the glamour into it. :)