Archival Clothing - Made in USA

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.

From the archives: Finick’s overalls and coveralls

April 30, 2017

I don’t mindlessly say that the past is better when thinking about garb, print catalogs, and catalog copy. I keep a folder of evidence on my desktop and periodically pick out my fave examples. I used to save catalogs and scan them myself. Now, I just grab snaps from the pinterest/flickr/tumblr stew. Here are a few adds for Finck’s “Detroit-Special” overalls. You can read about the company on the Detroit Historical Society site. I haven’t found visual evidence, but according to the DHS, ‘[c]hanges to the factory work force during World War II necessitated marketing to women, and the company introduced the word “modest” in their advertisements – along with an endorsement from an unnamed Miss America.” If you have ever seen a Finck’s ad for women, let me know.

The visuals below speak for themselves but I will add that  I love the confident use of white space space, the clinical anatomization of the product (showing its features and selling them at the same time), and the absolutely charming tag line: “wear’s like a pig’s nose.”

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Aspirational Anatomica

December 17, 2016

I first encountered Japanese brand Anatomica via a Paris shop that carried canvas deck shoes (Sperry repros) and modified last Aldens. Recently, I started following the Anatomica Instagram feed which provides a better optic on their Tokyo store offerings (from brogues to berets). I’m primary smitten by their spare, unisex, sanded down military styles (lots of olives, beiges, flight jackets, khakis, anoraks) modeled by both men and women. Engineered Garments for an older, upscale audience. The Anatomica IG feed provides daily surprises like the sudden appearance of a broom motif or creative color blocking. At the moment, I’m wishing I could purchase the recently featured, padded pullover puffer which I’m declaring the official garment of 2017. Look for yourself.

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