• shawn underwood

Who Had to Change Into a Gym Outfit During PE?

I was at an estate sale the other day and I came across a PE outfit! Like an actual gym costume, I mean it wasn't exactly like the one I used to wear because the shorts had some weird ass gathering at the leg and it was cotton and mine was a cotton blend but still it got me to thinking. Does anyone have to go through the right of passage and actually wear gym 'costumes' anymore?

My physical education one piece snap front suit is burned into my brain and I'm fairly certain it was because of the perceived trauma I had to go through in the actual class. Well it wasn't the class, although that was bad enough because I suck at following directions but it was getting ready for class. At age 12 - 13 you don't want anyone to see your bits. Not your underwear. Not your training bra. Sports bras didn't exist back in the day. And God forbid it was that time of the month. If it were that time of the month then EVERYBODY knew because of course you couldn't take a shower. Speaking of showers. No let's not. That was bad too and we were all convinced that the boys had somehow drilled a hole in the wall in order to spy on our straight up and down bodies. Sigh. But I've completely digressed from my subject. The old fashioned gym costume.

As I mentioned earlier, the costume I found had elastic legs only it wasn't the elastic we think of for sewing. I found that the legs were gathered together with actual giant rubber bands! How odd is that? This particular gym suit is from the 1950's. I tried it on and it's comfortable and cute, kind of a retro romper. Oh and the name embroidered on the chest is 'Olga'. Naturally it is Olga.

Required PE outfit from the fifties.
1950's Gym Costume

The thing is that nobody ever took their stinky, sweaty gym clothing home for a good de-fouling. What about that? I know this to be true of my own children when they entered 7th grade. That combined with puberty and regular day to day stink — it's amazing that old school gym costumes survived at all. And in the early 1900's physical fitness costumes were made of WOOL!

The rack?
I have no words.

Gym class back in the day
That's me hanging upside down :)

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