Category Archives: Winter Sports

1940s Ski Suit and Caps

If you’ve been reading The Vintage Traveler for a while, you know that I write about my new finds as I investigate them.  But today I have an item that I’ve owned for probably ten years or so.   I had this suit out so I could look at it with some new accessories, and I realized that I’d never written about it.

The suit dates from the late 1940s, while shoulders were still big.  It is made from wool gabardine.  The jacket is actually reversible, though I can’t see why anyone would wear it on the grey side when they could choose this bright red.

The pants are as streamlined as possible considering the fabric, but they are still pretty bulky.  Around the time that this set mas made, Emilio Pucci was revolutionizing ski wear by using a stretch fabric for the pants.  They were cut much closer to the body and gave a slim look to the skier.  No wonder that they were popular.

There are a lot of nice features on the suit, including zippers at every pocket.

The set was made by White Mountain Ski Wear.  I can’t tell you much about the company, but I’ve seen items with the labels on garments from as early as the 1930s, and as recent as the 1970s.

I acquired this cap, even though it was probably intended for wear by men because I have seen photos of women wearing similar hats for winter sports.

And who could resist that button?

I also recently bought this cap.  It was listed by the seller as being from the 1920s, and I can see why she thought that because of the way it fits around the face.  Is is actually a bit later, probably late 1940s.

In 1941 the  Wool Products Labeling Act was implemented in the US, and numbers were given to companies in the order of application.  #7503 was given to Schuessler Knitting Mills of Chicago, sometime in the mid 1940s.  There is a database where these numbers can be looked up, though the number does not give the year of manufacture.  It gives the year the number was issued.  Still, the WPL number is a useful bit of information because it does limit the years that an item could have been made.

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Filed under Collecting, Vintage Clothing, Winter Sports

Ladies’ Home Journal, February, 1949

To celebrate the first snow for many of us in the Northern Hemisphere, I thought a bit of a sledding party was in order.  I love how the mother and children are all dressed alike, right down to the half-belts on the backs of their coats.  And such an effective use of red, seen only on the caps and in their cheeks (and Mom’s lips).  

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Filed under Too Marvelous for Words, Winter Sports

Ad Campaign – White Stag, 1953

Black Magic

There’s pure sorcery in the exciting colors of White Stag’s dramatic new ski jacket.  Soft pastel shades are sharply accented by jet black Zelan-treated corduroy and typically White Stag “railroad” stitching.

Wear it straight or with a black web waist cincher, or tuck it in… it’s magic!

Thanks to the US Patent and Trademark Office website, I can tell you that Zelan is a chemical compound that is applied to fabrics to make them waterproof.  It is still trademarked by du Pont – “Better Things for Better Living…Through Chemistry”.

It’s been snowy all day, and I’m sure the local ski resorts are loving it.  Actually, I’m loving it too.  There’s just something special about the first snowfall of the year.

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Filed under Ad Campaign, Winter Sports

Dressing for Winter

Snow has started across the Northern Hemisphere, and it looks like I’ll be getting a taste of it later this week.   To celebrate winter, the Weather Channel has a photo essay of winter sportswear from the past.  There are some great photos, even though a few of them are dated incorrectly.

I’m only posting about it so I can show off the mention of The Vintage Traveler in the article and the link back to my blog.  I’m on the fifth page of the article.  Is this my fifteen seconds of fame?

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Filed under Vintage Photographs, Winter Sports

Vintage Styleknit Sweatshirt Sports Cardigan

This is the find that I nearly overlooked.  Flipping through the rack at the antique mall, at first I thought this was just a modern sweatshirt.  But something about the feel of it made me stop and take a closer look.  I’m glad I did because this is a hard-to-find vintage sports cardigan.  My guess is that it is from the late 1940s or early 50s.

It’s made from cotton knit fleece, like sweatshirt fabric, a fabric that I’ve seen in catalogs dating back to at least the 1910s.  The seams are overlocked, and the label is printed onto cotton tape.

Styleknit: Made to Fit

The buttons are a hard, clear plastic that has yellowed slightly.

See the thread loop to the left of the buttonhole?  Does anyone have an idea as to its purpose?  There is also a loop on the inside.

