Thursday, December 21, 2017

This Couple Joins Me in Wishing You the Happiest of Holidays!  ...Chris

Christmas Past:
Remember this Reddi Wip commercial from a couple of years ago when a little boy wakes up in his red union suit and discovers his daddy "playing" Santa Claus.

All's Well - Merry Christmas

Christmas Present:
Did you catch last Sunday's Parade Magazine featuring Jack Black rollicking in his favorite Underwear: A Red Union Suit...

Take a look at this Union Suit Fan:

Other Shots from his Parade Photo Shoot:

Jack Black and Photographers 

To see more including photo shoot article and a taped interview of Jack while wearing his red Union Suit, go to:

Monday, December 11, 2017

Joe of New York City, Union Suit Fan!

My good friend is featured in this his third contribution to my blog. Enjoy! 

The Big Switch

 So. What happens when a city boy switches from his trusty and reliable two-piece thermal long johns to a good, old-fashioned, one piece unit – trap door and all?

The guys in my family have a tradition – white, flat cotton, short sleeved union suits. Perfect for working outdoors/ hunting/ fishing or cutting fuel bills. Naturally, white union suits (one piece button flap, in case you are curious) came from Sears Roebuck and were a staple for Grandpa and a host of Uncles. But the young dudes? Grandpa’s union suit? No way! We were far too young and way too hip to step into a pair of long handles. So, when we decided that frost bite wasn’t the best fashion statement, we hauled our ice-cold rear ends to K-Mart or J C Penney and bought waffle weave, cotton long johns. Sometimes white, sometimes ecru. And, not to start a debate again but – socks were pulled up past the double-knit cuffs. The rationale for that heroic feat was twofold: so drafts wouldn’t crawl up our legs once the knit cuffs stretched out a bit; and, so others wouldn’t discover our secret when we sat down and the legs of our trousers rode up a bit.

And the ribbing a guy in long johns gets? Guys get teased about underwear – any type of underwear - get over it! Boxers, briefs, long johns – they have been a humorous staple in films and on television for years. Why the poor union suit had to be shoved to the back of the closet and become the most humorous of garments can be directly blamed on every Hollywood star from Laurel & Hardy all the way to The Three Stooges.

I’ve watched long underwear advance in the media. My trusty white/ ecru ones were scoffed at recently (by my eye doctor who proudly pulled up the trouser leg of his expensive suit to display a pair of black Under Armor’s). During my exam, as I was reading the chart and trying to figure out the very small print, he looked down and saw that my pant leg had travelled up a bit and there, right above my black sock for all the world (or him) to see were my ecru colored, thermal waffle weave knit, long johns.

So, in trying to get with the 21st Century, I bought a pair – and balked loudly at the cost. Almost $100 for a pair of black long johns? Meanwhile, another store (Odd Lots) was selling a pair of ecru colored (or black – they got with the times too) long johns – waffle knit thermal top and bottoms for the staggering amount of $8 for the set! A whole suit (maybe one you wouldn’t wear to church on Sunday – too difficult to find the right tie) for under ten bucks.

Well sir, I paid for the Under Armors and so it was time to put them to the test. Put on my “hip and with-it” black Under Armors, went out into the wilds of Manhattan to take pictures and froze my camera lens off. Yeah, they are slick looking (kids who like wearing jeans with holes in the knees prefer them. Also, guys like to wear short pants and a pair of Under Armor black drawers – don’t ask me why. It is defeating the purpose of warmth – isn’t it?) But these $100 drawers were thin, as stylish as a pair of long johns can possibly get but provided no warmth. Said eye doctor had me lift my pants leg when I returned (in a frozen huff, mind you) to pick up my glasses, felt them and said it was all in my mind. He pointed out the comfort they provided and how quickly they dried when washed. I still think he gets a kick-back from Under Armor for each pair he gets a patient to buy.

And so, you might ask, how did I finally get myself into a trusty, red, union suit? Well, my buddy Chris is quite a nice guy and his web site extols the virtues of the union suit. As New York City fell into a spell of cold and snow, I found one of our last, remaining, Army & Navy shops and bought a Hanes red waffle thermal (some habits I cannot break) union suit.

