Archival Clothing - Made in USA

Posts Tagged ‘archival lament’

Shopping from the Past: Barbour Solway Jacket

December 3rd, 2011
Barbour Solway on cover of 1967/68 catalog (via Thornproof)

I stopped receiving Barbour print catalogs several years ago. Browsing the online web shop, I have a hard time tracking the ever shifting Barbour lines (Beacon, Sporting, Gold Label, Heritage, Lifestyle, Ladies, etc). Favorite styles are disappearing behind new Barbours with printed linings, updated silhouettes and Steve McQueen plotlines. Many of the Barbours made from the original, “thornproof” 8 oz waxed cotton have been discontinued. Missing from the Barbour line for several years is one of my all time favorites, the Solway Zipper Jacket.

In its day, the Solway was one of Barbour’s flagship models. Here’s a nice illustrated summary of the Solway’s principal features which include three outside patch pockets, inside game pocket, wind cuffs and a buckle belt.

The Solway zip was designed as both a shooting and “fowling” jacket. It was quickly adopted for for general country wear.


Per the 1964/65 catalog patter, the Solway is well suited for use in cold, damp conditions: “The quest for the ideal coat is over, invincibly waterproof, able to stand up to endless hours of rain and not let one drop through.” Of all the Barbours, the Solway appears to have inspired the most testimonials. My favorite is the story of the gent whose Solway protected him from an enraged Zebra.

The buckle belt adds a dash of style
In 1961, the Solway zipper jacket had spinoff models including the Solway Smock

Here are a few historic examples of Solway Zipper jackets captured from ebay:





There seems to be a disturbing trend towards having the belt and belt loops removed on Solway jackets. Recent ebay auctions list this as a garment feature. Since this is a signature feature of the Solway, I strongly advise against this practice.


Loopless, beltless Solway Zipper Jackets

ST, in Solway, tramping through the W. 18th wetlands

I missed this special close out sale on Solway jackets via Sierra Trading Post. Ignominious end to a coat that once graced a catalog cover.

Shopping from the present: Old Town Clothing

June 23rd, 2011

by Jim Green


Editor’s note: it’s never too early to start planning your Fall wardrobe. I’m already mentally packing up the linens and breaking the corduroy. London blogger Jim Green of Modern Day Hunting writes about his obsession with British workwear company, Old Town Clothing. If you’re inspired by Jim’s report to order something from OTC, start the process now as it takes 4-6 weeks to complete.

After recently hearing me waxing lyrical about my favourite clothes maker – Old Town, Archival Clothing have kindly asked me to give a customer review of some of their items. Living in London UK it is of course easier for me to travel up to their Norfolk showroom to get items fitted and made for me. So hopefully this might help you make a decision on giving them a try if you are not UK based.

I first heard about Old Town in 2009 via some random person on the street asking me if the French workwear jacket I had on was from Old Town, it wasn’t, but later that night I decided to google them to find out more. After finding them it felt like it was my lucky day, a place where I could buy all the clothes I had imagined I would like but simply had no idea where to source them from.

I spent many hours perusing the site but simply couldn’t decide what to get – my main concern was sizing. They make their clothes to order so not quite like buying from a shop normally although they do cater for returns. So after much deliberation I plumped for a safe bet and ordered a straight edge waistcoat (vest to you US folks) in engineer’s navy stout cotton twill. Size wise I was unsure, I am usually a 38 so stuck to that. All of Old Town‘s items are made to order, you choose the size and fabric, pay either via the phone or the online ordering form. For overseas you will need to email first to discuss shipping etc. Their turnaround time for garment delivery is approximately 4-6 weeks. For me half the charm of buying from them is the wait.

Straight edge waistcoat in navy stout cotton twill (via OTC)

Four weeks later the waistcoat arrived, it fitted great, the waistcoats are slightly fitted so if you want a looser fit go up a size maybe. I was now officially hooked. I managed to plan in a trip up to the showroom a few months later with a rough idea of what I was after, upon arrival and seeing all the clothes on display I immediately got flummoxed…too many nice things. Their items are all pretty much spot on size-wise. I have quite a few pieces from them now and have been ordering a few times a year for spring and winter bits. Instead of giving an extensive list here’s a few items that are worth considering and I will try to give enough info for if you wanted to order from overseas without trying on first.

