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Rose Marie Reid: Glamour By Design


Sports Illustrated Sporting Look Award, 1958, and Los Angeles Times Woman of the Year, 1955, are just two of the honors bestowed on successful business woman Rose Marie Reid. Today her work sought out by fans of mid century fashion and she continues to inspire new generations of designers.


In the middle of the Great Depression, Rose Marie Yancey married Jack Reid, a swimming instructor and athletic manager in Vancouver, Canada. Jack asked Rose Marie to design him a more functional swimsuit. He was so happy with the lace-up suit that he took a duplicate suit to the Hudson Bay Department Store. Impressed, Hudson Bay requested a lady’s suit design and ended up ordering nearly two hundred. With that 1936 order, Rose Marie Reid’s first business, Reid’s Holiday Togs, Ltd. was born. From that day until the mid-1960s the name Rose Marie Reid was synonymous with beautiful, functional, and innovative women’s swimwear. Her swimsuits were advertised widely in fashion magazines and were sold in department stores in Canada, the United States, and Europe.

The L. Tom Perry Special Collections just opened a new exhibition on the life and work of Rose Marie Reid just in time for Education Week 2015. Rose Marie Reid: Glamour By Design will feature Reid’s letters, photographs, promotional materials, and of course significant examples of her swimwear.


Reid’s suits were more than fashionable. Her long-term success came from using patented fabrics and designs to improve the fit and function of her suits. She found loyal customers in some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Rita Hayworth, Jane Mansfield, and Marilyn Monroe were known to wear Rose Marie Reid suits. In 1959, Sandra Dee and the other female co-stars of the film Gidget all wore Reid’s suits.

Rose Marie Reid: Glamour By Design is located on level 1 of The Harold B. Lee Library on the campus of Brigham Young University. The exhibition is open to the public and admission is free. Special Collections’ hours are 8:00 am to 9:00 pm Monday through Thursday, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm Friday, and 10:00 am until 6:00 pm Saturday. You can call the reception desk of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections at 801-422-3514 to check on holiday hours. Parking is free in BYU visitor parking areas near the Museum of Art and on the East side of campus. The exhibition will be in place from August 17, 2015 through late spring of 2016.