Let’s go RETRO! Stripes or Solids?

Let’s go RETRO! Stripes or Solids?

By Pati Egan

Unit shirts have a history all their own!  It seems that until the mid-1980s Camp shirts came in many varieties, shapes, and colors.  Camp would make a deal with a company called Velva Sheen to buy their seconds or overstock shirts.  It appears that Velva Sheen is no longer in existence, but its vintage shirts can be found on many sites (not camp shirts but some cool old shirts).

One very popular shirt came out around 1972.  Stripes!  The stripes usually had no relationship to the unit colors.  The logo had the spirit animal.

The striped shirts are most likely Goupil and Brébeuf.  The shirt behind it may be any unit!  The solid gold shirt may be Lalemant.  The traditional maroon shirt is Amantacha.  It’s older than the other shirts.

Let’s go RETRO! Stripes or Solids?  Camp Ondessonk Unit Shirts

As you can tell from these pictures, the color scheme didn’t seem really important, but the shirts actually fit the campers – usually! 

Let’s hear it for the retro solids!  The boys have Chabanel-colored shirts but the logo is Lalemant.  Chabanel might have had stripes.

Let’s go RETRO! Stripes or Solids?  Camp Ondessonk Unit Shirts Chabanel

These girls have stripes but I am pretty sure this picture is of Ahatsistari campers.  Ahatsistari’s color was brown.

Let’s go RETRO! Stripes or Solids?  Camp Ondessonk Unit Shirts Ahatsistari

This unit of Teondecorum campers also have stripes.  This style of shirt seemed to be replaced in the mid-1970s.

Let’s go RETRO! Stripes or Solids?  Camp Ondessonk Unit Shirts Teondecorum

Throughout the years Camp has had some hits and misses with shirts.  Enjoy these samples of hits and misses.

Almost a hit!  The kids loved this style of shirt but it seemed to come in one size only – tight!  The fabric was stretchy, sure, it was the 1980s and shirts were worn a little tight


Okay, they had a collar, but white?  They also had a bad habit of being as long as they were wide.  Thank goodness we didn’t buy a lot of them – I may be wrong but I only recall them being used one or two summers.

BIG MISS – these shirts were used for a long time but they were HOT!  They were like a heavy cotton.  They also seemed to only come in one size – LARGE!  The girls appear to have the Chabanel logo on the shirt.  The CITs had white shirts with red trim like these shirts, and the kitchen crew used them for years for Sunday Smorgasbord.

Notice that the girls have them half tucked in to their shorts and then the hem pulled down.  Notice where the three buttons end – these were BIG!

This is a good sample of stripes, solids, and very traditional.  The white and the grey Daniel shirts are from the very early 1960s.  The solid three-button Daniel shirt is from the late 1960s.  The striped Daniel shirt is from the early 1970s.

This is a contrast of retro most popular and least popular.  The solid gold shirt appears to have a skunk as its spirit animal. The other spirit animals are pretty indistinguishable. There is no record of a unit having a skunk as it’s spirit animal.

Personally, my favorite shirts are what are used now.  The shirts are high quality and kids actually get shirts that fit. 

What are your hits and misses shirts?  Please post a picture on Facebook!  If you’re old-school staff and still have a picture – we’d love to see it.

These 1960s guys from Goupil will close us out!

Click Here to learn more about Camp Ondessonk’s history.


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