We are not familiar with Lane Bryant. We have new other entries from this mail-order company. Here we see the transition from pre elastic stitching to elastic knit stretch materials we probably take for granted. The shirts did not have enough stretch to have band necks to go over one's head so buttons were necessary to accommodate the head. These buttons then had to be rebuttoned once worn which was more work. Even more was the fact that drawers or pants, bloomers or panties all had to be buttoned to something to stay up. This presented several inconveniences. First, a garment was needed to hold up one's under pants. That may explain why very young children only had shirts. Infants in the US and children up to 8 in France and maybe some other countries. Second, for young children this meant that someone older had to help with buttons for getting dressed and using the bathroom. It must have been much more common for older children maybe five, six or even an eight year old to require help to use the bathroom.
Lane Bryant is a chain store focusing on fashion for larger size women. The store began with a focus on maternity clothes. The founder was Lena Himmelstein Bryant Malsin (1879?-1951), a immigrant from Lithuania. Lane Bryant is the accidental Americanized version of her name which was used for the chain of stores she founded. was an U.S. clothing designer and retailer who founded the maternity clothing chain Lane Bryant. She was born in Lithuania, but raised by her grandparents. She immigrated to America at age 16, the cheapest way possible--in steerage. It was planned that she marry a distant relative, but instead found a job in a swearshop like many immigrant gifrls at the time. She earned $1 a week at a sweat shop on Lispenard Street. She married a jeweler, David Bryant,about 1899. She worked with him in his modest Brooklyn store. Their first child Raphael was born soonafter (1900). Tragically her husband died 6 months after Raphael arrived. She was left with nothing. She was taken in by her sister Anna who had a small apartment on West 112th St. Rather than return to the sweat shops, she decided to use her talents to make high-end garments. She began making negligees and tea gowns using delicate laces and fine silks to well-to-do customers. From that simple beginning grew one of the major American retail clothing chains.
Lane Bryant deals primarily with women's clothing, but the catalog has offered children's clothing. We have note catalogs for both large women and maternity clothes. A HBC reader tells us that the underwear page here was from a catalog specifically for children. Our HBC contributor writes, "I have the whole catalog. The union suits and waist suits are on a different page. The entire catalog was for children. Lane Bryant is now known as a large woman sized store. So this is from an era when they still carried children's clothes." We do not know if these children's wear catalogs were done for just a few years in the 1930s or for a longer period.
Here we see the transition from pre elastic stitching to elastic knit stretch materials we probably take for granted. The shirts did not have enough stretch to have band necks to go over one's head so buttons were necessary to accommodate the head. These buttons then had to be rebuttoned once worn which was more work. Even more was the fact that drawers or pants, bloomers or panties all had to be buttoned to something to stay up. This presented several inconveniences. First, a garment was needed to hold up one's under pants. That may explain why very young children only had shirts. Infants in the US and children up to 8 in France and maybe some other countries. Second, for young children this meant that someone older had to help with buttons for getting dressed and using the bathroom. It must have been much more common for older children maybe five, six or even an eight year old to require help to use the bathroom. his meant mother's or older siblings or other adults spent much more time assisting the child than imaginable today. It also probably meant that it was more common to have accidents which is why drawers were available for children of both sexes to age 8. And prior to the 1930s it was rare to see one piece suits for children under 6 than the two piece shirt and drawers or pantalets. Here in this catalog under waists are called pantie waists and are described for holding up pants or drawers. The pants reference had to be only for boys as girls almost never wore pants at that time. We also notice that here much more underclothing had wool due to coldness in homes. Central heating still was not widespread in the 1930s. So warm clothing was a selling point. It also meant that white was more rare and cream white more common. Notice that the Quickees looks most like modern young children's underclothes, although we rarely use part wool underclothes and white is the predominant color. Also, the style today would only go to age 4 rather than 8 so were children of older ages expected to do less than more modern children when it comes to their own grooming? Below are the descriptions.
The heading for the page here reads, "They'll like its warmth and comfort... You'll like its value." There are several diiferent shirts and drawers offered in addition to waist suits referred to as pantie waist, more commonly spelled panty waist. Combinatons or union suits were also available, but not as common as in the 1920s.
This item was located in the upper left hand corner of the page. These shirts and drawers were available in sizes 2 to 8. They were available in different grades and styles. The styles included two diffenent lengths. The shorter length relected the great popularity of short pants for boys and short skirkts for girls. These underwear styles I believe were for both boys and girls. Note the use of the term "children". The model depictions are a little confusing.
These items were at the upper right part of the page. They were for girls only. The ad copy read, "Tuck-Stitched, Form-fitting. vest and panties
19 cents each up. Sizes 6 to 16 years. Modern girls from six to sixteen all clamor for three features found in this underwear: freedom, good fit and smartness.
The pretty Vest and Panties are knitted in a tuck stitch pattern that makes them very elastic. Fit snugly but will not bind. Wont ride up either,owing to the finely- knit bands at the waist and bottom of the shirt, and at waist and legs of panties. There's also elastic webbing at waist of panties. Ideal for athletic youngsters----------no snaps or buttons for them to worry about.
