Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Harris in odd shorts, briefs, or whatever

Even in shorts, Arthur Harris looks great.  And speaking of those short, they look like an odd style with that twist on the side.  Perhaps frequent vintage fashion commentator Calorman can enlighten us.



  1. I would be very interested in a date for this picture or alternatively the period when Harris was active. I've looked Harris up and got nowhere fast, other than to learn that he made a come-back at some point and featured in a publication titled "Muscle Building for Beginners" by Michael Fallon and Jim Saunders, published in 1960 and 1964, although the image above would appear to pre-date that publication. I have enlarged the image to discover that they are in fact tie-sided bathers which became fashionable in the mid-1950s at about the time Glenn Bishop was marketing his distinctive wrap-around, Hawaiian-print bikinis. Harris is wearing his with the ties tucked into the top of the front and back panels. The material seems to be a very light-weight printed cotton - at a larger magnitude, the details of Harris's generous male contour are clearly visible - and that finish usually provides for a reflective surface, which would match his oiled body - an astute choice. The usual fashion was to wear the ties dangling at the hips and I have a series of actor Glenn Corbett posing in a pair for AMG at around the same time, with the ties both tucked in and dangling. Interestingly, tie-sided bathers came back into fashion a couple of years ago. I imagine they would have been purchased by mail-order and I do know that Glenn Bishop sold his that way. The wrap-around covered far more flesh than the tie-sided bikini, and so I cannot imagine that the average - and rather staid - men's outfitters of the 1950s would have covered them, although possibly some bodybuider outlets attached to gyms might have. Harris's use of them for a posing shot is innovative and imaginative - although I have and perhaps gives us a clue that he was fully aware to what use his images were put by a goodly section of his appreciative public - although the choice might have been yet another stroke of genius by Al Urban.

    1. Thanks for the detailed reply. I actually thought of Glenn Bishop's designs, but like you, I'd never seen any of his that were very similar to this one.