Archival Clothing - Made in USA

Posts Tagged ‘denim’

Dungaree Love

June 28th, 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.

 

Archival recommends: Gamine brand denim for women

May 27th, 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

Shopping from Japan – Kapital Jacket

September 16th, 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: patchwork denim jacket

May 22nd, 2016

Digital image of original artifact.

Browsing the Minnesota Historical Society flickr stream, I found this fantastic denim chore coat from the 1960s. Metadata from the site identifies the jacket as belonging to Selmer Sauglow, a Norwegian farmer. While I’m a little denim jaded these days, I love the patchwork of this chore jacket which was created by Anna Sauglow, Selmer’s sister.

Featured on the Minnesota Historical Society’s Collections Up Close blog on September 17, 2015

Archival x Rogue Territory Roll Top

August 13th, 2015

IMG_6814 Rogue Rolltop Styled 2

We are thrilled to announce a limited edition collaboration between Archival and our favorite denim brand, Rogue Territory. The Archival x RGT Roll Top is made from 16.75 oz Japanese slub selvedge denim which is 100% pure indigo dyed giving it a unique, deep indigo color. To increase durability and prevent indigo transfer onto clothing, we added an extra layer of our signature 24 oz waxed twill on the back and bottom of the bag. Additional features include mil spec cotton web straps, two exterior pockets and one interior pocket cut on selvedge and Horween leather accents throughout. A co-branded veg-tanned leather patch rounds out the design. Customers should be careful to keep the bag away from light colored surfaces and be warned that indigo will transfer to sneakers, boots, belts, etc.
This is a super limited production so order now via the Archival Web Shop to secure your Archival x RGT Roll Top.
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Archival Uniform – November Edition

November 19th, 2012

Per Archival Resolution #9, here is the November edition of my Archival uniform. While our resolutions recommend that you come up with a signature uniform that you wear once a week, mine has seen active use on multiple days.  

Archival striped tee women and Centralia multiweave cardigan.  Here, per usual, I follow my own rule of wearing at least two layers on top.  In another month, I might add a kerchief or a fine gauge wool scarf as a neck garnish. 

Engineered Garments Upland Vest.   Inspired by the Japanese, I love to finish my uniform with a vintage Upland style hunting vest (the pocketing doubles as a purse).  Since I’m so small, it’s hard to source an authentic hunting vest that fits properly so I opt for updated versions – sized for women and petite gents – by Rising Sun, Post O’Alls or Engineered Garments.

Red Cloud & Co. Denim.  Howard Gee, the denim guru at Ab Fits, introduced me to Red Cloud premium denim made in mainland China.  The Red Cloud cut is close to a pair LVC Levis 1947, my go to denim on alternative outfit days.

Alden Cape Cod Beefroll Penny Loafer.  Not much visual variation here.  I wear Alden Cape Cod loafers – in black and brown – nearly everyday of the year.  My statement on loafers.

If you have a signature uniform, please post your notes to our Archival Facebook page or send me a note at lesli@archivalclothing.com.  I’d love to repost more visual examples (other than mine) on the AC blog. 

Review: Dickies x Palmer Trading 1953 Jean

July 27th, 2012

Dickies 1922 has been, yet again, very generous to us. This time our care package contained a pair of denim designed in collaboration with New York’s Palmer Trading Co.

I’m loving these jeans since they use a stout 13.5 ounce Cone denim and don’t bother with using selvage, which – let’s be frank – is largely decorative. When’s the last time your jeans gave out by unraveling at the side seam?

Great contrast stitching but nothing unnecessary or fancy. Rivet reinforcements where they’re needed. Laser-sharp sewing throughout.

The fit is said to be spot-on 1953. I do love the relatively high waist, though I wouldn’t say no to a bit more room in the thigh for my biker legs. Compare to these gents from a 1950 Ward’s catalog, who seem like they’re rocking a slightly straighter cut.

I gave these a wash and air-dry, and they didn’t shrink more than half an inch in the waist. Excellent – I definitely think that Sanforizing denim is a good thing. Washability is part of practicality in my book!
My only complaint is the intense vanity sizing – my waist measures 34″, but I had to get a pair of size 30s. I know that’s par for the course for many denim brands, so it’s less a complaint regarding these jeans than with (cough) a well-entrenched status quo. But I keep hoping that someone will take a stand and make their pants true to size! Seems odd to use a rational system irrationally. In the meantime, call Palmer, check measurements, and snag a pair soon – limited quantities!

Archival Field Trip – Portland

February 27th, 2012

Snap views from last month’s field trip up to PDX.

Coffee at The Fresh Pot

Pina in 3D – Cinema 21




Print ephemera at the S. Glass household

Jarom at Reveille (great source for Rising Sun & Mister Freedom)


Engineered Garments and Tellason denim at Blake

Made in USA daypack at Levi’s store

Jordan testing fit on my Post O’Alls vestlittle t american baker

Shopping from the 1930s: Montgomery Ward

September 30th, 2011

Exemplary outerwear

I’ve been on an ebay shopping spree for Montgomery Ward catalogs (the Archival bible). I’ve secured a few new Fall editions from the 1940s which I’ll be reprinting here–in bits–in the next few months. Copies of the 1930s catalogs are more tricky to source. Inspired by Spokesniffer and Reference Library, I’m capturing auction images as placeholders for items I did not buy. Here are a few frame grabs from vintage catalogs from the 1930s that were beyond my “buy it now” pricepoint. If I could make it so, these would all Archival offerings for Fall 2011. Smitty “Whata Sweater” would be announced as our new Archival mascot.

Smitty Sweater

Heavy weight shawl collar sweaters and cardigans

All wool blazers


Denim jackets, overalls and trousers

Canvas duck field jackets

All wool shaker sweaters

Heritage workwear for women

Pendleton blankets

Shopping from 1958: Montgomery Ward Denim

January 9th, 2011


I’m ambiguous about premium denim. I love brands like Rising Sun, Mister Freedom and Sugar Cane that manufacture jeans using historical patterns, vintage sewing equipment and top quality raw denim. I’m also attracted to denim’s labor intensive care requirements (akin to our own waxed fabrics). But truth be told, I hesitate to pay more than $200.00 for jeans. That’s a price point I reserve for Barbour jackets, Scandinavian knitwear and cold forged bicycle parts.

To save money, I’m shopping from the Montgomery Ward catalog from 1958. I’m looking for Sanforized, vat dyed jeans w/generous, functional pocketing. My preference is for a five pocket model with a high rise and wide, tubular legs. Although Wards offers denim for adults, I’m shopping the “sub-teen” department where clothing is made with extra sturdy materials to better accommodate “rough and tumble outdoor play”.

My favorite pair of denim is on the far right. Check out the front swing pockets and extra large rear pockets. I eagerly await the demise of slim fit denim. Here, that style is reserved for “slim, rangy boys”. Waiting for the day when companies bring back the tubular legs and full seat of Wards traditional “husky” fit (“cut extra full in waist, seat, thighs for top comfort”).

Cutting edge in 1958: plaid cotton flannel lined and water repellent denim. At $2.49, makes for an affordable alternative to the leading competing brand.

At Archival, we design products that will wear until they dissolve. We follow in the tradition of companies like Wards who offer a free pair of jeans if the double knees outwear the pants themselves.


Ladies, I’m sorry to report that there’s not much denim on offer at Wards in 1958. Wool skirts and plaid corduroy pants were the preferred fashions of the day. However, I can recommend a pair of cropped “play pants” in a nice, 9 oz vat dyed denim, “bartacked at points of strain.”