Jax Slacks

by Pat Jacobs

This clothing line was very popular during the mid-1960s (but was around since the '50s), particularly the slacks.

The trademark of Jax slacks was their extreme tightness (because the pants zippered up the back) which emphasized the female butt. You needed to be very slim to carry this off (but that didn't stop some women) and have money (the slacks sold for as much as $60).

Jax fashions were the creation of Jack Hanson, an ex-baseball player for the Los Angeles Angels. With a $500 loan, he set up a shop in Balboa, California. He designed peasant skirts, blouses, and those slacks. Hanson couldn't afford any newspaper or mass media ads, so his salesgirls were recruited to model the pants in the store windows!

The unique promotion caught on, leading to a second shop in Beverly Hills. It was the success of THIS store that put Jax slacks (and the other fashions) on the map and brought fame and fortune to Hanson.

During this height of popularity, a chain was started (seven stores), spreading eastward as far as Manhattan by early '64, with new openings planned for Southampton and a Paris location in '65.

By now worth an estimated $4 million dollars, Hanson enjoyed all the trappings of success with a Beverly Hills home and a Rolls-Royce.

His fashions were highly sought after by the famous (such as Janet Leigh, Natalie Wood (I once saw a memorable clip of her dancing with Bob Hope. This was from one of his TV specials, circa late 1950s-early '60s. What I also remember, besides the jazzy dancing were Wood's slacks.

They had the trademark features and may well have been Jax's!), Joan Collins, and Marilyn Monroe, among many others), the chic and wealthy younger crowd, and those who knew better than to try to wear these clothes.

I couldn't find any information on what happened to the Jax stores or Mr. Hanson himself. But I DID find a current online ad for Jax sportswear (including pants, sweaters, jackets, and more) that was being sold within the Sierra Trading Post website. The clothes LOOK like the legendary line.

Could it be?.......

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