My latest column for the Visual Thesaurus, “Duds We Love, Duds We Don’t,” starts with a question: How is clothing similar to bombs that don’t detonate? The answer: They’re both called duds. And not by accident.
Access to the full column is restricted to subscribers (just $19.95 a year!). Here’s an excerpt:
Short words are handy for brand naming, too, so it’s no surprise that “duds” is a popular combining term for casual-clothing labels. Cuddl Duds, a manufacturer of thermal underwear and pajamas, has been in business since 1978; regardless of how you feel about the truncation of “cuddle,” you’ll have to grant that the “ud” repetition makes the name fun to say.
Cuddl Duds package.
A scan of the U.S. trademark database also turns up live trademarks for Dorm Duds (pajamas), Chef Duds (restaurant apparel), Dazzle Dudz (iron-on patches), O Duds (organic-fiber clothing), Storm Duds (umbrellas and ponchos given as promotional items), Lil’ Duds (children’s apparel; variously spelled abbreviations for “little” are common among brand names), Doggiduds (yes, clothing for dogs), and many other Duds. There are a number of Duds ’n Suds coin laundries nationwide; the ones in Reno, Nevada, have on-site slot machines and beer, giving the business name a double meaning.
And then there’s Milk Duds, the candy brand that’s been around since 1926. You’ll have to read the rest of the column to learn its story.
Blog bonus: I keep it strictly G-rated for the Visual Thesaurus, but I can’t resist sharing some slightly risqué “duds” marks in the US trademark database:
Milkdudz nursing bras and apparel. (Tagline: “Not Your Mommaz Nursing Wear.”) Trademark application filed and abandoned in 2007, possibly because of that little Milk Duds problem.
MILF Duds clothing. Also filed and abandoned in 2007. Nice try, guys.
Dildudz filed for trademark protection in May 2013 and is still awaiting registration. A description from the website: “a line of novelty outfits that you can use to play ‘dress up’ with your favorite dildo or vibrator.”