One of the great things about collecting it that there is always something new to be discovered. Take the garment above. It’s a White Stag creation called the Ski-O-Tard. I was lucky to spot this recently on etsy, and was even luckier that the thing still had the original hangtag attached.
Hangtags often contain very valuable information, and in this case, the most important info was the name of the garment. Without the unusual name, I might never have been able to learn a thing about the Ski-O-Tard. And even with the name, I’ve been able to find only a few images, all dated 1948.
Even though White Stag was in the process of copyrighting the name, I think it is safe to assume that the idea just never caught on. For one thing, all the bunched up fabric between the legs must have felt like one was wearing a diaper. And while it probably was warm, it was so bulky that wearing it beneath slim-fitting trousers would have been difficult.
Although it was meant to be worn as a first layer, all the photos I found showed it without pants. One photo is the January 1948 cover of See, a magazine for men, and another was in the pages of the January 8, 1948 issue of The Dispatcher, a Longshoreman Union newspaper.
When I posted a photo of the tag on Instagram, Julie at Jet Set Sewing commented that the Ski-O-Tard reminded her of the Claire McCardell “diaper” bathing suit. I had not seen the resemblance, but after Julie mentioned it, I certainly did. McCardell’s suit dates from the early 1940s, so it could be that it directly influenced the designer of the White Stag Ski-O-Tard.
In the 1940s and 1940s, White Stag used this tag in red, but also similar ones in bright blue and in white with red lettering. Labels from the 1960s are usually white with gold lettering. I only am telling this because White Stag garments can be really hard to date, as sportswear , while it did follow fashion, did not change as quickly as fashionable dress. In this case, the Ski-O-Tard has very strong shoulder pads, at a time when shoulders were beginning to soften up a bit.
I thought you might enjoy seeing what the Ski-O-Tard looks like when not fastened at the waist. Can you see how the concept might have been improved with a bit less fabric at the crotch?
As always, I welcome any additional information about the Ski-O-Tard.
11 responses to “The Ski-O-Tard from White Stag”
Beautiful, but you’re probably right. Not fun to wear.
Remember during this time Emilo Pucci was designing for White Stag. He was a student at Reed College and designed the ski team uniforms.
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Now THAT’S an interesting thought!
Very! I had no idea he went to Reed. Nor that he designed for White Stag.
Wow! This looks really nifty, but I can certainly see how it might be difficult to wear with pants that are slim fitting.
What a great item! I’ve never seen one of these before. The illustrations on that hang tag do look like 1940s, so the ski pants back then did have a somewhat looser fit.
True, pants in 1948 were still loose.
I also thought of Claire McCardell’s diaper bathing suit when I saw this–not one of her most attractive items in my view. While I can see its functionality at the beach, this skiing version just seems bizarre. Well…not all new ideas are good ideas.
Ruth Altman was a fashion designer who apparently brought stretchy fabrics to the US after the war and advised White Stag. Perhaps she was involved in this design?
That is a possibility. The shame of it is that when the original owners sold White Stag back in the 1980s or 90s, the records were tossed out. Some family members did save some things (such as all the samples and documentation of the 1963 collaboration with Picasso) but so much of the history is just lost.
Very interesting ! Wonder how uncomfortable it was!? Thank you for the full view as well.