Archival Clothing - Made in USA

Archive for 2017

Duckbills in Review

September 15th, 2017

Click over to Heddels to read my latest Ward Order Blank column: Duckbill Dynasty – the Cap We Want Back. Here are some of the photos of caps I collected during the research phase of writing this piece.

Original Archival designer, Tom Bonamici, models a Filson shelter cloth duckbill.

One of my faves: Filson short billed cap in tin cloth. The leather sweatband and fitted style sadly disappeared in the last generation of these caps.

Handsome cap shape looks terrific from above.

Not a duckbill, but I dug a little into the history of caps used in the film, Empire of the Sun.

WW2 issue summer flying cap. I love the numerical markings on the brim (a tradition worth bringing back?).

David Mamet movies are peppered with duckbill caps. Gene Hackman sporting a Quaker Marine cap in Heist (2001).

Military issues morphed into hunting headgear in the 1950s and 1960s.

 

Cavalcade of stars – Filson duckbill lineup in the cap style’s salad days. Merino, poplin, and waxed cotton versions all on offer. Ah, to go back in time and buy them all up.

Field Coat Nostalgia

July 28th, 2017

In the late ’80s and ’90s, field coats ruled the casual heritage market (before heritage had a name). Affordable, stylish, canvas duck options (heavily pocketed and trimmed in fine wale corduroy) could be found through LL Bean, JCrew, and a slew of lesser known,  hunting supply catalogs (including Cabela’s, which was much less the sprayfoam mall behoumeth it is today). I was always partial to the wool lined Bean model (which merited the “vintage” tag if you inherited one of the earlier, short cut, solid melton wool lined models from you pop).  I ended up with a socialized ’90s edition if the Bean Field Coat which had clearly given up the ghost of pocketing any rusty barn nails or a bloody ducks. Friends in grad school came to the style through the rebadged and semi ubiquitous “barn coats” sold through Jcrew (in mustards and tomato reds). We’re so deep into a denim decade right now that it’s hard to imagine an era when canvas duck ruled as the casual jacket fabric du jour. Could we see its corduroy trimmed return in 2020?

 

Jcrew edition

Special Hunting World model. Wondering who made it?

Shawl Collar Cartography

July 11th, 2017

The Library of Congress flickr stream yields some of the best historic examples of shawl collar cardigans. During a periodic review, I surfaced these 1918 scans of baseball player Mike Donlin sporting a very heavy gauge cardigan with an unusual throat latch detail.  I’m not a baseball fan, but I can’t get enough of these Bain News Service photos of players and coaches from this very stylish era. The players dress like spectactors (in sweaters, blazers, leather shoes, and collared shirts) and the spectators are dressed for the symphony. I’d love to know more about about the knitwear makers who produced these athletic sweaters and the story behind that throat latch feature  (something that I never see on modern examples).

Matchbook Peleton

July 2nd, 2017

I tried watching the 2016 Tour de France but lost interest after the first week. I miss the panache and personal style of cyclists from the past. Now, I can barely distinguish one game piece from the next (logos, lego shaped helmets and mirrored shades drown out the personalities of the individual riders. I much prefer the era of leather hairnets, wool jerseys, lace up cycling shoes, Campagnolo parts, and steel bike frames with pinstripe detailing around the lugs or chrome forks and seat stays. In lieu of a $29 streaming media packaging, I’m now browsing through vintage European matchstick covers from my favorite print ephemera archivist, Pillpat. Head over to her vintage matchbox and matchboxes set on flickr to pick the riders for your own personal peloton.

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Dungaree Love

June 28th, 2017

Browsing through photos of female war workers from WW2, I can’t help but lament the loss of the classic, wide legged, high waisted dungaree.

While there are limitless repro and throwback heritage offerings for men (Mister Freedom  and Sugar Cane always deliver) it is nearly impossible to find contemporary trousers for women in this style. Dickies 1922, Carhartt, Levi’s and Filson have produced, on again, off again, trousers for women (with light nods to historic design details). Gamine, a new brand on the block, sells a lovey cinchback trouser, that nearly looks like something you would find in a WPA photograph. However, it is rare to see a major denim brand offering a model that dares to be as audacious in voluminous dimensions, and as high waisted, as those original, government issue trousers. Revisiting a favorite flickr set from from the Library of Congress, 1930-40s in color, to remind myself of what dungarees look like in native environs, as a default (and perfunctory) uniform.

 

In a bag rut? Buy a Brady Nevis!

