Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Vintage Skivvies Underwear History


Colors & Synthetics — The Fifties

The biggest surge forward occurred in the 1950s. Contrary to the popular belief, the men of the '50s were — despite their Father Knows Best, white boxer shorts image — definitely, anything but old fuddy-duddies.

As the war shortages ended, Jockey announced "Brands are back! and so are Jockey lightweights." Both briefs and boxers were selling like hot cakes, and the modest world of white gave way to colors and patterns.

Utica, Gordon, Hansley and Mayo Spruce all experimented with rayon, dacron and the new DuPont nylon during the 1950s. Nylon tricot briefs in a rainbow of colors made a splash in department stores and by the end of the decade a new no-fly-front style called "skants" — a forerunner of bikini underwear — was introduced in leopard, tiger and zebra prints. Even boxer shorts were transformed into fancy pants — decorated with New Year's Eve noisemakers and party hats and tuxedo-ed men dancing with women in red evening gowns. Which foreshadowed the current craze in boxer shorts and proves that everything old is new again.

But cotton remained the unwavering staple. The tantalizing tone of underwear ads began to tease the reader with Fig Leaf briefs, cantilever action of the uplifting cross tapes, air conditioned Mesh-Aire construction and the personal ‘hip-tape’ measurement Jockey urged you to get from your obliging dealer.

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