“5, 6, 7, 8, Schlameal Schlamazel Hazzen Pfeffer Incorporated…”
Where would LaVerne have been without the cursive ‘L’ on her sweater? Rain or shine, heatwave or snowstorm, Lavern wore her sweaters. Such was the life of a ‘sweater girl’ during the 50’s (or a 70’s girl on a 50’s show, as the case may be).
Much like a security blanket, the soft fuzzy feeling of a sweater comforted many a lady and her beau in the backseat of Dad’s Cadillac. Female sex symbols of the silver screen like Rita Hayworth were dubbed ‘sweater girls’ for the incredible fit of their sweaters over the pointed cones of their bullet bras. A tight, fuzzy sweater and a bullet bra made a lethal combination in the hormone-crazy days of teenagerdom.
The 50’s new financial prosperity saw a surge in the production of luxury fabric furs like cashmere and angora, which made super-soft sweaters. Pringle, the biggest manufacturer of cashmere cardigans and sweaters, became one of the first label lustings of the teen years. The advent of artificial fibers like Orlon acrylic imitated the feel of wool and cashmere (or at least tried to), with a wash and wear ease of cleaning and a more affordable price.
Sweaters were everywhere: twin sets, cardigans, v-neck, sweater vests, pullovers, letterman’s sweaters, Ban-Lon, Orlon, acrylic, cotton, wool, angora, cashmere. In numerous styles, colors and patterns, the 50’s were all about sweaters, sweaters and more sweaters. Famed fashion designer Coco Chanel conceived of the beloved 50's twinset: a matching cardigan sweater over a simple pullover. Special accessories, called sweater clips, helped to keep a sweater secure when thrown over the shoulders.
Sweaters have remained a wardrobe staple throughout the decades for both boys and girls: would the beatniks have been as hip without their sloppy joes, the 70’s as far out without turtlenecks, or preppies as preppy without one tied around their necks? We think not.
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