Longjohns – the origins
It’s not easy to find information on the beginnings longjohns; in fact we have to go back to the V century to find any item resembling this garment. The Persians used to wear an article of clothing known as anaxyrides, a kind of stocking breeches mix which was worn under a tunic. This kind of garment was in fashion for many centuries, it was used in alternate phases as outwear and underwear. Towards the end of the VIII century we can still find traces of the use of this garment; it has become tighter and often with the addition of a strap under the foot as act as a form of footwear. In the middle ages and later eras, men continued to use this item, they enhanced it’s basic design with padding and bright colours.
In the XVII century, the long underwear or longjohns as they became known as, began to have an actual shape; their use as a form of tights worn as outerwear; very popular in the middle ages, was abandoned in favour a use more connected to that of underwear. Even considering this change, longjohns were not a great success. We have to wait until the end of the XVIII century, for their popularity to become more widespread. In this period, they were used almost always as a garment for nightwear and were made in cotton or wool.
Around the 1800’s they became popular in the United States; this was mainly due to the reform movement in clothing, which spread from the UK during the Victorian age; this movement proposed the use of more comfortable and practical garments. Often the longjohns were attached to a vest with long sleeves, which in America they called “Union Suits”
The use of longjohns spread to Europe at the beginning of the 1900’s; the labourers wore them to keep out the cold and then to sleep in. They were also used by the military, in fact the soldiers used them as a form of protection under their uniform. In the two world wars in the 1900’s this garment was in great demand for the troops in various armies.
The role of Longjohns in the cinema
This garment was often used in the cimema, especially in historic or western films. The leading actor can frequently be seen wearing the classic longjohns. In italy they appeared in many films, starring Bud Spencer and Terence Hill; the most famous “spaghetti western ” being “Lo chiamavano Trinità”. A very young Harrison Ford can been seen wearing longjohns together with Gene Wilder in the American western comedy “The Frisco Kid“. The longjohns are without any doubt an iconic western garment.
(Harrison Ford and Gene Wilder)
The longjohns nowadays
In present times, this garment is used mainly for sporting activities, especially skiing, hunting and fishing or by motorcycle riders. Their shape hasn’t changed so much, but the fabric in which they are made has been developed in different ways. This fact, gives the possibility to meet all the requirements; using different fibers and fabric weights, we can produce longjohns in various weights and with different levels of warmth and comfort.
Since 1977, when our company was founded, we have been producing this classic garment a necessity in men’s underwear. Obviously, following our company policy we use the highest quality natural fibers available, our production is made in many different types of natural material ranging from pure Merino wool, incorporating wool and silk, the elegant pure silk and finishing with the luxurious mix of cashmere and silk
For those who have allergy problems, but wish to keep the warmth provided by wool, we have the perfect solution in our wool and cotton special fabric. This is a double layer material; it has the soft cotton layer against the skin meanwhile the wool layer is on the outside to protect from the cold. In this way, we can avoid all the problems which wool can create when it comes in contact with the skin. Our models have been researched and are designed to give maximum comfort; the seams are flat and there is an elastic band at the ankles, even the elastic waistband is adjustable by 3 buttons to ensure a perfect fit.