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Outside of the Olympics and synchronized swimming competitions, it’s fairly rare to see swimming caps these days. It’s rarer still to see swim caps that give the illusion that the bather has two faces. But these poolside headpieces were all the rage in 1959, when LIFE featured them in a fashion story called “Two-faced Swimmers in Crazy Caps.”
The caps were invented by a Long Island housewife, Betty Geib, to amuse her children. After they flew off the rack at a church bazaar, she started a new business, Betty Darling, selling her wares for $3 to $6. The serpent, kitty and sunflower designs, LIFE assured its readers, “are guaranteed to turn heads.”
Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter @lizabethronk.