Archival Clothing - Made in USA

Archive for September, 2010

Archival Review: Shooting Waistcoats

September 25th, 2010

Try UK/European country clothing brands for top quality wool and tweed garments this fall. Companies like Hoggs of Fife, Barbour, Musto, Le Chameau, Chrysalis, Hucklecote, Purdey and Beretta produce practical, beautiful country clothing from best quality materials (mostly in their traditional country of origin).

In the fall, the waistcoat functions as a transitional wardrobe item, moving the user from bare armed summer to multisleeved winter. The vest allows freedom of movement while providing some protection from the elements. In contrast to the standard nylon puffy version, we love the tailored look of wool and waxed vests. Since they are designed for rugged use in the field, we know that they will last for ages. Archival Clothing endorses garments with well placed, well thought out pocketing. The pockets found on the shooting waistcoat, engineered to carry heavy shells, are my absolute favorites.

Here are a few of my favorite waistcoats, some within my pricepoint (Hoggs of Fife) and others exhibited as purely aspirational eye candy (Purdey). Most of the brands shown here offer waistcoats (and country clothing) for both men and women.

Barbour Westmoreland waistcoat (Archival Clothing favorite)

Austerity option:Hoggs of Fife waxed waistcoast

Musto Technical Tweed Waistcoat

Musto Luxury Tweed Waistcoat for women

Le Chameau Balmoral tweed shooting waistcoat

Beretta St. James vest

Nothing heavier in the pockets than a smartphone and small change

Shopping from 2004

Archival Knitwear: Saint James Matelot

September 20th, 2010
Saint James Matelot in rare Gray/Charcoal combination

Part of the pleasure of the Archival Clothing enterprise is to source and sell hard to find items. In the distant past, I used to spend weeks tracking down a bag or jacket or bike part before ordering it from an obscure or overseas vendor (most often by phone, not online). For example, in the early 90s, I would order French Saint James knitwear sweaters directly from Upland Trading Company in New York. I was always looking for non-stock styles or color combinations that were pictured in the print catalogs but not available in the U.S.

Saint James Matelot (navy stripes on ivory field)

I’ve always worn the Saint James Pont, a fine stitch nautical sweater that has a terrific, slim fit and great, seasonal color variations. It fits me better than the Binic, a looser fitting sweater designed for gents. One of our Saint James reps, Sarah K., introduced me to the Matelot, a style I had originally overlooked since most U.S. stockists (including JCrew) only sell the Binic. Now I prefer the Matelot for the robust quality of the wool, the uber slim fit and the full body striping. Originally designed for the French navy, the Matelot is a seaman’s sweater with a looped round collar and a dense body with fine one-by-one rib knit. It has a wonderful long snug fit. There is a button placket on left shoulder. The original Matelot is designed to fit snugly to keep out the wind and damp during maritime voyages.

Button placket on left shoulder

The pure wool used for the Matelot is among the best quality we’ve seen on a contemporary sweater. It’s thick enough to be a substantial layer without being too warm to wear all day. The Matelot has also become one of Tom’s favorite garments. Since the sweater is unisex, women can wear it as well as gents. We carry the sweater down to a size XS (refer to sizing charts in our shop) but we can special order XXS for slimmer men and petite women. I just ordered a XXS Matelot for myself in Medoc, a stunning tomato paste red.

In addition to standard Saint James colorways for this sweater (navy white, white/navy), Archival Clothing was able to secure a limited production run of Matelot sweaters in light gray with dark charcoal stripes, a color no longer available. Check our web shop for size and color availability. We also carry other Saint James items including the Pont sweaters, wool caps and cotton and wool scarves.

Arrow, Caitlin and Mac (sporting non-archival footwear)

Sheet music for your sweater (via Pillpat)

Please email info@archivalclothing.com if you do not see the size/color combination of Saint James item you wish to order. We can also help with sizing information.

Shopping from The Field and Forest Handy Book

September 13th, 2010

by Tom Bonamici

I’ve started to get settled here in Brooklyn. Classes are going well, I’ve gotten a job in one of Pratt’s wood shops, and my room, though small, is snug. Of course, I’m still shopping, and as the weather cools I’ve been flipping through one of my favorite books to shop for Autumnal activities.


Both written and illustrated by the formidably awesome Daniel Beard, the Field and Forest Handy Book is essentially a sequel to the American Boy’s Handy Book. I’ve been looking at/reading the latter since I was a very small child, but the former came to me during college, a Christmas gift from a friend who knows me well. So if you’re wondering what to do during your spare moments this fall, please consider these suggestions.

Build a Boat:


Learn how to Pack A Dog:


If staying in swampy territory, consider an Elevated Camp:

Build a simple Straddle-Bug Bridge:

Learn to sew a pair of Moccasins:

(This is a good pattern for beginners) It’s never too early to start work on this winter’s Snow-Shoes:

Archival Update: A.C. Ruckack in Olive Twill

September 11th, 2010
Archival Clothing Rucksack in 22 oz waxed olive twill

We now offer our Archival Clothing Rucksack in a nice, deep shade of olive. The waxed filter twill fabric used for all of our rucksacks is woven, dyed and finished by Fairfield Textiles in Bridgeton, New Jersey. In case you missed the original product announcement, here is a summary of the rucksack’s features. Gray, tan and olive rucksacks are now in stock. Black rucksacks will be available at the end of September.


Archival Clothing Rucksack in 22 oz waxed olive twill

If you wish to inspect our rucksacks in person, visit one of the following stockists:

Winn Perry (Portland, Oregon)

Best Made Company (New York)

Benson Outiftters (U.K.)

On Y Va (Switzerland)

Social Outcast (Japan)


You may also order directly from the Archival Clothing web shop.

Camp Moc Review

September 7th, 2010

Unlined, oiled leather camp mocs are my favorite shoes for summer. I wear several pairs in rotation from June to August. Where one would normally sport tennis shoes (for cycling, dog walking or skateboarding), I wear mocs. As the catalog patter goes: “these shoes have the snappy appearance of a moccasin with the support of a shoe.” Once the weather chills, I revert back to loafers since I have a personal ethos against wearing camp mocs with socks. I wanted to document my collection before I clean and archive them for the winter.


The L.L. Bean original (actual camp dust in evidence)

Quoddy update (customized w/red brick soles a la all plaidout)

MacRostie Leathers Moccasins (recently restored by the maker)

Letter from Elaine and Bud

Catch and release: Russell Camp Mocs

Shopping from the past: J.L. Coombs

If you must wear socks with your camp mocs

The Middy

September 5th, 2010

by Tom Bonamici



“For out of door sports like tennis, golf, etc., loose fitting garments which will give free play to all the parts of the body are very necessary. The middy with unconfined waist line makes a very appropriate garment for this purpose. The middy is especially popular at the summer resort, but it is hardly suitable for wear in a business office.”

School Sewing Based On Home Problems, Robinson, 1916


I never gave too much thought to the middy, but I just picked up a perfectly fitting US Navy-issue middy in a thrift store. It’s a solid dark navy, without any trim – I think it’ll be wearable. Anything made out of a dense, mid-weight wool has my attention, so I can handle the big flappy collar. It’s a great garment for ladies and gents alike.





Thanks to Lizzie Adams Bramlett for the historical Middy pattern images. For a full essay on the history of the Middy, please visit FuzzyLizzie.