Moore Gymwear, 1968

I have a nice little collection of gymsuit catalogs dating back to 1940, but this new-to-me catalog is not only the latest, it is from the year I bought my gymsuit as a seventh grader in junior high. Six years later, as a senior, I was still wearing it, and I’m still waiting on that last growth spurt.

The cover is interesting in that it makes a stab at racial diversity.  Considering that US Vogue did not have a Black model on its cover until 1974, I’d say good for Moore. Inside the catalog, the “models” are mostly white blondes and redheads, but this is still a good step forward, as the 1965 Moore catalog has no girls of color.

I love how the catalog designer used Op Art to show how “hip” Moore gymsuits are. Considering that the only persons who actually used the catalog (at least at my school) were the gym teachers. I imagine the only reason they looked at the catalog was to see the price of the same suit they have been ordering for years.

And here is my suit, the Waist Hugger. You can see it sold to schools for $4.35, which meant someone at the school made .65 on each suit they resold to the students. As I remember that mine cost $5.  So .65 times 150 girls meant a profit of $97.50 every year.

I wish our suits had been this nice blue. Ours were white, which meant one had to be careful about the underpants she wore on gym day. The suits were thin enough to see through, especially after a few year’s wear.

I guess I shouldn’t complain as it could have been worse. We would have really hated these bloomer legs.

This style, the Matadora, was “smasheroo news” when it was introduced in 1961. It looks a bit dated for 1968. Gymsuits aren’t high fashion, of course, but to a teenage girl, looking current is important.

There were two dresses with bloomers styles, the type my mother said she wore in school in the 1940s. I think I would have liked this one, as we could have pretended it was a mini dress. But NOT in white, please.

There were several pages of gym clothes for the teachers. This kilt was to be worn over the gymsuit for when teachers had to leave the gym. Even in 1968 girls and women teachers were not allowed to wear pants on campus, and certainly not shorts.

Look at all these great colors. So why were we forced to wear white? It seems like a mean trick to me.

There was a brochure included with this catalog, titled, “The Psychological Effects and Benefits of a Color and/or Style Change in Uniform Gymwear”.  It seems as if getting girls to spend $5 on a new and different gymsuit each year was good for them.

As a side note, I have quite a few gymsuits in my collection, ranging from Victorian styles to the late 1970s. I started buying when I found them years ago, when I could guy a great example for a few dollars. Today, there seems to be a fad for them, if the prices on etsy and the posts on Instagram can be believed. One girl’s misery is another’s cute outfit.

I’ve written a lot about gymsuits over the years, and I’m always rewarded with women sharing their own experiences with this garment, mostly negative. I’m not surprised.

29 Comments

Filed under Gymnasium, Sportswear

29 responses to “Moore Gymwear, 1968

  1. The idea of a white gym suit is ridiculous and, especially for girls, so fraught! Perhaps the idea was to have as many as possible soiled in one way or another and needing to be replaced at a profit? More generously, perhaps they were trying to replicate the refined look of tennis whites? Or, more likely, perhaps men were making the decisions and didn’t take either cleaning (what men did laundry in those days?) or female biology into consideration.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really don’t know who made the decision about my gymsuit, but he/she was certainly clueless regarding the needs of teenage girls. Interestingly, I never see white gymsuits on the vintage market. I imagine they were all burned by their owners upon graduation.

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  2. Love all the color choices. Pity yours had to be white!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Morning A Waters

    Like you, I think the one I had to wear was the waist hugger, but our were the baby blue. I hated the one pieceness of them, meaning you had to “undress” half way to use the bathroom. And don’t get me started on having to shower in front of everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ceci

    Ours were a similar style and bright royal blue, but with longer legs, or else my stubby legs made them seem longer. No, I’m sure they were longer, closer to the top of the knee, and really daring types would roll them up higher on the thigh. Junior high suits were cooler, blue shorts with a bloomer leg concealed by the flared hem of the shorts, and a white pull over blouse that was a bit too skimpy across the bust and shoulders. Dreadful.

    ceci

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jacq staubs

    What a pain for you all! No wonder you hate them!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh wow these look so nice – not sure if practical – but they sure beat my crappy gym wear.

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  7. Ruth Whitten

    We had sleeveless blue ones from grade 7-9. We were delighted to graduate in Senior high to black very short shorts and white button up tops with short sleeves. Of course they always had to be tucked in. The best six weeks of the year was when we “square danced” with the boy classes and some wise soul thought it would be better if none of us dressed out as the boys wore very short knit gym shorts and matching tees…I agree white sounds ridiculous!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Claritza

    We had to wear a butter yellow dress with bloomers. You were supposed to write your name in marker in huge letters across the seat. Fortunately I had modest name tapes left over from camp. We got graded on washing and ironing it every week. The fabric was a rough thick cotton that was hard to iron well. Some girls used spray starch and brought their gymsuits in on hangers! The boys took their t shirts and shorts home to wash 3 times a year – winter, spring, and summer vacation.
    Title IX meant it was illegal for the girls’ gymsuits to cost more than the boys’. So everyone wore the same style printed t-shirt and comfy knit shorts. Gym classes went “coed” then, too.
    The first skort I ever saw was on our gym teacher. It was shorts in the back and a kilt in the front. The sewists among us pondered how it was made. The fabric was similar to the kilt in your post.
    When slacks were allowed for girls at my hs in ’70 the principal said on the am announcements that we were now allowed to wear them but if we did we were showing “disrespect for ourselves and our school”!
    When we square danced we were matched by height with the boys. I got a cute partner who drooled on my arm! I surreptitiously dried it on my gymsuit skirt!
    Hard to believe that was 50 years ago!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. squeakytiki

    I’m laughing because I got that blue color instead of white, thank goodness. But my school also had the bloomer legs with the elastic as part of the outfit, I was one of the last classes to have to wear it, it would have been the mid to late 70’s and they were already being phased out in our school system.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really have a hard time with the bloomer legs. Why would anyone do that to girls in the 70s???

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      • squeakytiki

        Even my grandmother thought they were terrible and old fashioned by then, I don’t know what they were thinking. But I guess change happens slow when you’re dealing with changing policy on an entire school system.

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      • Claritza

        For the same reason that in the 60’s in Home Ec we had to make “Jello” from gelatin, not a box and learned how to feed a family with a tiny amount of meat – “meat extender dishes” – a “We’ve always done it this way” mindset!

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  10. Mine was blue, similar to your style. But somehow I remember a red stripe down the side. I embroidered my name on the pocket in red.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Carol Wilson

    Yep, that looks like my high school gymsuit. I don’t have any memory of what I wore in junior high. Not a bit flattering to a short, slightly chubby girl with oily hair and glasses. When I graduated my mother had somehow found a greeting card about gym bloomers and signed it, “from the gal who kept yours laundered all those years!”

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m really impressed by the range of colors! Also what a unique piece for your collection!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. We didn’t buy ours. We were issued them, and they were a couple years old, at least. They were probably the Matadora, in #20 Seafoam, which had faded and reminded me of verdigris. And none of them fit very well.

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  14. Ours were green. Our names were embroidered on the back — embroidery by our mothers, which assumed that everyone’s mother could do that. (There were iron-on letters two years later when my sister got to high school.) I’ve just reposted this post to my high school class’s 50th reunion FB group……In college we had navy polyester doubleknit bermudas and a while shirt. As I recall, I wore the bermudas through out college (p.e. was only freshman year, and no intercollegiate women’s sports back then).

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Claritza

    So true! My Mom had me buy a new gymsuit for high school but a lot of girls wore theirs all 5 years and coukd barely snap the bodice.

    Liked by 1 person

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