I’m always so happy to find older active sportswear.  It is relatively scarce because this is just not the type of thing that people tended to save.    That is, unless you are like me.  I saved relatively few clothing items from my youth and young adulthood, but among them is my favorite heathery purple sweatshirt.

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Filed under Sportswear, Vintage Clothing, Winter Sports

Lowe & Campbell Athletic Goods, 1935 – 1936

I’ve been spending some time working in my paper collection, looking for interesting things to share here.  I bought the catalog above ages ago from Tina at What I Found, and I’m pretty sure that I posted about it at the time.  The problem is, I couldn’t find the post.

If you’ve been reading The Vintage Traveler since before December 2010, you might recall that the blog used to be on another site.  Due to crazy problems with that site, I moved to wordpress in December, 2010, and at that time I had to manually move over my old posts.  It was a bit of a job, and I’m afraid that in the shuffle, some old posts got misplaced.

But that’s good today, because I get to show this off now that I have more than the 20 readers I had on the old site!  And it’s a really good lesson on not judging a book by the cover.   The catalog is illustrated with sports goods and clothing of all types.  Most importantly, there are plenty of offerings for the girl athlete, which shows how much sports were gaining in popularity among girls in the 1930s.

All these pages can be enlarged by clicking.

I loved this page of football jerseys.  These are seriously collectible, especially if the school or athletic organization can be identified.

These hose are simply wonderful.  And I think I know where a pair is located.  Stay tuned.

I included the hooded pullovers mainly because of how this item of clothing is currently being super analyzed by the news media.  In 1935 a hoodie was worn by an athlete to keep them warm while practicing or while standing on the sidelines hoping Coach would send him in.

Note that the second shoe is a Converse All-Star.  Converse first made the All-Star in 1917.

Cute clothes for the pep squad.

Here is the company’s selection of girl’s basketball suits.  These are a very far cry from what girls had to wear just a few years prior, with bloomers to the knee and long sleeved middies.

They even offered a good selection of warm-up suits for girls.

Last week in the comments about the gymsuits, several readers mentioned that they wore tunics with bloomers for gym and field hockey.  Note the two tunic styles above.

This girls’ softball suit is probably my favorite thing in the catalog.

And of course there was a nice selection of swimsuits.

Lowe & Campbell was located in Kansas City, Missouri.  I didn’t find out a lot about the company until I found an application to make the building that was the company headquarters part of the National Register of Historic Places.  According to the application, the company was formed in Kansas City in 1912 by George Lowe and Keedy Campbell.  The partners merged their company with Wilson Sporting Goods in 1931, but they retained a separate identity.  Their headquarters, which also included some light manufacturing, was built in 1925, and the company remained there until 1961, when it appears that Lowe & Campbell was completely merged into Wilson.

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Filed under Proper Clothing, Sportswear, Summer Sports, Winter Sports

Balmoral Knitwear Ski Themed Vest

This great vintage vest can be filed under “great things found while looking for something else.”  I spotted an incredible vintage travel print on Pinterest and then realized that the photo links led to a dead end.  But there is that miracle called Google image search, and so I was able to locate the wonderful print on a website, and it was actually for sale, and not a photo from etsy from two years ago like so much of Pinterest consists of.

While contemplating the purchase, I decided to look at the other seller’s offerings and just fell in love with this wool embroidered vest.  All reason was lost at that point, and the vest and the travel print dress were soon safely tucked in my shopping cart.

The seller listed it as a 1940s sweater, and I’m pretty much inclined to agree.  I’d never heard of the Balmoral brand, but a quick search revealed that the company is still in business, making knitwear in  Galston, Ayrshire, Scotland.  They have been in business for over 100 years, and it looks as if today they mainly survive by selling to the private school and corporatewear trade.  And they still specialize in embroideries.

I found a few more, very similar Balmoral vests online, but all have been sold.  There is another ski themed one, but there is also a sailor themed one that I truly love.

Can you tell that the buttons are covered with the knit fabric?  The centers are covered with red fabric.  It’s a great little detail, the type of thing that makes vintage garments so special.

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Filed under Collecting, Vintage Clothing, Winter Sports