Thursday, April 20, 2017

More Stocking Stuffers

To Stuff or Not to Stuff ??!!

Thanks to you who responded to my previous blog of April 10th.  There are some definite opinions out there regarding whether to stuff your Union Suit bottom cuffs into your socks. Thanks to all of you. 

Here is a response I particularly enjoyed:

Chris, I come from a family of "tuckers" After a few washings, when the elastic in the socks began to go and the socks drooped, I knew it as I (and other guys) have spent a life time bending down and yanking the socks up and over the cuffs of my thermal long underwear. But ads - SEARS especially - are notorious for showing guys in union suits and thermal drawers wearing socks but with the cuffs of the long johns pulled over the socks. I was told by an uncle that the rationale was so that men could see that these were "new styled" long johns and union suits. It seems that originally (and for some time), long johns did NOT have double knit, reinforced cuffs. Something we take for granted today but "back in the day", cowboys might have had to pull their socks up and over the legs of their union suits to keep their underwear from riding up and defeating the purpose of keeping the bronco busters warm and cozy.

Now, I asked the question (socks over the cuffs or cuffs over your socks) of all the intimates I know who wear long underwear. I found out some data I'd like to share.

I worked, for a spell many years ago, in an office building that was downright drafty and always cold in the winter.  The heat did not reach up to our floor and the landlord did not provide heat from Friday mid-morning until Tuesday mid-morning.  Mondays were like working in a deep freeze. We had a succession of office workers come and go. I warned all about the dangers of freezing to death on Fridays and Mondays (especially) and how the "arctic tundra feeling" might go on until late Tuesdays or early Wednesday due to the lack of steam heat.

Paul was a good guy - born and raised in NYC and the son of a police officer.  When I told him, he assured me that although he felt the cold badly and was terrified of catching cold, he had no issues on that front as his Dad started him and his brother off wearing long johns from an early age.

He talked about his long johns frequently.  When he had them on, he would tell me and others about his choice.  So, I can assure you he wore two piece ecru colored thermal long johns - long sleeved shirt and ankle length drawers - as soon as the mercury plunged down past 35 degrees.  But Paul would get upset if he even thought you could see he had them on.  I had to take his word about them as he wasn't going to show them off even though he never stopped talking about them.

One winter night we went out for a beer after work.  It started to rain, hard, and although we were both snug and warm in our long johns, Paul stepped into a puddle and got his feet wet.  We were about a block away from my place so we came back and I offered him a pair of dry socks as well as a towel for his troubles.  I live in a very small place and Paul much appreciated the dry socks but he got nervous and started blushing when he realized he had to change socks in full view of me.  I asked him what the problem was and he sheepishly admitted:  "I got my long johns on and I don't like to raise my pants leg so guys can see them.  I always got teased when the boys realized that, to keep warm, I wore thermal long johns."

As silly as it was, he made me turn around while he changed his socks.  When he gave me the "all clear" signal, I gave him a plastic bag for the discarded socks and asked him if he tucked the cuffs of his long johns into the socks.

"Of course.  Yeah.  Sure did."  He was almost surprised at the question. "Why, what other way could you do it?"  He asked as I handed him another beer.

When I told him, he laughed it off and said, "That would be defeating the purpose.  Why, I wear my long johns to keep me warm.  If I wore 'em with the cuffs pulled over the socks, a breeze could go up my leg and make me cold.

"Besides," he continued, "after a few wearings, the cuffs stretch out a bit and I don't want to wear them up near my knees.  No sir.  I want to be warm from my neck all the way down to my ankles."

We once discussed the good, old union suit.  Now, like me, Paul grew up doting on cowboy movies and even fashioned himself to be a bit of a cowboy.  So, when I asked him if he owned a union suit, he laughed it off.

"Nope," he told me.  "Now, my father and my grandfather both wore union suits all winter long.  From Labor Day to Memorial Day they put on union suits.

