The latest vintage men’s fashion ad, on a postcard sent to me by Max Vasilatos:

To which I’ve added the snarky sexual caption:

The four of them were
Deeply into
Polyester sex.

Previous postings with snarkily captioned vintage fashion ads were on AZBlogX because of their sexual content (and lack of linguistic interest): four here and three more here. They’re also entertaining because of their (in retrospect) regrettable clothes and remarkable hairstyles.

But this one has some linguistic interest: the trade name Crimplene, with a surprising origin. No, it has nothing to do with the verb or noun crimp:

Crimplene (polyester) is a thick yarn used to make a fabric of the same name. The resulting cloth is heavy, wrinkle-resistant and retains its shape well. Britain’s defunct ICI Fibres Laboratory developed the fibre in the early 1950s and named it after the Crimple Valley in which the company was situated. Crimplene was used in garments that required a permanently pressed look, such as skirts and trousers.

The fabric enjoyed popularity upon introduction in the 1950s in response to its convenient ‘wash-and-wear’ properties. Crimplene was often used to make the typical A-line dress of 1960s Fashion. Likewise, it was popular amongst men in British Mod Culture for use in garish button-down shirts. [See illustrations above, and note the Crimplene neckwear as well.]

In the early 1970s, Crimplene began to fall out of fashion. Other, lighter-weight polyester fabrics like Trevira replaced Crimplene for their ease of movement and ventilation. Crimplene is seldom used today as fashion-preferences have drifted towards more natural cottons.

Crimplene suits were regarded in some countries as “working-men’s going-out clothes”. (link)

On the Crimple Valley:

Crimple Valley is an area south of Harrogate (North Yorkshire) surrounding the River Crimple (also known as Crimple Beck). It gave its name to the synthetic yarn Crimplene, which was developed at the nearby ICI Laboratory. (link)

Though Crimplene has gone out of style, there’s a group of fans, almost all women as far as I can tell, who call themselves Crimplene Queens; website here.


3 Responses to “Crimplene”

  1. Gary Says:

    Since you’ve been into ads in a big way recently, I think you’ll appreciate this one if you haven’t already seen it:

  2. Colored bottoms | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] A comment on my Crimplene posting: […]

  3. Whatever happened to … – doug — off the record Says:

    […] reveals results with both spellings. If you want a picture and a commentary, check out this blog post. That will take you […]

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