Tuesday, June 27, 2017
 
Athletic union suit and yoke front gripper shorts

 

Major Events of the 1930s

Franklin D. RooseveltBy 1933, the average wage was 40 percent less than in 1929 and unemployment had soared to 25%. Prohibition was repealed and Franklin D. Roosevelt (pictured left) ... perhaps having thought of it pacing the White House corridors in a pair of shorts closed with new, patented Gripper Fasteners … brought new hope to Americans with his New Deal programs. Hanes joined the mantra by declaring in their ads "You won't put pains in your pocketbook when you put out your money for Hanes!" So, rich or poor, everybody was still worried about where their next pair of skivvies would come from — and how long they would last.

Clark GableThe movies began making underwear less private, too. Early in the decade, Joan Crawford and Lester Vail danced across the screen in a satin camisole for her and gripper drawers and A-shirt for him. Then in 1934, Clark Gable (pictured right) took off his shirt in "It Happened One Night" to appear bare chested. The undershirt industry took a temporary nose dive. Before long, however, Gable had reappeared on the silver screen in a classic athletic undershirt ... and men started buying them in droves again.

"Talkies" became a national obsession during the depression. Viewers idolized the newly emerging movie stars, along with what they wore on screen and off. In 1934, a Senior Vice President at Cooper's saw a picture of celebrities in brief swimsuits in the South of France. This gave birth to the classic Jockey brief. The patented Y-front construction would make Jockey "internationally famous as the underwear that ended 'Squirming.'"

Empire State BuildingLife Magazine opened a new era of photojournalism on November 23, 1936. Soon Jockey, Scovill, Quickees and others were using photographs instead of line drawings in their underwear advertisements. Meanwhile, the Empire State Building and the Golden Gate Bridge typified America’s great potential, as did Duofold’s new Duocraft Action-Support Underwear ... an aid to active men. And "Gone with the Wind" became the most famous movie ever made. As the country began to swing into full economic recovery, men’s shorts, T-shirts, ribbed briefs and athletic shirts all became "fashion frocks" — to use one manufacturer’s description. Nonetheless, many citizens were anxious about the growing war in Europe. Was this new found, generalized prosperity to be so quickly changed into shortages and rationing?

 
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