"My Dad is a cop and it was basic for him to wear one as he usually got the night shift and often times near the docks. So, when he made me and my brother put on long underwear, we didn't want the 'old fashioned' kind that guys like him and grandpa wore.  We consider thermal tops and bottoms to be modern and not for old guys."

This made sense as kids today wear long johns only if they have the Superman logo on them.

Paul was in the Army in the late fifties/ early sixties.  He was stationed somewhere in Asia and told me that it was "damn cold" - especially at night and with guard duty.

He froze but the Army provided him with a two piece suit of long underwear.  He gratefully put on his army-issued long johns only to discover that they were made out of wool.  After an hour or so, he said he was scratching his chest, arms, legs (from the knees down to his ankles), etc.

Faced with the choice of scratching or freezing, he reluctantly continued to wear the woolen long underwear but wrote to his Dad asking him to send him some cotton knit long johns.

Well sir, his Dad did just that but sent Paul two white union suits. Paul put them on, enjoying the "itch free" comfort of the cotton but said that he got teased and ribbed unmercifully by the other boys in the army bunk.

"Hey, Grandpa!" they would call out to him as they scratched themselves as if they had a flea circus running wild in their drawers.

On another occasion, Paul's friend Don was with us.  Don grew up with Paul and they were more like twins - what one liked, so did the other.  What Don did, Paul did and vice-versa.

Well, we got around to talking about going to the Pocano Mountains for some skiing (or, for me, picture taking). Don was also a weather freak and reminded both of us to "wear your long underwear.  You boys will get frost bite without a pair of long johns."

I asked Don about the "tuck" issue and he surprised Paul when he told me:

"It all depends.  Now, if I know the night before it is going to be cold, I either sleep in my long johns to get 'em warm or have them where I can put 'em on right after my shower.  Then, I put on my socks.  But if I get dressed and then get cold, or the temperatures get really cold unexpectedly, I will just pop off my shoes and pants and put on a pair of thermal long johns.  Then, the cuffs of my long underwear are over my socks."

Don agreed, however, that although a union suit would provide more warmth (it seems that when he ski's, he leans in all directions causing his parka, sweater and thermal undershirt to hike up and exposing his bare back) but they were something his grandfather wore and were too old-fashioned for him.

The last voter was Juan, the super in our building (the one who did NOT give us enough heat and caused a rise in the sales of long johns).  He worked in the cold basement and also out on the street in front of the building.  But, like others, Juan felt union suits were for "Grandpappy".  He was hip and modern and showed me the legs of his white, raschel thermal knit, long johns. His white socks were pulled up over the legs.

When I asked Juan about the choice, he gave me another reason for tucking the cuffs of his long johns into his socks.

"I wear long underwear when I'm working here and on weekends when I camp and hike.  Now, if I didn't tuck the cuffs into my socks, ants and bugs could crawl up the legs of my long johns and I'd go crazy."

Although it sounded like something out of a Three Stooges comedy, I could picture how wild and crazy a dude could get with a bunch of ants congregating and crawling around under his long johns.

Thanks to Joe of New York City for contributing this gem!

Reference My Hockey Player Post of January 3, 2017:

This Hockey Player Prefers
Stuffing the Bottom Cuffs of

His Union Suit Into His Socks

I welcome guest postings. Union Suit Fans send me your stories, articles, and photographs along with your first name and hometown:

Added April 26, 2017:

Paul of Menominee, Michigan emailed me this picture of himself wearing his red Union Suit stuffed into his socks and boots. "I guess you would call me a socks stuffer,"  he stated!

He also stuffs the sleeve cuffs of his button-down long underwear into his gloves as well.

This opinion received from Sam of Northern Lower Michigan:

Now the final word on the subject of to tuck or not to tuck:  after your shower, you don your union suit then pull on your socks, now if the temperature is around 10 degrees and you have to get on the John Deere 3039 with no cab and blowing snow for the next couple of hours, you can pull on another union suit over your socks, this keeps the legs of your first suit in place and seeing that your feet will be placed in insulated 15 inch boots, a second pair of socks is unnecessary.  

