American Mail Order Catalogs with Boys Clothings: Sears Fall-Winter 1939-40 Catalog--Jacket and Knicker Sets

Figure 1.--Sears offered this informal jacket which was described as a Cossack style. It was as a set with matching knickers in 1939-40. It was seen as a school outfit and was available in sizes 6-14 years. A similar set was made to size 16 years.

Sears offered this informal jacket in 1939-40. It was described as a Cossack style. It was as a set with matching fully lined knickers. The knickers had knit weave leg closings. These sets were seen as school outfits. One style was available in sizes 6-14 years. A similar set was mnade for boys 8-16. Both were done in corduroy.


The Sears, Roebuck and Co., huge merchandising firm centered in Chicago was founded by Richard W. Sears (1863-1914) and A.C. Roebuck (1864-1948). Sears had begun a career in mail-order business in Minnesota 1886. In Chicago he and Roebuck joined resources and formed a corporation in 1893 as a mail-order business under title Sears, Roebuck and Company. In 1895 Julius Rosenwald (1862-1932) bought Roebuck's interest in firm and became president on Sears's retirement 1908. A retail-store system was added 1925. The first foreign store added in Havana, Cuba during 1945 and becane te first expropriated store in 1960. The Sears-Roebuck brought the production of industry to the fartherest corner of rural America, opening the cornucopia of the consumer age to rural America. All the new things that were changing American life danced across their pages. Through it, a huge Chicago warehouse offers to modernize the farms and small towns of the Midwest.


These suits were offered in the Sears 1939-40 Fall and Winter catalog (p 351). This means that these were going back to school suits.


This set was especially designed for school wear. It includes a warm jacket sitable for Fall and Winter wear and knickers for boys in both promary and secondary school. We are not sure how popular this was for older boys. Most high school images we have seen for the late 1930s show boys wearing long pants, especially boys over 14 years old. The catalog ad stresses that both sets were done in "Sturdy Corduroy For Warmth and Long Wear". The jacket looks like the style some British schools adopted for school uniforms, but with short pants rather than knickers.

New Diagonal Pattern ($3.98)

The ad copy read, " Cossack style jacket full lined with warm fleece cotton flannel . . . 2-Pc Outfit. Crown zip front. 2 muff pockets . . . Sports back . . . Full lined knickers. It's rugged thickset corduroy--which means it will wear longer. Smart new pattern--better looking than ordinary corduroy. Knickers have knit bottoms, 4 pockets. Even age-sizes: 8 to 16. State age-size. Shipping weight, 3 pounds, 12 ounces. 40 D 2996--Med Brown $3.98 40 D 2997--Bluish Gray $3.98."

Smart Speckled Pattern ($3.29)

The ad copy read, "Cossack style jacket with belted pinch back--full lined with warm cotton flannel . . . Crown zip front . . . 2 muff pockets . . . Zip pocket. Full lined knickers with knit bottoms. All the warmth and wear of corduroy . . . plus the added warmth of a heavy lining. What a combination for a youngster! Neatly tailored to Sears strict specifications. Even age-sizes: 6 to 14. State age-size, Shipping weight, 3 pounds 8 ounces. 40 D 2924--Brown $3.29 40 D 2925--Gray $3.29." This set is pictured here (figure 1).


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Created: March 1, 2004
Last updated: 8:35 PM 10/2/2017