The vest and panties are sold separately in a choice of two materials.
COLOR: Flesh-pink only sizes 2 to 16.
fashioned of fine cotton-and-rayon
9 E632 ____shirt 19 cents each
9 E633 ____panties 19 cents each
of about 25% wool: balance of fine cotton-and-rayon
9 E6500 ____shirt 19 cents each
9 E6501 ____panties 19 cents each
Post. 2 cents on each garment."
These items were located at the lower left part of the page. The model suggests that these items were for boys, but the ad copy used the term children and clearly implies they were for both boys and girls as well as mothers.
The ad copy read, "Silky striped cotton sizes 2 to 8 years: ...No bothersome buttons
Quickees with lastex! Shirts and Pants.
Lastex does it. Good news for little busy-bodies and mothers too! Now children can dress themselves and help themselves in the bathroom.
Quickees have no buttons just the two-way stretch Lastex that gives such grand freedom. Snug yet never binds. Keeps shape after washing.
Combed Cotton 49 Cents each/12% Wool 69 Cents each/25% Wool 89 Cents each
Your youngsters will be able to dress themselves in these Quickees shirts and Pants---with fireman- like speed too! For the two way stretch Lastex that runs around the neck and hem of the Shirt, and the waistband of the Pants, makes them so easy for the children to slip them on or off-or help themselves in the bathroom-as there are no bothersome buttons. Made for action, fit smoothly and snugly, never bind: Close knit band on sleeves and French legs.
COLOR: Cream-White, SIZES 2 to 8 in three qualities.
Of fine quality Combed Cotton with silky stripes
9 E665 ____shirt 49cents each
9 E668 ____pants 49 cents each
about 12% wool: balance combed cotton; silky stripe
9 E666 ____shirt 69 cents each
9 E669 ____pants 69 cents each
about 25% wool: balance combed cotton; silky stripe
9 E667 ____shirt 89 cents each
9 E6501 ____pants 89 cents each
Post. 2 cents extra on each garment."
Lane Bryant refers to these underwaists as a "pantie waist". They are probably more commonly called "panty waists". This is the origin of the derisive term "panty waist". I am not sure when the term began to be used. The term panties mening children and womens underpants appeared about 1840 in America. The term "pantywaist is of much more recent origins. It seems to appear about 1925-30 a few years before this Lane Bryant appeared. At any rate, as a result, is less commonly used than underwaists. There were two styles offered in different materials. A reader writes, "I have a thought that pantie waist also may take into account how someone had to have help getting into their clothes (usually the mother) which may have been seen as unmanly. Especially with the back buttoning variety." Another reader tells us, "One commonly sees two spellings of this term--both " panty waist " and " pantie waist ." The two spellings were used interchanageably in American parlance. But the most common term in American catalogs (especially in Sears and Wards catalogs) is
"underwaist". I think the reason that Sears and Wards avoided the term "panty waist" was because it had come to have very negative connotations with boys--and especially boys aged 8 or older. Most of these waists were made for children (both boys and girls) up to the age of 12. Perhaps the reason the term is used by
Lane Bryant is that the underwaists (or "pantie waists") advertised
here are only for children up to the age of 8, children who probably
wouldn't have the same strong objection to the term "pantie waist."
Sears and Wards were offering the same type of garment for a wider age
range of children, so it would make sense for them to avoid the term
The as copy read, "Run resisting rayon jersey
9 E6698 25 cents
9 E6698- The Bloomers above prove that "beauty is as beauty does." There so luxurious and pretty--yet so practical for they wear very well and are easy to wash. Made of Run-resisting Rayon Jersey in a meshy weave. Reinforced saddle seat. Elastic at waist and knees. COLORS: Flesh-pink or peach. SIZES: 2,4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14 years. Our Price 25 cents. Postage 2 cents extra.
The ad copy read, "
SIZES 2 to 14 Vest and Bloomers Silky- Striped TWO Qualities. 25 cents each UP.
Vest and Bloomers to match each in qualities with a silky-striped.
The Vest has band-finished neck and armholes; drawstring. Elastic at the waist and knees of bloomers: crotch is reinforced. SIZES: 2 to 14 years." They were available in different material.
The ad copy read, "Sturdy Cotton; Cream-White
9 E 6584: Vest- each 25 cents
9 E 6584: Bloomers- each 25 cents
The ad copy read, "about 12% Wool: balance Cotton in Cream-White
9 E 643: Vest- each 35 cents
9 E 644: Bloomers- each 35 cents
Postage 2 cents extra on each garment. "
A HBC reader writes, "The Lane Bryant page is important, and thank you for providing it. Do you have the whole catalog or just the underwear page? One thing
I noticed is that no union suits or waist union suits were offered on the page. I would guess that these would appear on adjacent pages because both were so widely worn in the mid-1930s. Was Lane Bryant only selling clothing for younger children--or are younger children merely the emphasis of the page you gave us?
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