Took a shower. Dried off. Stepped into the tagless Hanes union suit, buttoned it up and true to form – pulled a pair of socks up and over the double knitted cuffs. For me, the thermal cotton provides a bit of stretch and support that is unsurpassed. Yeah. I had on my broadcloth boxers under the suit (and, if you want to talk about laughable you gotta see the plaid and paisley print ones that K-Mart has on sale) and white socks – a truly masculine get-up and thank God for that! Went to sleep (it is an old building and the landlord is not going to properly heat it so nights, mornings and early afternoons are quite cold if not downright frigid around here) in them and found them to be the ultimate in comfort. Socks kept the legs from riding up and any “bladder” issues weren’t that much of a hassle after the first time I stumbled, half-asleep, to answer nature and stopped and said, “What the heck? Buttons? Oh. Yeah.”

Next morning, despite below freezing temperatures and snow on the windows, I was warm and quite cozy. My bro, Chris, once called a union suit “romance killer” but for me, the art of being warm and snug is all the love this old man needs.
After a picture taking session (consider them your Christmas present, Chris) I sat around the computer in them feeling comfortable, warm and cozy. No drafts hitting the small of my back where the thermal t-shirt top always rode up on me (being 6 foot 3 inches isn’t always a plus), roomy fit and if the doorbell should ring, all it would take to be “presentable” was to jump into a pair of jeans – the top passes for a Henley.
Then came the big test – the great outdoors. Or, in this case, the urban jungle. As I previously stated, the comfort factor was a big plus. Despite my fears, there was no “pull” on my shoulders (the store did sell “tall” ones so they did fit properly) and, unlike the Gentlemen’s Quarterly Under Armor’s, these babies kept a man all comfy and warm – from neck to ankles.

So. Two piece thermals vs. a union suit. OK boys, let’s face it. The big (and ultimately only) issue is that blasted trap door. Easy to button and unbutton but a major pain in the . . . a major pain when the bran muffin kicks in.

Wearing a sweater made it a bit impossible to unbutton the long john union suit and just get on with business. And, the boxer shorts underneath the union suit didn’t help matters any. So, for the next test, I tried ‘em without said boxer shorts. Ah! A lot easier and no major undressing required.
Of course, now I am going to start another debate – while still a strong advocate of tucking the cuffs of your trusty union suit (or thermal long john drawers) into your socks – I now feel that as a union suit/ long johns (two separate pieces) are underwear (despite Under Armor trying to make them a fashion accessory like the Kardashian’s might wear). Putting underwear (short) under underwear (long) is like wearing a belt and a pair of suspenders – overkill!

I can hear the cries from long john/ union suit aficionados across the globe yelling, “but wearing your briefs under long johns enables you to wear them longer. One union suit (or thermal drawers) can be worn a few days while you would change your summer underwear every day.

I’m all for hygiene but I’m also a big fan of “When You’ve Got To Go, You’ve Got To Go” so I will buy a few union suits (White. Perhaps Oatmeal – hey Chris – did you ever think starting that great blog would make you not only a hero but a mentor?) and keep the broadcloth boxers off to one side until warmer weather prevails.

Joe: Thanks for another enlightening take on the world of long, one-piece wonders. I admit to wearing boxer shorts under my union suits as well as a sleeveless undershirt. As teenage boys we called those undershirts "skinny ribs." I will take under advisement your well thought out argument regarding ditching the boxers. We'll see.

If you have been following my blog you know that Joe of New York City is a regular (or should I say intermittent) contributor. Please see his previous stories published in this blog: Holy Union Suits (March 5, 2017) and More Stocking Stuffers (April 20, 2017) .... Chris    

If you have a great Union Suit Story and / or favorite photograph(s), please send them to

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Union Suit Pals: 

Union Suits are even more fun when hanging out with your best bud!

Added May 21, 2018 from Charlie of Lincoln, Nebraska:

Chris, can I way in regarding the dignity of union suits? Here is a picture of some baseball players in their various underwear. The dude in the union suit looks better than the guys in their briefs and boxers. I vote more guys should wear union suits!!

Charlie, you may "way in on the dignity of union suits" or any other long underwear subject, anytime! Thanks for submitting this picture. Seems to me that the two jocks in the union suit and jockey shorts / undershirt show the most confidence in their underwear by the looks on their faces. The looks on the other boys who are wearing boxers and shorts, seem to ask, "what am I doing here posing in my underwear?"  It's hard to look confident in your underwear. Take it from me it takes practice. I agree with you that more guys should wear Union Suits. That is one reason I have established my blog, Union Suit Fan!   ....Chris

Added April 22, 2018:
Scott of Scottsdale, AZ sent me the following photo with this note:

"Chris, not all pals wear union suits when hanging out with each other. Sometimes they wear all sorts of underwear!"  ...Scott

Can't argue with that Scott. But, Union Suits are so much warmer, dignified, and tasteful! Wouldn't you agree ??!!   ....Chris

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Frat Boys are Union Suit Fans
(If not by their own choice)

Fraternity Pledges are required to strip to
Long Red Underwear for Initiation.
Guys be safe. Use some common sense!
Fraternity Members have a responsibility
to treat their Pledges well so all can
enjoy the good Greek Life!

Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Gold miners in their Long Red Underwear escort Dance Hall Ladies in a recent Madam Lou Bunch Day Parade. The festivities are held each summer in honor of Central City, Colorado's last madam. Events include a Madams and Miners Ball, Tours of Rigs and Mines, Beer Garden, Food and Entertainment, and a popular Brass Bed Race!

Like many Colorado towns in the 1800's, Central City was settled in an 1859 gold rush. The town soon became known as the "Richest Square Mile on Earth." Millionaires were made over night!

On the third Saturday in June each year, most "miners" clad only in their red Union Suits escort "ladies of the evening" down main street in a popular town parade. One young lady is crowned "Lou Bunch Madam" of the year.

After the parade it is time for the the "Brass Bed Race."  The miners wearing Long Underwear jump on beds with their girls. One of the miners (the driver) quickly slips on a striped night shirt over his red Union Suit and pushes beds up and down Main Street for all he is worth.

It is my unqualified opinion that modern day Colorado has more Union Suit wearers than any other state. At least that is my impression because of the number of guys who appear in public in their Union Suits! Plus it is down right cold in the Centennial State a great deal of the year. Yep, I think Colorado must be Number 1 with so many of the men there wearing one-piece long Underwear. And boys, that includes Montana, Minnesota, Michigan, Vermont, Maine, and even Tennessee. 

It's possible that I am wrong but in addition to the Long John wearing miners above, Manitou Springs, CO also has Union Suit clad firemen who participate in an annual coffin race each October. See my blog posting of December 5, 2016:

And, guys like Mike of Lakewood, CO hike around the state in just their Union Suits! See my posting of Mike's Winter Underwear Hike, November 4, 2016:

Apparently, in Colorado, generations of men and boys wear Union Suits. Take Karen of Leadville, CO. She has reported in this blog that not only her husband but her daddy and older son all wear Union Suits! I bet her granddaddy and great granddaddy did too!

Further Proof: As a boy my family and I took a trip to Colorado visiting Pikes Peak, Seven Falls, the Royal Gorge, and the fun western town, "Buckskin Joe's," located just outside of Canon City Colorado. I have never forgotten the main street gun fight with a stand off between the sheriff and a sinister bank robber. No blood was shed when the sheriff out drew the bad guy. Rather, his bullet hit the belt buckle of the robber causing his britches to plummet to the ground revealing his Long Red Underwear. Dropping his gun and abandoning a bag of money as well as his britches in the middle of main street, the bad guy was run out of town in his Union Suit. I thought it hilarious!

Yep, Colorado is synonymous with Union Suits!

Added November 19, 2017:

Franklin of Carson City, NV submitted the above photograph of "another grizzled gold miner with his lady friend sporting boots and red Long Johns."

Thanks, Franklin! I don't know if this is you in disguise but apparently Nevada gentlemen wear their Union Suits to special events as well. Regards...Chris

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Union Suits - YesterYear 

As this amusing, old-time Texaco ad suggests, it's time to tune up the old jalopy. Pull out and pull on your long-handle underwear if you haven't already, and get set for winter.

Just like checking your car's radiator to see if it has enough antifreeze, we Union Suit Fans should check our winter wardrobe to ensure we have enough long johns to make it through the cold, short days ahead.

Here in northern Idaho I've been wearing full body Union Suits for at least a month now and have had to close our bedroom window at night. It has gotten down into the 20's the last several nights and we have already had a few snow flurries. Colder, snowier weather is on the way!

Minnesota and Boulder, Colorado have already had some pretty good snow. I hear a couple of ski areas in Colorado have already opened. And a "nor'easter" is heading into New England this weekend! Long Underwear weather is upon us. 

Karen of Leadville, Colorado emailed me to say that her little mountain town remains one of the cold spots in the nation. Her husband and dad "wore their Union Suits non-stop right through the summer months" there. Brrr! Her older son has been wearing his button-downs now too.

So Rich and Joe, Dave and Mario, Trevor and Peter, and all you Union Suit Fans, it's time to join me in getting 'em buttoned up. Winter is fast approaching.

