SUNDAY, MARCH 24, 196T
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
IPA VIV mIrvirw
Unparalleled Popularity Greets Stylish
By ROBERT GRODY
Long before President John F.
Kennedy came out with his now
famous cry for American physical
fitness, the fashion industry had
been making annual pilgrimages
of its own to the gymnasium.
In recent years the grunters
and groaners of the athletic
world have contributed a great
deal to the American fashion
The first of these encroach-
ments was the tennis shoe, or, to
those who are "in," sneakers.
Sneakers were originally intended
for gym use. Their perforated
soles made for excellent traction,
as is needed in such sports as
basketball. The early sneaker was
a pretty horrid-looking piece of
it was roughly fashioned of
black canvas with originally white
(it soon matched the canvas) rub-
ber. It laced above the ankle for
These early sneakers made their
way into the world through the
youngsters. Kids needed a fairly
tough yet comfortable shoe to
keep up with their active lives.
Sneakers were just right. Even
Tommy Uettig wore them.
The sneaker's curious odyssey
then carried it to a friendly har-
bor: the realm of the high school
girl. Here the clumsy, dirty sneak-
er all of us on the block loved so
well was given a glamor treat-
ment that shall not easily fade
into the pages of fashion history.
Behemoth Cut Down
The high-laced behemoth of
the stickball game was cut down
to fit neatly below the ankle. The
new product (I refuse to call them
sneakers) made an immediate
smash in the teen world. They
were light, comfortable, and went
equally well with bobby-sox or
But this was not enough. The
black or white canvas finish of
the shoe just didn't satisfy the
feminine obsession for style. There
weren't enough colors to match
all their outfits or something.
Then some blasphemous New
York manufacturer came up with
the idea that was to lead to the
ultimate degradation of the once-
cherished and respected sneaker:
he started to put out tennis shoes
At first, the colors were con-
servative: reds, greens and blues.
But as the trend grew, the de-
mand for more and more colors
became greater too. Soon any dig-
nity the sneaker might have re-
tained after this unprecedented
and abominable attack was lost.
Sneakers soon appeared in vio-
let, coral, tangerine, aqnamarine, ' W ies of the intrepid inhabitants
and pango peach. Af if this wasn't of the gymnasium.
potent enough for a final blow, It was a simple, casual garment
the manufacturers dreamed u thiat was made of cheap, easily
polka-dot sneakers, striped sneak - washable cotton. This fact made
ers, corduroy sneakers (for fa ll it ideal for activities that were
great fun but usually too messy
for sportshirts and blouses. It
fitted into backyard barbecues,
'touch" football a n d general
It also provided what appeared
to be sufficient warmth for those
late fall and early spring ball
games on the block.
SNEAKER Whenever Mom stuck her ever-
e- gpaprotective head out the window
wear), and velveteen sneakE ks and screamed (causing untold em-
(for more formal occasions).k arrassment), Put your jacket
Th mthe lot ofthass, _oh , it's 40 degrees!", the stock an-
inwas is t of th e unassu - swer was: "But Mom, I'm wearing
in~ waifof the basketbal cu £t- 4a sweat shirt!" It was really quite
Ah, me, the wheels of progi l useful.
Sweatshirts Too Pretty soon the sweat shirt be-
It wasn't long before the trail gan to make its way, as the sneak-
blazed by the sneaker intc k the er had before it, into the social
fashion world was travelled 'y a whirls, especially among t h e
new garment, whose ultimat tri- youngsters. Its comfort and af-
umph reached e v e n g] ater finity for not needing care brought
heights than its predecesso t, the it to beaches, parties, high school
sneaker. This was the sweat i-hirt. committee meetings and other
The sweat shirt, or sweathirt ,nore casual social functions.
(as its popularity grew) folldiwed Needed Glamour
basically the same path as the But the sweatshirt and the
sneaker: it was originally into nd- sneaker shared the same draw-
ed for absorbing, as the Mame im- back: they weren't glamorous
plies, sweat from the teem ing enough. The sneaker solved the
problem by donning bright colors
and weird fabric textures.
But, since even Madison Ave.
couldn't tolerate the idea of cor-
duroy or velveteen sweatshirts,
a new device-was needed.
Sweatshirts became attention-
getters. First, manufacturers em-
ployed the knowledge of Vance
Packard and Thornstein 'Veblen
and made the sweatshirt a status
Every high school, university,
club, fraternity and street gang
had its emblem conspicuously dis-
played on their own Qweatshirt.
The shirts identified every organ-
ization from Theta Mu Delta to
the 2nd Ave. Dragons.
But even that wasn't enough.
There were many people who
didn't belong to any organizations,
and yet they still craved a vehicle
for attracting attention.
This huge market couldn't be
allowed to remain neglected, so
the manufacturers came up with
attention-getting sweatshirts that
drew virtual stares of awe and
disbelief from passers-by.
This was the age of the "U.S.
Olympic Drinking Team" shirt, or
the "Moscow State University"
(MSU) shirt. Others in this class
included "U.S.A. Necking Team"
and "Varsity Sleeper-Do Not Dis-
Even the great figures of poli-
tics and culture were included
There are Bach, Beethoven and
Brahms sweatshirts. Even Barry
Goldwater is represented. His
sweatshirt is guaranteed to have
been made in a sweat shop. The
latest in the series is one that
bears simply the words "Sweat
The craze is still going strong
on campuses and in cities all over
The parade from the gym to the
world of casual fashion; seems
endless. What next? Inside reports
have it that another simple yet
very useful garment is making its
way from the athletic world to
the fashion scene.
This spring the latest and most
chic thing to wear, the rnost styl-
ish garment on campus, is a towel.
Ladies' & Men's
Hairstyling & cutting
The Dascola Barbers
Near Michigan Theatre
Cej ter K0 ferj
312 So. State St.
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