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.”
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.
Do I need $99 Dachstein Austrian wool gloves? Visual perfection. Super sturdy. Bombproof. Check! But as my pal says, “steep price for something you are going to lose in a parking lot.” Deep inventory available through the Sweater Chalet.
More on Dachstein from Archival:
Archival Mitts: Dachstein/Ortovox
Shopping from the Present: Alpine Pullovers
From eBay, a great example of a refreshing, non-minimalist clothing design: wool twill riding breeches by Hebden Cord (the now defunct country clothier from Hebden Bridge, York). I love to see clothing that deploys buttons and flaps in lieu of zippers or shaping panels to facilitate fit and max adjustability. I’m wondering about the date of manufacturer for this style/model (are those waistband buttons for suspenders?). My only catalog copy is from 2001 and it features a much more contemporary looking pair of riding trousers made from era-predictable poly blend with zip fly and velcro closures. If you can date these breeks, email me or tweet me over at @archcloth.
More on Hebden Cord from Archival:
Hebden Cord cycling breeks
Shopping from 2001/2002: Hebden Cord
On the less refined end of the SMU spectrum, here are some recent offerings of Alden seconds from TheShoeMart. In case you don’t know about this service, TheShoeMart quietly sells Alden seconds. New inventory notifications used to go out via email but now you can now browse listings online if you sign up for a special ShoeMart account. Even when I’m not in the marketing for Aldens, I love to browse the Alden seconds in search of SMUs you won’t likely find in shops like Unionmade, Context or Leffot. I myself shop the list for hard-to-source Aldens in smaller sizes (like 5.5 and 6) most likely en route to Japan. Here are some recent finds:
Earlier Archival blog posts on Aldens:
Field Trip to The Moulded Shoe in NYC
Alden SMUs from Japan
Alden Surgical Boots
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:
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:
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?
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.