Archival Clothing - Made in USA

#Farmcore

October 23, 2016

Searching for generic images for a u/x personas project, I happened upon the Exactitudes project featuring typologies, the dress codes, of people wearing similar garb. My fave series, of course, features a social group identified as “farmcore.” I’m not sure what  constitutes farmcore aside from sporting a stylish Barbour jacket (preferably from the original, made in UK line). Even though everyone in the series is wearing a Barbour (in a uniform pose), what stands out for me is the uniqueness, the original wear and tear of each jacket in the series. Here are a few of my fave poses:

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Shopping from the past – Hebden Cord Touring Shorts

October 4, 2016

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Occasionally, an eBay watchlist returns a pleasant ping like these original Hebden Cord Touring Shorts. Alas, they are sized too large for me but I still want to document for my archives. In a few years, all memories of elegant, tailored, non-technical cycling garb will most likely disappear from our collective memory. Here is a little evidence to the contrary:

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For the record – Farmerette uniforms of WWI

September 28, 2016

Browsing the Library of Congress Flickr photostream, I stumbled upon these amazing images of female Farmerettes, first participants in the Women’s Land Army of America. Further research revealed that from 1917-1919 these women supported the war effort by filling the agricultural labor gap at home. According to this fascinating article in the Smithsonian: “Most of these women had never before worked on a farm, but they were soon plowing fields, driving tractors, planting and harvesting. The Land Army’s ‘farmerettes’ were paid wages equal to male farm laborers and were protected by an eight-hour workday. For many, the farmerettes were shocking at first–wearing pants!–but farmers began to rely upon the women workers.” While I’m very familiar with the iconic, coveralls and kerchief look of Rosie the Riveter, I have never seen the WWI era uniforms issued to the “Land Lassies.” What strikes me in the first photo is how close the Farmerrete’s coveralls resemble something released by FWK Engineered Garments or Nigel Cabourn.

I’ll be digging deeper to secure more visual evidence of these women and the specific of their uniforms.

Questions: who manufactured the uniforms, what were the specific uniform requirements, were the uniforms region specific, and do any sample garments remain?

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Shopping from Japan – Kapital Jacket

September 16, 2016

I started stalking Japanese web shops in 2006 and the experience never gets old. Even cursory check ins with fave web shops turn up exciting new finds. While heritage as a codified style may be petering out in the US, Japan keeps churning out unique variations on workwear staples like the button front chore coat. Case and point is this jacket from Kapital available via Takanna (a web shop that ships to the US). The jacket is made from 12 ounce denim from Okayama. What I love about it is the shape and distribution of front and rear pocketing. I’m a big fan of hunting jackets with their rear facing game pockets. This may be the first time I’ve seen this feature incorporated into a more casual, denim jacket. While Kapital sizing goes down to a Japanese 2, I’m leaving this item as a catch and release given that there is no scaled down version for women.

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Shopping from the past – Rufstuff garb for women from Abercrombie and Fitch

September 9, 2016

 

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Even as folks declare the death of heritage as a codified style gents (think: workwear, historic brand revivals, heavy denim, plaid  shirting, work boots, tin cloth cruisers, etc.), I still remember its beginnings. I remain fascinated by this mode of dress especially as it exists (or does not) for women. In a recent Reddit thread on the closure of Archival, the highest vote betting comment was from a gent who wrote: “Bong bong bong, death tolls for the heritage trend.” I find the heritage dirge ironic given that I started my own blog in 2006 because no heritage garb existed for women (hence, my mantra of shopping from the past to find what I could not find in the present day).

In a future post, I’d love to document what amounts to brief but tepid history of heritage offerings for women from some of our favorite heritage labels from 2008-2016: Barbour, Filson, Wolverine, Private White V.C., Woolwich, Nigel Cabourn, Pendleton, etc. Nothing lasted and nothing seemed to stick. Princess panels, compromised fabrics, shifting fit profiles, overpriced offerings and competing messages (style over function) seemed to be the order of the day.  It’s 2016 and I’m not sure we’re much further along in terms of core, capsule offerings in the areas of footwear, jackets, knitwear and base layers. Bright spots include shirting (thanks to Tradlands and Taylor Stitch), denim (always available), moccasin style footwear (Rancourt and Quoddy) and some fashion facing outerwear (think FWK Engineered Garments, Japan only Nigel Cabourn, and infrequent and inconsistent offerings by Filson).