Monday, October 9, 2017

A Very Forgetful Boy

Once there was a forgetful boy, a very forgetful boy. It was not unusual for him to run out of his house early morning and race to the bus stop without his lunch bag. Occasionally, he would forget his belt and had to hold his pants up with one hand all day long. One time the boy ran out of the house and was half way down the sidewalk in the rain before he realized he had no shoes on. His socks were soaked before he could turn around and run back to his room to change them. In school he would have invariably forgotten a text book or two, maybe pencils and, of course, his homework now and then. Participating in boy scout camp outs he would frequently forget his sleeping bag, or his jacket, maybe a flashlight or change of underwear. At other times he would forget to take his bible to Sunday school.

His mom, dad, teachers, and scout master were regularly exasperated. Pleading, reminders, even threats seemed to have no positive affect on this boy and his memory. Yet this forgetful boy did very well in his school subjects. He excelled in mathematics and science and recalled history and geography details. But as he graduated to high school he remained oh so forgetful. The boy's mom commented as many moms do about their sons, "if his head were not screwed on tightly he would forget it as well."

As a high school sophomore the boy continued getting excellent grades despite being his forgetful self. During this year he tried out and was chosen for the school's basketball team. True to form, arriving for practice he would, on any given day, forget clean socks, on another day his shorts, on another day his jockstrap. He was simply inept at remembering. His coach grew more and more impatient.

One cold Monday morning, the boy forgot his entire uniform. He had taken it home to be washed but left it in the laundry room in his rush to catch the school bus. Upon arriving at the boys' locker room for practice, the coach had had enough. "You are not going to play in your street clothes and shoes," he told the boy. "Today, you'll practice in just your underwear and socks!”

No amount of pleading or promising to do better could change the coach's mind. "Strip and hit the court," he commanded. And so, the boy did - reluctantly.

It was mid-January so like other men and boys, his winter underwear consisted of a long-handled union suit. Hanging up his clothes and storing his shoes, he proceeded to the gym wearing only his long woolen underwear and socks.

The other boys laughed heartily at seeing their distressed team mate in his union suit. They chided him with diversionary comments such as "You forgot to button your flap" and "Look! His face is as red as his underwear!" Another team mate chortled, “Wait until the girls see you at our next game in just your union suit!”

Teenage boys, then as now, have no mercy. Good nature teasing each other is a favorite past time. Blowing his whistle, the coach finally stopped the chatter bringing some semblance of order to practice. The boys were soon concentrating upon basketball rather than the forgetful boy, ignoring the discomfort of one of their own.

Despite his embarrassment the boy did his best to persevere on the court, slipping and sliding around the gym in his socks, sweating in his woolen underwear. Yet he managed to hit some layups and a couple of hook shots. After a while he thought no more of having to run around in his underwear.

The hour passed and the boy returned to the locker room in his soggy union suit. The other boys continued razzing their unfortunate colleague. But the boy could give as good as he got. He had composed himself and offered some zingers of his own. Finally, after the other boys finished showering and dressing, they left for home tired but exhilarated.

The forgetful boy promised his coach he would do better to remember. It turned out the boy learned his lesson for he never forgot his uniform again. 

I wish I could tell you that he became less forgetful from that day forward but some things never change. The boy became a man and now forgets where he places his car keys, his anniversary date, and the ages of his children.

Solid Jackson appears in his
Long Red Woolen Union Suit
to the Amusement of His Team Mates
and to the Consternation of His Coach

Special Thanks to The Kilroys, America's Funniest Family!, a popular 1940's comic book family, who featured a boy by the name of Solid Jackson. Solid was a zany friend of the Kilroys' teenage son, Natch. Solid always seemed to find himself in the wackiest of predicaments such as his mom requiring him to wear his long red woolen underwear to his high school basketball games so he wouldn't catch cold. Solid Jackson was the perfect foil to align with my "forgetful boy" story.

The Kilroys stories and art: by Dan Gordon and others. His comic books featured various teen-ager hijinks.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

More Cowboys in Their Union Suits: 
There's a New Sheriff in Town!

Sugarfoot Jumping Out of Bed
and Grabbing His Britches

Getting Some Book Learnin' is a
Balancing Act for Cowboys

Where's that Damn Horse?!

Sitting by the Fire
Waiting for the Spring Thaw

If it's Spring ... It must be Laundry Day

Once a Month I Add Water to my Bath

There's a Limit as to how long a Man can
Lay Out in the Desert in Just His Union Suit...
About the time it takes for that Union Suit
 to fade from Bright Red to Salmon Color!

Thanks to all of the Union Suit Fans 
that Contributed...Chris

See My Origianal Posting "Cowboys and Union Suits"
February 23, 2017