As far back as I can remember, plastic slip covers have been used on furniture to protect it from everyday wear and tear, as well as, to make a statement about the homeowner’s financial status. Homeowners that used plastic slip covers were often made of two groups: elderly homeowners who grew up during the depression era, and the superfly homeowners who grew up in the ostentatious 70s.
When homeowners from the depression era bought furniture, it was understood that that furniture would last a lifetime. As written in the article; Life For The Average Family During The Great Depression by Lindsey Konkel, “Four years after 1929 stock market crash, during the bleakest point of the Great Depression, about a quarter of the U.S. workforce was unemployed. Those that were lucky enough to have steady employment often saw their wages cut or their hours reduced to part-time. The average American family lived by the Depression-era motto: “Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without.” Many tried to keep up appearances and carry on with life as close to normal as possible while they adapted to new economic circumstances. Households embraced a new level of frugality in daily life. They kept kitchen gardens, patched worn-out clothes and passed on trips to the movies as they privately struggled to retain ownership of a home or automobile.”
The superfly homeowners from the 70s loved pretending! The oil crisis and inflation crisis both had many homeowners pinched and without a pot to piss in (to be penniless, to have no money or resources). However pinched, some homeowners still found ways to purchase durable goods. The belief was if you had enough money to purchase new furniture you were doing well. And then if you had money to have that new furniture covered in plastic, you were doing very well!
In this era of Covid-19, plastic slip covers on furniture make good sense.