Blueprint for future use
From the Montgomery Ward 1949-1950 catalog
Aside from a few collections and reports to the contrary, the heritage clothing revival has yet to make its way to the female consumer.
Sometimes I think I’m the only woman admiring all the beautiful, Americana inspired sportswear, footwear and accessories featured on blogs like A Continuous Lean and h(y)r collective, etc.
Last Spring 2008, Filson launched their collection for women (a nice effort save for the “peach poplin” blend fabrics and a few unfortunate cut and color choices). Barbour, Carhartt, Beretta and John Partridge all now market outdoor (albeit, activity specific) clothing to women. But beyond this short list (plus a few others, of course), most US and UK heritage brands assume an all male audience for their product lines. Red Wing, a company known for offering shoes and boots in a wide range of sizes, starts sizing for their “Lifestyle Heritage Range” range at 7. Although Red Wing sells smaller sizes to the Japanese market, there are no plans to bring them to the US. Why is the heritage line not being sized to fit a broader market of women and gents with smaller feet? I put the same question to Filson since they have been deflecting requests for footwear for women since the men’s line was introduced in the 1990s.
Even cycling brands like Rapha
and Showers Pass
, all known for non-mainstream designs, reserve their new vintage/”old school” outerwear collections for men only. For examples, see Rapha’s tweed softshell
or the Showerspass Portland jacket
which are all sized to edit out (all but the most robust) women. On the Swobo website, the pulldown menu for men lists organic cotton, wool and waxed cotton jackets
(beyond the staple cycling clothing offerings). The women’s menu offers a few bland selection of jersyes and cotton shorts–but no waxed cotton or wool outerwear. No demand?
All I’m asking for is modern access to the teenage sportswear department of 1949 Montgomery Ward cataog. Those three pages (shown above) contain everything I need, if ordered in multiples, to get me through to my first retirement check: pinwale corduroy and gabardine shirts, glen plaid slacks, denim dungaries, new wool turtleneck pullovers, a nice pea coat and/or a donegal wool “abbreviated storm jacket.” Loafers and jophur boot appear to be the default style of footwear.
You’ll note that the Montgomery Ward catalog items do not default to the easy “feminizing” of overt/excessive pleating, hourglass paneling and terrible color selections of some heritage products resized/restyled for women.
Given how trends shake out, reverberation style, I anticipate nods to the heritage movement in the mainstream Gap and JCREW collections for women in the next year. Any speculation on how they might play out on a literal level? What I’m anticipating is the trace appearance of heritage styling, for example, in the form of models wearing alpine climbing boots with red laces, etc.
Before we get the heritage knock-offs and next generation homages for women, I’d love to see the reissue of a few more first generation originals.
Ginger Rogers and friends in 1937 (from Ginger Roger: My Story)