You young readers who never had the privilege of wearing a gymsuit at school really missed out on one of life’s great humbling experiences. Not only that, but the horrors of the wearing of the gymsuit are a unifying factor among women of my generation and older. Okay, I might be exaggerating a bit, but unless you had to wear one, you just can’t understand how dreadful a garment the gymsuit could be.
I recently found this catalog from E. R. Moore, a major maker of gym clothes. The company , which was founded in 1907, was based in Chicago. In the early years they made gymsuits and girl’s school dresses, which were middy dress uniforms. By the early 60s, it seems they were solely in the gymsuit business.
The catalog was pretty enlightening; even though it was published five years before I entered junior high I can’t imagine that things changed much in those years. First, I’ve decided that the P.E. teachers in my school had to have been sadists to have chosen the white horror that was thrust upon us in the seventh grade. It’s especially distressing after I got a good look at the color chart.
I can’t believe that they had all these choices and went with stark white. Really, that was just mean. Even the industrial-looking “Seafoam” would have been better, don’t you think?
The closest thing to our suit is Style #4. It features a snap front, and a lovely “Waist Hugger” back. What that means is it is fitted by using elastic shirring. How clever!
I do have to admit that it could have been worse. I really can’t imagine having to deal with bloomers.
But if they had to go with white, they could have chosen a more attractive shirt and shorts, though we would have found those side buttons to be very old-fashioned.
And talk about a company trying too hard to convince themselves that their product was appealing, this is just silly:
But what is really interesting is this group of girls’ gymsuit experts.
All right, I was just being sarcastic, as these were the sales representatives. This was the early 1960s, and it was just expected for a sales rep to be a salesMAN. I just wish I knew which one of those guys was responsible for me having to wear the white horror for six years.