Because I don’t care for the only union suits that can be found in the average store I do my shopping on the net and scan for union suits occasionally. One day I google reported that there was a blog called "union suit fan" and I just had to check it out; and about a year later I reported in. 

Sam: With winter winds howling, no doubt this farmer is wearing two Union Suits with socks properly tucked over his inside underwear!  I'm glad you checked my blog, pal. On those coldest days I see that you manage to be both tucked and untucked as to your socks and unions suits. I will have to give that a try next winter on those coldest days!

..stay buttoned up to button out winter blasts and keep in touch, will ya? ...Chris


  1. Loren of Tulsa, OK contacted me to say "I wear my union suit over my socks just like you do, Chris."

  2. Karen sent this note: This morning here in Leadville, Colorado it has been snowing and the temperature was only 15 degrees over night. The whole family wears long underwear nine months out of the year. My husband wears union suits which he tucks into his socks and has done so since we were married 18 years ago. Our teenage son also wears union suits like his daddy but would never ever tuck them into his socks. He said that would look "lame" and "only old men tuck their long johns in their socks!" Our little boy (9 years old), like Joe said in his post, wears superhero long underwear. His favorite thermal long johns is Spiderman. My 59 year old dad wears union suits (maybe its a Leadville thing) but I don't remember if he tucks his underwear into his socks. I will have to ask him.

  3. Rob of St. Joseph, Missouri according to his email is a "die-hard stocking stuffer." He says "stuffing keeps my union suit from riding up my legs.

    I know what you mean, Rob. I sleep in my union suits and that's when I stuff the leg cuffs down into my socks...Chris

  4. Karen followed up her email of April 21st (see above) reporting that her "dad does not stuff his union suit into his socks and neither does my nine year old." So in her family, her husband is a "socks stuffer" and her two boys and dad don't stuff.

    Anyone else care to weigh in on this important topic?

  5. Hello, I am 42 years old and I love wearing long Johns sets or union suit. I wear them from September to April and in summer to sleep. I love the feeling of this fabric on my skin, I find it comfortable and comforting. I always wear them inside my socks. I would like to know other guys who like wearing long underwear like me.

    1. Longjohnsaddict2-I am with you, I wear them from the first sense of cold weather well into the spring. There is a comfort from them and the coverage that is great.

    2. Good for you guys! I wear union suits usually from first of October to first week or two of June here in northern Idaho. I don't like being cold! .. Chris

  6. Hello back atcha Longjohns: good to hear from you, a socks stuffer! I hear from lots of folks who love wearing long underwear like you and me. You can know other fans by the comments and emails included at the end of many of my blog postings. Drop me an email. I try to personally answer each one:

  7. As a recent convert to the comfort of long johns (I am in the UK and only 25),I started by wearing them tucked into my socks, but the bunching drove me mad, so I now wear them over, and find that they also keep my socks up better, although I admit them can show below my pants when sitting. Nobody has wound me up about this except my brother, so I can live with that!

  8. Hey Anonymous: Congratulations on your conversion...and it only took you 25 years! I'm sure you are much warmer now. I have made two trips to your beautiful part of the world. It can be nippy so I wore combinations both times. I must ask is your long johns preference of the two piece variety or one-piece combinations (union suit).

    Also, I am not familiar with the phrase "wound me up." This possibly means to give you trouble or a bad time of having your long johns showing. Drop me an email when you get time.

  9. Since our "Stocking Stuffer" postings last spring, I have heard from a large number of you on this topic. All and all, it seems we are about even as to those who stuff their union suits / long underwear into their socks and those, like anonymous above, who don't. Never thought Stocking Stuffers would receive more emails and comments than any other topic that I have covered in Union Suit Fan ...Chris