Suddenly, heritage is dead but – for many of us – it barely launched.  Taking a cue from the past, I’m hoping for a future time when  “Rufstuff”  re/emerges as a defining trend for women (and gents) characterized by clothing that is “as smart in line as it is practical . . . . [d]esigned to meet the demand for camp and country and stand the roughest usage at an extraordinarily reasonable price.” Possible? Evidence from the past:

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Cycling Musettes – An Appreciation

August 10, 2016

Did you catch Chris Froome sporting a logo free musette during the Olympic road race in Rio? I always love catching glimpses of this little retro style bag in a sea of state of the art garb and bike technology. While modern cycling musettes are made of cheap synthetics (designed to be discarded), my favorite vintage versions were made out of cotton (with a matching strap). Unusual examples include a snap fastener or flap closure but most of the ones you find on eBay are simply unstructured sacks with straps. I tend to shop by logo or color blocking. Here are a few examples that I gathered during a recent shopping expedition:

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Matchbook Cyclists

July 25, 2016

I tried to watch the 2016 Tour de France but lost interest after the first week. I miss the panache and personal style of cyclists from my childhood (now, I barely can distinguish one game piece competitor from the next).  I much prefer the era of leather hairnets, wool jerseys, lace up cycling shoes, campy parts, and steel frames with chrome accents. In lieu of a $29 streaming media packaging, I’m going to browse through these vintage European matchstick covers from my favorite print ephemera archivist, Pillpat. Head over to her vintage matchbox and matchboxes set on flickr to pick your own team.

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Archival Finds – July Edition

July 17, 2016

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Long ago, Hunting World used to sell canvas caps and hats manufactured by a traditional French hunting clothing company. I haven’t seen one on the market for many years so it was nice to find an Explora in very fine cotton gabardine show up on eBay last week.  I nabbed it for mid-summer  kayaking or hiking trips. The chin strap on this one is missing  so I’m going to have to wildcraft a replacement.

 

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More French stuff. Orcival, my go to brand for sturdy nautical tops, offered this interesting variation in linen. I found this example on one of the many Rakuten sites for overseas shoppers now listing vintage and used clothing.

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I was thrilled to see that Private White V.C. is now offering a version of their Goodwood Racing Worksuit for women. I’m not wild about the body shaping princess panels that always seem to  show up on heritage items offered for women (see Filson, Barbour and Belstaff). However, I love the idea of wearing this ensemble as a less dressy alternative to the summer linen suit.

 

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Brady is now making of use of cork for their main line of fishing and game bags. Not sure how well cork would hold up to wintery bike commutes in Oregon but I’d love to give it a try. I wish we had made up a special Archival Musette model in this material.

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I’m happy to see so many vintage Gokey handsewns popping up on eBay. My fave model at the moment.  I love Quoddy and Rancourt but I have a soft spot for original Saint Paul made Gokey camp mocs, lace ups and ankle boots. If you are a sizing outlier like myself (men’s 6d), you can pick up some pretty unique models on the used market, preferably a pair with  gro-cord soles:

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Shopping from the Past – French Work Jackets

July 3, 2016

Inspired by Bill Cunningham, I have been collecting images french work jackets (aka “bleu de travail”). Cunningham made this style of garment his personal uniform and I was inspired to wear one for the next month in memory of his amazing life and creative work. Most of the current, commercial offerings (Le Laborer, Old Town, Vetra, and Arpenteur are too large for me) so I was hoping to shop from the past for something with a better fit. On eBay, I found a terrific vintage version by Le Remouleur w/really exemplary patchwork repairs and artful spotting. The listing indicates that the jacket is from the 1930s which seems to be the golden era of french workwear (lots of corduroy and moleskin). I don’t know too much about the label (anyone?) but would love to find out more. Here is a similar example sported by one of my  favorite Archival customers at Inspiration LA.

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Archival Outdoor Life

July 1, 2016

Summer is passing but it is not too late to bring your campsite and camp wear up to the standards of the Outdoor Life Cyclopedia (1943). Friend Dave Baker brought this amazing sporstman’s guide to our attention. It offers practical advice on everything from training gun dogs to field dressing elk. My favorite sections address how to prepare a campsite (ample use of moss, sticks, wool and canvas) and how to dress for the woods (avoid wearing threadbare business suits). Skim through the wordy instructional prose and go straight to the illustrations: