Advertisements for Boys Clothings: Wards 3-Piece Jacket Outfit (Fall-Winter 1937-38)

Figure 1.-- We note that Wards offered a lumberjack-style jacket with a bold print. It was part of a 3-piece outfit (jacket, long pants, and self-belt). These sets were popular for back-to-school outfits. Unfortunatly we do not have a good image of this item from the catalog.

We also notice advertisements for boys jackets meaning cold or cool weather gear. These are shorter cut garments including both light and heavy garments. We note that Wards offered a lumberjack-style jacket with a bold print. It was part of a 3-piece outfit (jacket, long pants, and self-belt). These sets were popular for back-to-school outfits.

Montgomery Wards

Although the word "consumerism" has a modern ring, it was personal concern for an early consumer movement, the "National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry," That inspired a young traveling salesman named Aaron Montgomery Ward to start the world's first general merchandise mail-order company in 1872. Aaron Montgomery Ward was born on February 17, 1844, in Chatham, New Jersey, to a family whose forebears had served as officers in the French and Indian Wars as well as in the American Revolution. Looking for something more compatible, Monty left home and followed the river to Lake Michigan and the town of St. Joseph, county seat and market for outlying fruit orchards. Chicago was the center of the wholesale dry goods trade and in the 1860s Ward joined the leading dry goods house, Field Palmer & Leiter. As a retailer, Potter Palmer had previously built a reputation for fair dealing. Ward absorbed these principles while working as a clerk for $5. The Chicago City Directories for 1868 through 1870 listed Ward as a salesman for Wills, Greg & Co. and later for Stetthauers & Wineman, both dry goods houses. In 1870, after canvassing territory in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Ward was again footloose. The plan shaping in Ward's mind was to buy goods at low cost for cash. By eliminating intermediaries, with their markups and commissions, and cutting selling costs to the bone, he could offer goods to people, however remote, at appealing prices - for cash. Since its founding in 1872, the company has literally "grown up with America" and has had a major impact on the shopping habits of a nation of consumers. Montgomery Ward & Co. discontinued its catalog operations in 1985 as part of its restructuring effort to change itself into a modern, competitive chain of value-driven specialty stores, a move which for a time saved the company. week.


These garments appeared in the Wards Fall and winter, 1937 catalog on p. 196.


The sizes indicate these suits are for younger boys from about 4 to 10 years. This was the age just before school through the 5th grade in elementry (primary) school.

Purchasing Complete Outfits

It is also interesting to note that some mothers at the height of the Great Depression wanted to buy outfits for boys that included everything--not only trousers and jacket but also shirts ("blouses"), neckties, and belts.

Garments Offered

Wards offered five different overcoats on this page. Four were grouped together and one advertized separately. Ward advises, "You Can Include Boys' Clothing on Wards Monthly Payment Plan! See Inside of Back cover for Details."

3-Piece Outfit

Appearing in the Fall-Winter 1937-38 catalog, many of the items offered were intended for back-to-school wear. We would call this a lunber-jacket style jacket, but Wards does not use this description. The Ward's ad copy read, "3-Piece Outfit. Jacket, Longies and Self Belt. $3.98. Blue Plaid Jacket is a strong 90% Wool fabric that's packed with warmth. Tailored with sports back, full length slide fastener front and knit cuffs on sleeves. Jacket is colorful plaid. Navy blue collar and trims. Half Wool Blue Cheviot Longies come with self belt and buckle. Tailored with fly front and finished cuffs. It's a great Outfit for dress-up, school or play. Even age-sizes 4 to 10 years. See How to Determine Age-Size on Page 788. Ship. wt. 3 lbs., 6 oz. 39 C 4320--Jacket, longies and Belt $3.98. 39 C 834 Hockey Cap. See Page 206. 45 cents."


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Created: 9:13 PM 7/10/2006
Last updated: 9:13 PM 7/10/2006