Pay Day by JC Penney Work Shirt

One of the coolest things I’ve found lately is an item that almost didn’t catch my eye. The reason that I even checked it is that it’s fairly rare to find denim in the shirt section at the thrift shop.

At first glance, it was nothing special… A denim work shirt/chore coat sort of thing. But the label on the left front pocket caught my eye, as did the word “sanforized”.

(From Wikipedia) Sanforization is a process of treatment used for cotton fabrics mainly and most textiles made from natural or chemical fibres, patented by Sanford Lockwood Cluett (1874–1968) in 1930.[1] It is a method of stretching, shrinking and fixing the woven cloth in both length and width before cutting and producing, to reduce the shrinkage which would otherwise occur after washing.

You don’t see “sanforized” on labels much these days, so this got me thinking 1970s at the latest. When I started researching the label, the clues started pointing to a 1950s vintage for this shirt! Given that it might be 60+ years old, this shirt is in amazing condition. The things you find in thrift shops!

Pay Day by JC Penney. This is a piece of clothing history. It comes from a time when people didn’t change fashions on a whim. It’s pure function. It’s something that many blue collar workers of the day would have worn. It may not be selvedge denim, but it’s still something special. Hopefully I can find it a nice new home soon!

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