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The Bros of Summer: 1941

The Bros of Summer: 1941

August 1941. "Sunday afternoon. Farm boys in front of beer parlor in the Finnish community of Bruce Crossing, Michigan." Medium format acetate negative by John Vachon. View full size.


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Beer Parlour

was a term I only thought was from Moose Jaw Saskatchewan where I was from, and the term was appropriate, they were just big rooms with smoke and beer and that was all.


These two (Sven & Ollie?) looked familiar to me. Back on Feb 29, 2020 they had been tipping a few. This pic appears to have been taken before they consumed their adult beverages.

Sock pioneer

I think his rolled-down sock style was for comfort in the heat. He may have inadvertently invented the low-rise sock.

Common European 'thing'

My father-in-law was a Czech immigrant (1950), and recently passed at the age of 97. He kept to most of his homeland's traditions, including Czech foods, music and language in his home. He nearly always rolled his socks down this way, even with modern socks (and sound elastic). Given these young men are likely native Finns, I suspect rolling down one's socks is just a European thing.

Droopy socks

I am a little older, so I know about the sock conundrum. The elastic in socks in those days only lasted a few washings. My grandfather wore something called “galluses” that were like a garter belt for the socks. The galluses were worn above the calf and had suspenders that attached to the top of the sock, holding them up. The other solution to droopy socks was to twist the loose material into kind of a bunch, then roll the sock down over it, which is probably what the guy on the right has done. If you did nothing at all and let the socks droop, they would crawl down into your shoes after a period of time, which would require you to take off your shoes, pull the socks back up and start again.

Up Your Hose

No men's sock of the 1940s would stay up for long. So, rolling it down over a finger twist made a tight roll that would stay up. Otherwise, it was sock garters or socks disappearing down into the heels of your shoes.

Socks May Have Been Different Then

I can't speak to '40s fashion trends, but as a boy in the 1960s, my socks only had elastic in the very tops. The elastic was very brittle and would break after a few washings. Then my socks would slide down like the guy on the right. My socks never stayed up well until the infamous knee-high striped tube socks of the '70s.

Since I'm not that old

I have a question about styles back then. Was rolling one's socks down a fashion "thing" back then?

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