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One of the exciting things about having a library at the museum is being able to spend time hidden away amongst the shelves hunting for printed treasure.

With Australian Fashion Week being in the news this week it inspired me to hunt for some vintage fashion in some of the classic boating magazines in our collection. I think I struck gold with these fabulous 1960s examples! 

Even the world of boating was infiltrated by the groovy design aesthetic of Mad Men-era advertising campaigns. It was a time when stunning women appeared in ads to sell the most random of things, and no-one seemed to think it was even remotely sexist. Even when the purpose of the spread was to showcase fashion, it was made perfectly clear that men's fashion was for comfort and 'action', while women's was purely for making her 'shapely' and 'lovely' while she draped herself across whatever was being advertised.   

Take this one from Boating Magazine in 1970 - who knew outboard motors could look so cool? Loving the Charlie's Angels style, but not sure those outfits are suitable for a weekend fishing trip.

Boating Magazine 1970
"Boating is beautiful for '70."

Need to advertise that your boats have more horsepower? Go for the literal angle and have a model dressed in horse riding gear to sell the idea! 

Boating Magazine, 1970
"Up to 55 horses bigger!"

Rummaging through piles of boating magazines turned up this fantastic fashion spread from a 1963 issue of Motor Boating magazine. Not only are the images fabulous, the copy that goes with them is truly from another era.

"Even weary and wet, pert miss is attractive in Maidenform sheath."

"While the gals put in some cockpit sunning time they wear clothing by White Stag, model-named 'Sea-Going Knits and Bottoms'..."

"While waiting for the Captain to buy some stores, girls adorn lawn in White Stag sailing shirt, shifts and bathing suits." 


Motor Boating magazine, 1963

 "... the newest boating wearables let the boatman move in comfort while keeping him snug (and her shapely)."

To enjoy the full selection of fabulous fashion and endearingly old-fashioned copy, see the image gallery below.

Danielle Voss

Danielle Voss is the Content Producer at the Australian National Maritime Museum.