T oday there are many choices for the type of clothing one wears. Even the underwear varies from Victoria Secrets to Fruit of the Loom.
Not so 25 years ago. For men there were only two choices - "La Gitana" or "El Dorado." Now these might really sound like classical brand names. but actually they were brand names of wheat flour. Flour came in 100 pound bags. These bags were of thick 100% cotton with a picture and words. Now mothers used to buy these empty bags for ten cents a piece and wash them and bleach them until all the wordings were removed. Then what? Then they proceeded to sew shirts for the children and the father. Underwear, like boxers. were also sewn for the males in the family. And the more they were washed, the softer and whiter they became. Very often though one could read "La Gitana" (the Gypsy) on the back or chest of a man's shirt or on the butt side of the underwear. So as you can now guess, people did not compete for brand names but rather who had the whiter set of shirts or underwear.
Ladies too had their underwear sewn locally. Very often when one took the cloth to her seamstress one would ask them to sew an underwear with the extra piece of fabric or leftovers. Now do you know what is "tafeta?" (English - Taffetta) Taffeta is a very stiff, very shiny almost brittle-like material. Occasionally girls made dresses out of"tafeta" and, you guessed it right, there was the request for an underwear to be sewn too. "Estas loca, mujer? (Are you crazy, woman?) was the remark of the seamstress when asked to do so. But there were one or two cases that insisted on "taffeta underwear" because it had to match.
Speaking about taffeta reminds me of the crinoline. This was a stiff cloth used on the collar of shirts to make them stay up. It was also used as an undergarment, like a dress under a dress to hold out the top dress. It spread out at least five feet out. Bridal dresses used a crinoline underneath; some brides looked like swollen turkeys - but pretty because that was the "looks" of the day.
Talking about brand names, do you know the brand names that existed 25 years ago? Like what were the best watches, soap, toothpaste, shoes, bicycles, paints, milk, soft drinks, etc.? We'll talk about that another time.