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Riches to rags in the Depression

Publicity material for Bonds Charm Hosiery
Publicity material for Bonds Charm Hosiery 1932, Niven, Ken (1910–2004), Gordon H. Burt Ltd (1933–1980), Wellington. Te Papa

This advertisement was released in New Zealand in the depths of the Great Depression. Yet only a small group could still afford luxuries like stockings – the rest had to recycle their clothes, including their underwear.

Tights, socks, bras, undies … nothing was beyond repair. Since underclothes were unseen, they could be mended repeatedly without attracting attention. Even so, few people kept these reminders of shame after the economy improved. 

© Copyright Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, New Zealand.