Take a step back to the ‘Mad Men’ era of American advertising.
It’s a time when a Pottsville classic, the Van Heusen shirt, adopted some aggressive and, some would say, offensive marketing campaigns.
You see this most in some really bawdy and at times, sexist ads, by today’s standards.
Vintage Van Heusen Ads
There was a time when the collar on men’s shirts weren’t attached. Clothing was far more complicated than it is today. Despite how complicated it was, there’s no doubt people of a nearly forgotten time dressed far snappier than people today.
Imagine quality Made in the USA shirts from a company like Van Heusen for $2!
Now, that one isn’t so bad. Tame by comparison to the stuff later in this post.
Here’s another from the same era that’s sure to make some feminists roll their eyes.
Then Van Heusen entered the 1950s and turned to some celebrity endorsement. And at the time, was there someone better than Ronald Reagan to be pitching your shirts?
Maybe The Gipper isn’t for you. Surely, Jimmy Stewart can sell you a Van Heusen shirt.
If not those two, definitely the original king of comedy, Mr. Bob Hope.
Those were funny but then the 1960s happened and things clearly started changing. Van Heusen went in a different direction.
Look at the size of the collars on this lad. Pay no attention to the fact that he’s eating half a pineapple and no explanation on how he got the coconut to open that way. It kinda looks like the guy from Curious George got a different kind of curious here.
But look at this fella in his Van Heusen Comfort Contour collar. Who knew a collared shirt could make the ladies coo the way they are in this ad. It’s just a shirt, ladies.
Even away from the office, the ladies can’t keep their hands off a man in a Van Heusen shirt. They even resorted to violence. And violence wasn’t enough. Why not wear some questionable native costumes while we have the man in the Van Heusen tied up? Seriously, ladies. It’s not THAT nice of a shirt.
Oh no! Maybe violence was the answer then. This guy got himself hooked while wearing one of his Van Heusen holiday shirts.
Wait … at what holiday would a guy wear this shirt?
Wait a minute here … we’re talking the 1950s. It’s a MAN’s world, right?
That’s more like it. But in a man’s world, men can’t go around dressed like dorks getting carried around by scantily-clad women all the time. They need to get to work. And what goes better with a Van Heusen shirt than a …
… tie. A tie. Nothing goes better with a Van Heusen shirt than a Van Heusen tie, like in this ad for them.
Van Heusen, Vintage Pottsville
You’ve probably seen Van Heusen brand clothing your entire life, no matter how old you are. Today, the company is one brand part of a larger fashion conglomerate. It goes by the name PVH Corp. That’s short for Phillips-Van Heusen and it owns other clothing brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and Geoffrey Beene.
But did you know Van Heusen shirts were first sold on the streets of early Pottsville?
It was 1881 in Pottsville and Moses Phillips and his son, Isaac, began selling shirts they peddled on hand carts around the blooming city. The shirts were tailored at their Pottsville home by Moses’ wife, Endel, and their female children.
Eventually, the business grew and they moved to New York City. That’s where the Phillips met John Van Heusen. The company’s been innovating men’s and women’s fashions for decades since and remains the top-selling men’s dress clothing brand.