Humorous Hand-Knit Hunks of 1940s Red Heart Wools

While many of us may have our minds drawn toward Easter bonnets and frilly dresses, today we're going to take a look at knit menswear from the 1940s. Because:
  1. These fellows would look pretty silly in frilly dresses and flowered hats and
  2. The sweater marketing is funny enough that I simply couldn't wait until Fall to share.
The Chadwick's Red Heart Wools sweater instruction booklet assures us that:
"These are the sweaters Mostly Likely to Appeal to Men of Success. Here are the sweaters for every taste and temperament--"
If your man's temperament includes the perpetual accessorizing with pipes, booze and books.

Let's start with what our booklet dubs the Young Modern. Yes, this has to have been what David Bowie was thinking of when he wrote his song Young Americans. Except the lyrics need just a little tweaking...
"With his Red Heart worsted knit
He lays it down
He frowns
Gee my life's a funny thing
Like wool, life's too spun?"
What girl doesn't love the deeply philosophical type?

In Streamline Design, this young man practices romancing the ladies, Maurice Chevalier-style, on his T-Square ruler-- the closest he's likely gotten to dipping a dame.
"Oooh, la-la, mon cheri, you are so slim, so straight, so fully-flat... I love you like I have never loved anozzer... It is the Red Heart Worsted I wear which beats for you..."
Er, let's leave give those two a little privacy and move on to Executive Material. After 25 years loyal service, this fine fellow was working on a persona that would earn him that coveted in-office nickname. He was aiming for "Smiling Bob"...
Little did he know, the unnerving, forced quality of even his most pleasant expression had inspired everyone in the office-- from the copy boy to his secretary, Miss Tibbs-- to call him, "Creepy McCardigan."

Fortunately, he had not heard this whispered gigglingly over the mimeograph machine.

Maybe he would have enjoyed more personal rapport if his wife had knitted him the Good Mixer. Yes, the Good Mixer is the man who knows wearing striped pants and a checked sweater can only be truly set for Sexy when it's topped off with a big ol' bowtie...
The kittens will just be dying to touch it, to straighten it, to let him buy them a Rob Roy, to light their smokes. He's got the swinging society eating out of the palm of his hand-- the hand he casually tucks into his pleated trousers which is now losing feeling at the elbow because he's struck this pose for the better part of an hour hoping one of the girls would notice his panache.

Now, the Stag at Ease (and no, I didn't make that name up just to be funny) knows that nothing is more manly, more devil-may-care, more virile, than a dotted Swiss fluffy sweater.

Yes, friends, nothing more clearly says, "I'm single. I'm available. I'm the son of a mother who still makes all my clothes" than the Stag at Ease.

Why, this young buck defied his mommy this very morning-- manly-style-- by wearing the dotted sweater, yes, but with completely different trousers than the ones she laid out for him! Mother would be horrified. But the Stag, he doesn't care. It's a statement. Its his way or no way. And he's a real American rebel.

Here we have another free-thinker through wool fiber. Meet the Rugged Individualist. He stands out from the crowd because of his... er...
He's different from all the other guys wearing suits and vests and ties and carrying pipes because of... um... well...

He has a special creative flair as demonstrated through...

Er. Okay. So, yes, he looks just like every other 40s old dude with a pipe. But sometimes knowing when you need to blend in with everybody else shows your deep inner strength.

Yeah, that's it. He's just keeping all that ruggedness and individuality under wraps for now. Otherwise, well, who knows what would happen?

The Crew Captain, on the other hand, is dressed appropriately for his active lifestyle.Yes, time on the water has shown his ability to adapt to any situation. That's why his striped wool sweater has short sleeves instead of long. And he wears thick wool slacks and a watch that is not, in fact, waterproof.

He knows that a single capsize will leave his sweater sagging to his knees, his tweed pants soaked and itchy against his legs, and his wristwatch entirely ruined. Which gives him that added incentive not to fall in.

It's Iron Will and a Fight Against the Odds at its most spectacular!

Now we go from the local lakes and rivers to the icy shores of ancient Scandinavia. Because here we have The Viking...
Contrary to what historical documents would have us believe, Vikings apparently were very big on skiing in turtleneck pullovers. And we're in luck! At this very moment, Olaf the Mightily Mittened is preparing to go on an expedition to find new lands, plunder, pillage and... well... enjoy some s'mores and hot cocoa at the post-pillage party. (Don't forget the whipped cream. Vikings love extra whipped cream.)

Now I know what you're thinking. But there is an alternate version of the woolly cap where you can knit up some horns. Olaf just didn't go for those because they affect wind resistance.

And that, dear readers, about unravels the last of our look into the hand-knit hunks of Red Heart Wools.

I hope you'll join me on Wednesday, when we peer into the thrifted Treasure Box for this last week.

I'm going to hop off for some Eastery edibles now. I believe there are some candy eggs with my name on them.

Have a lovely day!


Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

What absolutely horrid sweaters made bearable by you and your wonderful play-by-play! You know, it just changes everything when I know the story behind each sweater and the man who wears it!

Melanie said...

I'm kinda liking that Viking sweater. Wouldn't turn down the guy modeling it either. :) I don't understand why the ribbing is folded up on the bottom, but it's still a nice sweater.

I know a guy who looks just like the guy on the cover. As far as I know, he doesn't wear sweaters though.

Colleen said...

Jenn- Your commentary is hilarious! It's so hard to believe that these styles were once taken as seriously fashionable - You've put them in a very humorous light. The 'designers' are most likely turning over in their graves now that word of your 'reviews' are out! I love the way you put such a special spin on the hideous fashion days of past!

Jenn Thorson said...

Sandy- The sweaters kind of seem in-keeping with the clothing style of the time. I just love the marketing spin, though, on trying to make them more rugged than any sweater could possibly be. :)

Melanie-There's something about the way that Viking sweater is fitted it looks a bit too girly to me. Like it'd be one you'd want to borrow from your boyfriend, not really one you'd let him wear. :)

Colleen- Oh, these old booklets are jam packed with fashion atrocities, and this is fairly tame compared to some. But those overly ambitious style names-- HAAAAA! I'm glad you got a laugh too.