Old Town Clothing Overall jacket (via OTC)

Jim’s Overall jacket

Overall Jacket – This is a sure fire winner and possibly my favourite garment from them. The fit is fairly boxy but not in a big baggy way, it looks good. I would safely say you can feel confident that your own normal jacket size is going to fit, but please discuss it with the ever helpful Marie either via phone or email if you have concerns. They don’t do different sleeve lengths unless you go to the showroom specifically and get measured, mine measures 24.5 inches from the top of the shoulder to the cuff, I didn’t have the sleeves adjusted that’s how they came. However bear in mind my jacket has been washed once, I have had it for a few years now so take my arm measurement as a very rough indication of size. I would say you could safely order your normal jacket size with no sleeve adjustment and the fit would be good, this one is in grey stout twill. For the other jackets in their range the same rule applies but do bear in mind that some are more fitted than others. I own two Stanley jackets in 38 also, they are a slimmer fit but still fit me well.

Jim’s Dreadnoughts collection

Dreadnoughts – These are great trousers, the first pair I got was in the tan corduroy, I liked them so much that I ordered a pair in biscuit twill about a month later. I just recently got some summer lightweight 10oz denim ones as well. Waist size wise they are spot on. they all come as a standard 32 inch leg. If you are worried about leg length then get them as they are and have them tailored yourself so that the fit is right, I wear turn ups on the cotton ones so it’s not a problem. They are super comfy and sit fairly high up on the waist. All the Old Town stuff improves with age, these are no exception. They also have a rather novel fastening which I now prefer to the normal button fly. Shape wise they are quite loose down the leg but fitted around the waist. I also own some high rise, all their trousers are exact on their waist sizes so order with confidence.
Dreadnoughts in Irish Linen (via OTC)

If you can ever fit in a visit to the UK and to Old Town I recommend it highly, just ensure you know exactly what you want before you get there or else you will come out with twice as many items as you intended! Do factor in some extra time to wander around the town of Holt and also the surrounding area and coastline, it’s a lovely place.

Archival Lament: Cooperstown Ball Cap Co.

March 18th, 2010

Cooperstown Ball Cap Co. print catalog covers (1994, 1999)

Sometimes I get so fixated on the past that I forget to mail order from the present. A quick web check on one of my favorite contemporary brands, Cooperstown Ball Cap Co., produced this depressing news:

Regrettably, after twenty-three years of making fine historic replica ball caps, Cooperstown Ball Cap Company has discontinued operations. Commercial, financial and legal difficulties; and the complexity of sewing one-of-a-kind caps in the U.S, make this decision inevitable. We thank all our customers for whom, over the years, we have been pleased to make a true vintage ball cap.

For reference, Cooperstown Ball Cap Co. manufactured custom caps for historical teams and individuals. One could order a cap in any historical style or in any combination of styles, logos or colors. The illustrated Cooperstown catalogs featured examples of nearly every known historical baseball team including company teams, military teams and even a hat from the Eastern Washington Hospital for the Mentally Insane. All caps were handmade from 13 oz. athletic flannel, horsehide leather bands and highest grade peak stiffeners. Whenever possible, caps were sewn on original machines in Cooperstown, NY.

Historical styles that influenced the modern baseball cap

For reference, I’m reprinting a few pages from two of my 1990s era catalogs. At some point, the company moved to an online ordering format. But I always loved the colorful illustrations, hand scripted captions, arcane keycode system and personal notations of these early catalogs.

Until the 1940s, caps lacked stiffening crowns. Most of the cap styles in the Cooperstown catalog were designed to be worn close to the head (a look I prefer to the current trend towards fully stiffened, high crown caps).
Choose your Brooklyn style cap: standard, pinstripe, peak band, cap band, 3 color braid or soutache?

Small sampling of minor league caps
Shopping from A League of Their Own
Each year, Cooperstown reissued newly discovered styles from lesser known or non-professional teams. These were special edition options from 1994.

 

A few special edition and “fictional” team caps including one for the New York Knights

 

International models (I always wanted a Yomoyuri Giants cap)
Regretting that I never mailed out my order for one of the cricket caps (see 1999 cover)

 

New discoveries for 1999
Caps could be ordered in any combination of colors or historical styles
Custom sizing options (I always requested a shallow crown w/a short cut)
Fine print

Branch Rickey, St. Louis AL [1913]

Wishful Filson

December 17th, 2009

by Lesli Larson

I’ve been wishful holiday shopping for discontinued Filson plaids. In Japan, you can purchase a classic Mackinaw cruiser, vest or matching hat in blue x black buffalo plaid, a fabric that was discontinued by Filson years ago. When I emailed Filson to ask about a custom order in the blue x black plaid, I was told that the fabric would not be available for domestic orders (though lap blankets and tote bags can still be found at Portland Filson).

