33 Vintage Photos That Show That Our Parents Were Actually Really Cool

It's easy to forget our parents were young once—and pretty cool, too. These vintage photos prove it.

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It's easy to forget that our parents didn't come out of the womb as responsible adults with hefty 401ks, waxing nostalgic about the glory days of yesteryear. Actually, when you stop to think about it, back in their heydays, our parents had a whole lot of swagger. They rode motorcycles, bent the rules, and frolicked on the beach—all while wearing the coolest clothes and shades. Really, if you decided to take dear old mom and dad up on that offer to look at their old photos, you'd likely find that your folks were pretty cool. Keep scrolling to get a glimpse of some vintage photos from the 1940s, '50s, '60s, and '70s that prove just how fun and fashionable our parents—and maybe even grandparents—were.

1
These bikini beauties

1940s women on beach in bikinis
lisagsf / Flickr

These two Brooklyn babes posed for a photo in their bikinis in the late 1940s. It looks like these moms could've been on the cover of Vogue!

2
This '70s stud

1970s AFRICAN-AMERICAN TEENAGE YOUNG MAN LISTENING TO MUSIC USING STEREO HEADPHONES
ClassicStock / Alamy Stock Photo

Could this dad have been any cooler? This strapping young man in the '70s looks like he could have been the sixth member of the Jackson 5.

3
This glamazon

Woman in a big sun hat and sun glasses in 1940s
Everett Collection / Shutterstock

The hat! The sunglasses! The gaze! It simply doesn't get any more chic than this mom was in the 1940s.

4
These cool carnies

Two male teens at carnival in 1950s
INTERFOTO / Alamy Stock Photo

These two dads may have been up to no good at the local fair in the 1950s, but they looked good doin' it!

5
These city gals

Two teen women Pose in Front of a Wall of Graffiti in Lynch Park in Brooklyn, New York City in June 1974
Hum Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Check out these cool young New York City ladies in their crop tops in the early '70s. We bet 20-somethings today would love these outfits!

6
This dreamy duo

vintage teen couple dancing outside ini 1950s
RV1864 / Flickr

Ah, mom and dad's young love. These two backyard barbecue kids of the '50s are pure cool and pure romance!

7
This drummer boy

1960s TEEN BOY WITH BUZZ CUT IN T-SHIRT SITTING IN FRONT OF SMALL DRUM KIT HOLDING STICKS OVER SNARE
ClassicStock / Alamy Stock Photo

We'd like to think this dad practiced his drums hard enough in the 1960s to make it to the big leagues.

8
This Chatty Cathy

1960s TEEN GIRL LYING FLOOR WEAR SHORTS AND KNEE SOCKS, READING MAGAZINE & TALKING ON TELEPHONE
ClassicStock / Alamy Stock Photo

Young people today can't appreciate the hours their parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents would spend on the phone, chatting away, while reading the latest magazines. But we'd venture to guess this mom was the coolest girl in school in the 1960s.

9
These joyful joyriders

young people waving from open convertible top of car in 1950s
INTERFOTO / Alamy Stock Photo

These cool moms and dads are quintessential '50s fun. Hair scarves? Check! Sunglasses? Check! Driving gloves? Check!

10
These cool alley cats

Teenagers hanging out at bowling alley in 1970s, wearing bellbottoms
Homer Sykes / Alamy Stock Photo

The bell bottoms, shaggy haircuts, and that perfectly askew beret? These '70s teens at the bowling alley are just oozing cool.

11
This golden boy

1940s black and white photo of shirtless man
cdaileycrafton / Flickr

This 1940s image might be fuzzy, but this dad's cool factor is as clear as day.

12
This cartwheeling cutie

woman on beach doing cartwheel in bikini in 1940s
Everett Collection / Shutterstock

This 1940s bikini is pure perfection—as is this mom's gymnastics skills. She is cool and carefree to a T!

13
These rebels without a cause

vintage photo of male teens on street in the 1950s
RV1864 / Flickr

Just some 1950s fellas with cuffed jeans, shirts, and popsicles on a hot summer day. Could dad and his crew be any cooler?

14
These sunbathing stunners

line of women sunbathing in 1940s
Everett Collection / Shutterstock

These ladies' wedges and bikini tops are the definition of 1940s and '50s fashion. These moms were sweating cool back in the day!

