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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Shorts Seller: 1941

Shorts Seller: 1941

July 1941. "Detroit, Michigan. Buying men's shorts in the Crowley-Milner department store." Not just any shorts, but "No-Squirm" Jockeys. Large-format negative by Arthur Siegel for the Office of War Information. View full size.

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Old Flappy Pants Pappy

Evidently the concept of wearing loose fitting underwear was percieved as a real problem and a genuine social stigma in the 1940s.

It is strange

to see all the merchandise behind glass screens and the customer being individually served. Selfridges in London put put merchandise out on display so customers could examine it as early as 1909.

Professional Skivvy Stacker..

Wowzers.. a Professional, Civilian, Skivvy Stacker.. (Note: "Skivvy Stacker" is Navy slang for a Storkeeper, SK or AK)

Straps on table? Saw a pair of WWII issue skivvy shorts once (in an old war chest) they had no elastic and were size adjusted/held up by tie strings at the waist and fly.. Maybe?

Oh, My!

I actually remember when "nicer" men's stores sold underwear like this but a good bit later than 1941. I miss those days of customer service when employees actually knew something about what they were selling.


Does anyone know what those undergarments on the table, with the straps and buckles are?

In 1941

Tighty whiteys were the new thing and old fashioned "shorts" were consigned to the lower classes and non college men.

Squirm-Free Support

A charming ad campaign highlighting potential threats of violence to promote conformity in underwear. Ugh.

LIFE Magazine, September 2, 1940:

Heeeeyyy, Abbott!

That salesman could be Lou Costello's thinner twin.


The underwear appears to be individually wrapped in plastic not unlike today. But would that be cellophane as opposed the type of plastic bags used today?

[Yes. - tterrace]

A Member of the Fleet Fingered Fraternity?

Note the customer's coat flap is tucked in. Is he about to pocket a pair?

[That's a jetted pocket; it has no flap. - tterrace]

Strategically placed

Kind of hard to miss the LIFE logo in this picture, or its curious placement.

Jockey Boy

Tidbit from the Jockey offical website, 1940's section: "To better symbolize the pride in the brand, Cooper's commissioned well known sculptor and painter, Frank Hoffman, to produce the Jockey Boy."

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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