As a consolation, I’ve been browsing the pages of a Filson catalog I reprinted here last summer (when I was more fixated on poplins and cruiser vests). The catalog taunts me with lost opportunities to own Filson garments that were the best of their kind–the forestry cloth hiking trousers and matching cruiser coat, for example. My latest nostalgic longing is for the red and black plaid cape coat (now only available in predictable greens and greys). I expect that many of the garments pictured below might be resurfacing in Japanese web shops in next year.

Blue x Black Mackinaw Coat

Red x Black Mackinaw Pants

Red x Black Cape Jacket

Original Hunting Vest

I’m including photos of the the original Filson cotton duck hunting vest, a favorite Filson design. The vest has a wonderfully arcane pocketing system and fits (me) like an A-frame tent. It was discontinued a few years ago but brought back by custom request. However, my understanding is that sales remain slow. So, please consider supporting the archival garment cause by purchasing one in 2010.

Japan Plaid

Archival Lament: Woolrich Relaunch

December 30th, 2008
Woolrich illustration courtesy Cavidanny

Japanese Woolrich offerings

Growing up, Woolrich was always the default brand if you couldn’t afford Filson or wanted something lightweight for hiking or lakeside recreation.

As a brand, Woolrich pretty much disappeared from view (for me) in the 1990s. Every once in awhile, I’d see a ratty shadow plaid cruiser jacket at a thrift or encounter the troubling, Woolrich for women sportswear line (think, tanks and tees, in shades of lavender) at the local mall.

Now, it sounds like the Woolrich brand has been relaunched, reborn.

Regular Woolrich

Relicensed Woolrich

For me, these brand relaunches become a cruel, trickle down story. I’ll swoon over the pitch perfect re-do (vintage patterns, top workmanship, perfect styling, beautiful fabrics), but know that I’ll never be able to find, wear or afford a final sample.

The relaunched line will only make it to Brooklyn boutiques or overseas web shops (with a few token samples flown out to Seattle). What might, by haphazard shipping, show up in a contextually appropriate retail space (an outdoor or farming supply store, for example), would be sized for big gents or priced beyond the (reasonable) value of the garment (cosmic brand imbalance: webshop Woolrich costing more than stateside Filson).

I’d love to see newly licensed heritage brands, like Woolrich, come back as a mass market staples (with bonus sizing for the women and petite gents, since I’m dreaming). I see no reason why everyday folks wouldn’t enjoy sporting stylish workwear with a “vintage touch, Italian influence, designed by a Japanese designer” (High Snobiety, 26 July 2008).

Per normal, emails to the Woolrich USA have produced little information regarding the future availability of these licensed items, in Oregon, or petite sizing for women or reed-thin gents.

Examples of relaunched Woolrich courtesy of Sfilate

"Settle for what you get": Tuffy Sponges

May 24th, 2006


Sing Fraulein Schneider’s lament from Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret the next time you’re walking down the grocery aisle:

For the sun will rise
And the moon will set
And you learn how to settle
For what you get.
It will all go on if we’re here or not
So who cares? So what?
So who cares? So what?

Since she brought home a replacement “Tuffy” sink sponge, Sara has been complaining about its low quality especially when compared to the one it replaced (now living under the sink in service as a floor scrubber). Sara has declared the Tuffy yet another consumer product whose quality has gone south (despite the amazing fact that it is still made in the U.S.A).

Of course, the Tuffy brings to mind a whole category of modern consumer goods which trigger an apocalyptic mindset of “so what…settle for what you get”. To the “so what” category, we add Rubbermaid dish drainers, Pyrex measuring cups, General Electric toasters, SUS teakettles, Levi 501s (they’re cutting back on rivets), Pendleton shirts, Bass Weejuns, Girl Scout cookies, Hamilton watches, Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap, and on (add to the list as you like). Like the sponge, everything seems to be shoddier, smaller, flimsier, less vibrant, and housed in skimpier, less graphically arresting packaging (already ready for immediate disposal). Not sure how to resolve my woe here save for documenting the “who cares” and consoling myself with my own stockpile of durable wares.