15
This toned twosome

couple walking on beach cool grandparent photos
Alamy

Long before dad's preferred attire was a suit and tie, he and mom were just another couple of cuties wearing swim trunks and smiles in the '70s on the beach.

16
These motocross star-crossed lovers

young couple on autocycle by Rex, 1950s
INTERFOTO / Alamy Stock Photo

Even though mom and dad weren't wearing the helmets they should've had on, they still look pretty cool on that 1950s motorbike, right?

17
This music lover

 1960s teen girl sits upside down on chair, cool grandparent
H. Armstrong Roberts / ClassicStock / Alamy Stock Photo

The perfect ponytail. The ear-to-ear grin. The single loafer on the floor. We're sure this mom was once the coolest girl in school in the 1950s.

18
This dreamy Danny Zuko

1950s male teen greaser smokes cigarette, cool grandparents
INTERFOTO / Alamy Stock Photo

This pops was the epitome of a bad boy. Well before Grease, this 1950s teen was rocking an impressive pompadour and a mysterious cut on his face.

19
These beach babes

Two 1950s female teens reach for beach ball in male teens hands on beach, cool grandparents
H. Armstrong Roberts / ClassicStock / Alamy Stock Photo

Someone's dad was playing hard to get back in the 1950s. And he looked super suave doing it.

20
This incredible dog whisperer

A Woman Water Skiing with her dog
Alamy

Oh, you taught your dog how to sit and stay? That's cool and all, but in the 1970s, this mom literally taught hers how to water ski!

21
This suave pair

A Couple at a Party in the 1970s
Alamy

Bare feet, long lashes, oversized earrings, and undersized everything else make this lady about as cool as they come. And has anyone ever looked as good as this gent does drinking a Coca-Cola? We think not.

22
These shaggy dudes

1960s hippies gather in London's Trafalgar Square, cool grandparents
Alamy

Look at these teenagers hanging out in London's Trafalgar Square with nothing but a banjo, a guitar, and a whole lot of hair.

23
This tiny dancer

1950s young dancers crowd the floor for a rock n roll dance, cool grandparents
Trinity Mirror / Mirrorpix / Alamy Stock Photo

This mom simply could not be cooler. With her mod haircut, her high-waisted skirt, and her carefree moves, it's clear she had it going on.

24
These groovy kids

1970s Couple at a Concert
Alamy

Here's proof that dancing in your parents' day wasn't all Lindy hopping in poodle skirts.

25
These psychedelic riders

Hippie Van in the 1960s
Alamy

Who do you think pioneered flower power? Our parents, of course!

26
These skating sweethearts

couple roller skating cool grandparent photos
Alamy

If you thought perfecting the Harlem Shake was hard, imagine trying to do the Hustle on skates, like mom and dad did!

27
These jive junkies

1950s young couple jive dancing, cool grandparents
Trinity Mirror / Mirrorpix / Alamy Stock Photo

This daddio is feeling himself on the dance floor—and we don't blame him.

28
This trendy trio

1970s London model gawked at, cool grandparents
Keystone Pictures USA / Alamy Stock Photo

In the 1970s, this mom was showcasing the future of fashion. Somehow, she even makes that foil helmet look good.

29
These spring breakers

Students on Spring Break at the Beach 1960s
Alamy

No one is sweatin' anything in this car. This group had a far cooler spring break than college kids heading to Cancun these days.

30
These grazers in the grass

1960s teens relax in meadow, cool grandparents
Roman Nerud / Alamy Stock Photo

We can't get enough of these parents with their high-tops, cuffed shirts, cardigans, and too-cool-for-school attitudes.

31
This mover and shaker

men and women dancing cool grandparent photos
Alamy

Long before there was dabbing and flossing, our parents were getting low.

32
These splish-splashers

Vacation in the 1950s at the Beach Old Photos of Grandparents
Alamy

Today, Taylor Swift loves to rock high-waisted bikinis. But these moms did it first.

33
This ride-or-die duo

1970s couple rides motorcycle, cool grandparents
Alamy

Who needs shoes when you have epic shades, '70s stripes, an awesome bike, and your No. 1 gal?

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