June 20th, 2017

Scouting Rakuten, I spotted this curious looking Brady Nevis backpack (which reminds me a bit of something a character from 400 Blows would carry). My house is filled with Rubbermaid bins of bags (Archival, Brady, Filson, Hunting World, Bertram Mann, Zo, Domke, etc.). I don’t need a single new bag – and yet – I am always open to curious mashups of stock bag styles (Rucksack meets a messenger bag, the movie!).  Brady bags are never cheap and there are quite a few classic models that I’m hoping to aquire (the Gelderburn and MacLaren to name a few). However, I’m tempted to save up and nab a Nevis before they disappear from the market. This model appears to be one of those frustrating, Japan only iterations: available via a few web shops and than slated to taunt you as “product unavailable” when you launch your Google search – a few years too late.

 

Trot Moc – the back to nature shoe

June 12th, 2017

It’s great to see heritage footwear brands like Thorogood motoring forward with new models and vintage reissues.

Fun fact: Weinbrenner/Thorogood  made boots for CC Filson in the 1990s. And when Archival started, we met with Thorogood to discuss a possible collaboration. That project never materialized, but here’s a variation on an oxford I wish we had released:

Andrea Cesari, sewing savant and pattern historian, unearthed info on another US footwear company lost to time: Trot Moc. Trot Mocs were made by the Ashby Crawford Company of Marlborough, Mass, whose ads pitch the shoes to men, women, and children in the pages of mainstream publications like Saturday Evening PostOutside and Ladies Home Journal in the 1910s. Like all our fave heritage footwear examples, Trot Mocs were handsewn, goodyear welted, and made from “tough and long wearing” tanned leather.

Since visuals of Trot Mocs are limited to a few scarce catalogs and scratchy, microfilmed magazine reprints, here is a verbal description of Trot Mocs: “The toe is plain, without cap or stiffening, and since the shoe is made on Blucher lines, a perfect adjustment can be made by lacing. The soles and heels are fitted with steel grippers which are rivetted through so they cannot hurt the foot. The shoe is unlined.”

In the absence of Nike and New Balance, Ashby Crawford marketed Trot Mocs as everyday wear, perfect for sport, play, and vacation (in ads, the shoe is billed as the “national play shoe” and the “back to nature shoe”).

But here’s what I love most about Trot Mocs: each pair came with a cast metal stick pin:

 

 

Camping in the old style

June 5th, 2017

Bored by #vanlife? Want an outdoor adventure that doesn’t require Instagram documentation? Love the period costume parade of L’Eroica but don’t own a bicycle? Go to your local bookstore and buy a copy of David Wescott’s book, Camping in the Old Style. Wescott will teach you the basic skills needed for setting up a camp in the “old style” (minus the aid of modern tech, synthetic fabrics, fancy fuels, cellphone connectivity, and global positioning). You will learn how to pitch a tent, build a campfire, organize a camp kitchen, preserve foods, and handle an ax (among other tools). For period specific outfits, and general sartorial tips for camp. I recommend browsing either one or both of these vintage photo albums:  Camping Album (1937) and Sawtooth Mountain Pack Trip  (1947).

Archival recommends: Gamine brand denim for women

May 27th, 2017

Denim for women is tricky. After many years, I have narrowed my own brand make/model preferences down to Levi’s LVC 501 (1947), Rogue Territory Stanton, and Sugar Cane 1947. I prefer old school, mile wide leg openings, high rises, and huge cuffs. I’m a not-so-curvy, shortish woman, so I can get away with modifying men’s models to fit my body. That being said, many friends ask me what jeans I like and what to buy. Rather than sending them on an impossible journey of denim discovery (minimum five year timeline), I’m trying to short circuit the search process and drum up some readymade recommendations.

Criteria: denim that is well made, durable, washable, stylish, and includes historical design features. Pricepoint is a separate issue. Most friends are willing to pay under $200 for what they identify as premium denim. Women who are looking for workwear for use outdoors may wish to pay less (given that the pennies-per-wear model stategy doesn’t really work when you are replacing your jeans every six months or so).

My current denim workwear recommendation is Gamine. Gamine started out producing denim for gardeners.  They have expanded their audience to “geologists, farmers, and weekend warriors.”

I recommend the flagship Slim Slouch Dungaree.

The model is custom made and comes in three fits: Straight, Demi, Bold.

Pricepoint: $150.00

The pants are a throwback classic Carhartt and Filson workpants. Lots of patch pocketing. Double fabric at the knees. White Oak denim. All material elements made in the USA.

If you prefer khakis, Gamine is collaborating with legend Dickies (and legendary company archivist, Ann Richardson) on a new model (coming in June): the Sweetwater Trouser