Tag Archives: Moore Gymwear

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.


Filed under Gymnasium, Sportswear

Moore Gymwear Catalog, 1962

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.


Filed under Collecting, Proper Clothing, Sportswear