Archival Clothing - Made in USA

Shawl Collar Cartography

July 11, 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 2, 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 28, 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 20, 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 12, 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 5, 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 27, 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

Made in Minnesota sleeping quilts by Enlightened Equipment

May 6, 2017

Pal Ruth is heading out on an epic three bicycle tour (launching in Pueblo, Colorado, and motoring west to San Francisco). Lastely, she’s been loading up on cool, made in USA gear. Since she will be pedaling over mountains on a fully loaded touring rig, she’s looking for gear that is lighweight, functional, and built to last.

During our ride today, Ruth showed off her latest find: a new ultralight sleeping quilt by Enlightened Equipment. Designed and made in Winona, Minnesota, the sleeping quilt combines the down fill warmth of a sleeping bag with the flexibility and ventilating properties of a quilt blanket. You can order a shelf ready product or wait a bit longer and customize your creation, selecting down count, color and weather stripping.

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Pal Ruth (adventurejunky on IG) and her new, balsa-weight sleeping quilt (and optional accessory sleeping cap).

 

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Revelation lighweight down quilt – cinch edges down in the cold, unsnap in balmier temps

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Love this Rain Wrap – lightweight alternative to bulky rain paints for camp or hiking

If you prefer something more traditional, check out these marine canvas bedrolls by Butler Bags.

Rakuten roundup: recent finds for #ruggedladies

April 30, 2017

Even when I am in austerity mode, I love to browse Rakuten to see what is on offer for Japanese shoppers. A decade later, I remain fascinated by all the licensed euro brands that show up in small Japanese web shops (Kempel, Danton, Yarmo, Sierra Designs, Brady, to name a few). I cannot think of another place in the world where brands and styles are imported, reimagined, and than sold exclusively to a domestic audience. Fortunately, Rakuten has developed a worldwide shipping service that has opened many webshops to international customers. I tend to browse the new shops for brands and than sift the used clothing sites for bargains. I am always looking for updates on staple items or cues as to how stylish Japanese customers are sporting their garb. Here are so recent finds.

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FWK Engineered Garments lab coat paired with rolled trousers and Parabook loafers. As someone who locked in my high water pant height years ago, I love the Japanese commitment to the extreme ankle exposure and socklessness.

 

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I love Japanese appetite for special white and off white color treatments. You won’t find these Brady bags or Barbour jackets in the US or UK.

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Several fave web shops have reached stasis in they model catalog clothing. The approach applies to men and women and goes something like: knit cap, long chore or lab coat, baggy trousers, socklessness and sneakers, clogs or loafers.

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Interesting twist on the UK Lavenham equestrian jacket. I like the idea that a summer jacket would be designed with a quilt lining. The pockets on the jacket are pitch perfect.

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I’ve seen a number of web shops market kids clothing to women. For me, this proves  that a customer base exists for heritage clothing resized to fit women (without compromising design details or creating separate colorways). I only wish more US apparel companies would adopt this approach (or at least expand the size offerings of the kids lines to include XL and XXL).

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Danton is my new FWK Engineered Garments. I love the round collar, windproof jacket. I already own a few copies and anxiously await a new release in a melton wool or cotton twill.