1930s Northbilt Ski Pants

In the 1930s skiing was a relatively new spot in the US, having become popular only in the 1920s.  After winter resorts and ski slopes were developed it became obvious that women especially were going to need clothing specifically for the sport.  It just was not practical to try to make one’s way down a mountain wearing a 1920s skirt, or even knickers that ended at the knee.  By the early 1930s companies were making full length wool ski pants for women, another great example of how active sportswear led to women adopting the wearing of pants.

Even though these ski pants were made to be functional in the snow, a woman wearing them would still want to look her best.  The waist and hip area is slim and quite fitted, with little extra bulk.

And what a nice curve there is to the side button opening.

The leg cuffs are made of a knit wool for a close fit.

And for the key to your room at the lodge, a little patch pocket was included.

These ski pants were made by the Northbilt company in Minneapolis.  According to the US Trademark site, Northbilt was first used as a brand name in 1919.  The last reference I can find to the company was in 1962.  As always, additional information about this company would be appreciated.

Here is a page from a 1936 Montgomery Ward catalog showing their selection of women’s ski pants, which are very similar to my pair.  Note that one pair has  “slide fasteners” – zippers – at the cuffs and the waist.  Button closings were slowly being replaced.


Filed under Proper Clothing, Sportswear, Winter Sports

10 responses to “1930s Northbilt Ski Pants

  1. So good looking! Bring them back!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. really great looking , Lizzie! Too bad no one is copying them for sportswear..,insted of some of the “un-inspired”stuff i saw in NY and other shopping trips all Fall..love the detailing-the worsted /boiled wool and the cut..i often looked thru the Army and Navy Surplus Stores in the 70’s-early 90’s and found “semi vintage” to real vintage pants , sweaters and best of all Navy Peacoats, Bomber jackets,etc. – when i wore it living in NYC/DC in the freezing Winter they were warm,easy and looked like Designer Sportswear! WISH i still had them instead of the expensive RL,BB,knockoffs i ended up with! Thank You as always!, Jacq

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gosh, I love those! I would wear them now.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Daisy

    I was looking at these a few hours ago and decided to replicate them – with complete success! The materials I used -of course- were the only difference between mine and theirs. I Wanted something more “chair-lift butt friendly” so constructed them with a 50% mix of Vacuña and Yak wool. Will they them out this evening.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. James

    Hi, I wondered if you knew the best way to translate the French word ‘fuseau’, into English in the context of 1930s London. Would ‘ski pants’ have been a term used at the time?


  6. Northbilt was just one of many labels owned by the Gordon & Ferguson company that was founded in 1871. G&F were the makers of some of the earliest coats and jackets. They made clothing for Lindberg’s transatlantic flight. Formed in 1871, it makes them one of the oldest clothing companies still operating. At least I think they are still operating. I used to work for them in 2000. When I left they also had the Field & Stream label as well.


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