The Time Line of Lifeguard Uniforms

Lifeguard uniforms have been around for years, but do you know how they got started? From the first lifeguard uniforms in the 1950s to present-day Baywatch-inspired outfits, there’s a rich history behind lifeguard uniform designs. Come along for the ride as we step through each decade of these uniforms.


The standard lifeguard uniform comes from the 1950s. Imagine a graphic tee that says “GUARD” in big, bold type. It’s hard to miss this uniform!


The ‘60s was a time of creative fashion exploration, and lifeguard uniforms were no different. Women began to get more in touch with feminine lifeguard designs with white stylized uniforms.


Here’s where the bright red really came out! In the 1970s, lifeguards began to wear full red uniforms — most of them donning a bright red windbreaker jacket and matching red bottoms.

1980s and 1990s

Think: Baywatch. In the 1980s and 1990s, lifeguards began to shed their top layers and focus their uniforms on the bottoms. For women, one-pieces and two-pieces were popular. Men, on the other hand, went topless and opted for lifeguard board shorts.


At the turn of the century, lifeguarding was becoming more and more popular (and respected!). Lifeguards began to get more creative liberty with their wardrobes, and their uniforms became less traditional.

2010s and 2020s

Just take a look around and you’ll see how the past 70 years have shaped today’s lifeguard attire. Or, take a look at for all the ways you can add personality to your own lifeguard outfit!



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