Archive: May, 2017

In 1904, the Cooper Underwear Company ran a magazine ad announcing a new product for bachelors. In the “before” photo, a man averts his eyes from the camera as if embarrassed; he has lost all the buttons on his undershirt and has safety-pinned its flaps together. In the “after” photo, a virile gentleman sports a handlebar mustache, smokes a cigar and wears a “bachelor undershirt” stretchy enough to be pulled over the head. “No safety pins — no buttons — no needle — no thread,” ran the slogan aimed at men with no wives and no sewing skills. Someone in the U.S. Navy must have seen the logic in this, because the following year, the quartermaster’s office specified that sailors should wear undershirts with no buttons under their uniforms; soon thousands of men became acquainted with the comfort of the cotton pullover.