About Long Johns

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Long Johns: Warmth and Comfort in Cold Weather

What are Long Johns?

Long Johns, also known as long underwear or thermal underwear, are a type of undergarment designed to provide warmth and insulation, particularly in cold weather. They are typically worn beneath outer clothing, covering the legs and lower torso, and come in one-piece or two-piece sets. Some other names for this garment include long underwear, long pants, thermal pants, and thermals.

History and Origin of the Name:

The term "Long Johns" is believed to have originated from a 19th-century boxer named John L. Sullivan, who was famous for his long underwear. Sullivan was a heavyweight champion in the late 1800s and was often seen wearing this type of garment during fights. His affinity for these long, comfortable undergarments contributed to their popularization, eventually leading to the name "Long Johns" in honor of him.

History of Long Johns:

Early Origins:

Woolen Long Johns:

19th Century:

World Wars:

Modern Variations:

Characteristics and Usage:




Outdoor Activities:

Long Johns have come a long way from being a functional garment to a versatile piece of clothing that combines warmth, comfort, and style, making them a valuable addition to anyone's winter wardrobe.

The styling of long johns has evolved over the years to adapt to changing fashion trends, technological advancements in fabric and manufacturing, and the desire for more versatile and stylish options. While the fundamental purpose of providing warmth and insulation remains the same, modern long johns often feature updated designs and silhouettes to meet contemporary fashion preferences and functionality.

Here's an overview of how the styling has evolved:

Traditional Styles:

In the past, long johns had a fairly standard and functional design, focusing primarily on insulation and coverage. They were often one-piece, full-length garments made of natural fibers like wool or cotton.

Two-Piece Sets:

Modern long johns are commonly available as two-piece sets, consisting of a long-sleeved top and full-length pants. This design allows for more versatility, as individuals can mix and match tops and bottoms based on their needs and preferences.

Fabric Innovation:

With advancements in textile technology, long johns are now made from a variety of fabrics including wool, cotton, polyester, and blends. These fabrics are engineered to provide enhanced insulation, moisture-wicking properties, and improved comfort.

Fit and Silhouette:

The fit of long johns has become more tailored and body-contoured to provide a sleeker silhouette. This modern fit allows for easier layering under clothing without adding bulk.

Fashion-Forward Designs:

Long johns have taken on more stylish designs, with variations like ribbed patterns, different weaves, and even printed options. Some designs resemble leggings or fitted joggers, appealing to those seeking both warmth and style.

Fashionable Colors and Patterns:

While traditional long johns were typically available in neutral colors, modern versions come in a wide array of colors and patterns. This allows for personal expression and coordination with other clothing items.

Usage Beyond Underwear:

Long johns have transcended their original purpose and are now sometimes worn as standalone leggings or yoga pants due to their comfortable fit and versatility.

Overall, while the core purpose of long johns remains unchanged, their styling has certainly evolved to meet the demands of contemporary fashion, providing options that blend functionality, comfort, and aesthetics.

You may want to also visit our union suits and thermals page.