Archival Clothing - Made in USA

Posts Tagged ‘dickies’

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!

Shopping from the present: Dickies 1922 Shirting

August 9th, 2011
Workshirt excellence

You might have seen our review of the Dickies 1922 trousers, and we’re happy to have gotten a few of the Dickies 1922 shirts to review. Like the trousers, these shirts are beautifully detailed and made from excellent fabrics. The fit is more approachable than the original trousers, too – high armholes and a regular body make for a comfortable shirt that’s not too baggy.

The coming-soon painter’s white shirt is much lighter than the heavy Cramerton twill used in the original shirts and trousers – a nice option for summer months.
The Cramerton twill shirts are currently available in a rigid finish (left), but will soon be offered in a rinsed finish, too (right).

Suggested trouser pairing.

Meticulous detailing and impeccable construction.

Now I’m still hoping to review the upcoming Dickies 1922 Slim Straight trouser – hopefully it’ll be the answer to my prayers for a simple, bombproof, slim-fitting pair of chinos made in the USA. Fingers crossed! Until then, I’ll be wearing these rugged shirts through the cool Oregon summer.

Manufacturing from the Past – Dickies 1922 Preview

May 2nd, 2011

I got the chance to preview the Dickies 1922 Fall 2011 line this week. We reviewed the first edition of Dickies 1922 trousers very favorably, saying that our only hitch was the historically accurate fit – a boon to some, but undesirably wide to others. Well, Dickies has answered our prayers in their Fall 2011 1922 Heritage collection. They’ve introduced a Regular fit and a Slim Straight fit trouser while keeping the beautiful Cramerton twill, impeccable construction, and domestic manufacture. I continue to be very impressed with this line.

They’re broadening the line with more shirting, including a knock-out Japanese striped Chambray, and a couple of handsome jackets – all still made in their Uvalde, TX factory.
I had the chance to talk with a designer at Dickies about the development of the 1922 collection. Sounds like most of the patterning was supervised by a certain Mr. Gennaro, who came out of retirement to help out with nailing the historic details.

It was fascinating to look through historic images in the showroom. Please send contributions to fund my pilgrimage to the Dickies archive and factory in Texas.

I’m hoping to do a more thorough in-person review of the new pants and shirts; please stay tuned. If we’re pleased with the new models, would anyone want us to carry a selection in our web store?
Finally, please consider buying a pair of limited edition Detroit 874 Work pants – they’re only $50, made in the USA, and for each pair bought, another will be sent to the Salvation Army of Detroit.

Shopping from the Present – Dickies 1922 Collection

November 5th, 2010

I had wanted to get my hands on a pair of Dickies’ new made-in-the-USA 1922 Collection trousers since I first saw them over at ACL. Eventually the folks at Dickies were kind enough to send a few pairs along for Lesli and me to review. [UPDATE: NEW 1922 SITE]

Firstly, I’m really impressed by the quality of construction. Note the inconspicuous bar-tacking at stress points and the neatly split waistband. All stitches are straight, and the patterning is beautifully done.

Good construction is worthless if the materials aren’t stunning, but thankfully, it’s knock-out. The 8.2 ounce Cramerton Cloth used in the collection is woven in the US to military spec. It’s thick and supple, and seems to take abuse without noticing – it should break in beautifully. I’m also very fond of the heavy-duty sailcloth used in the pockets, since I’ve had the pockets of otherwise durable trousers give out, usually when I’m carrying something like ball bearings and riding on public transportation with my arms full.

A top request for me from trousers, from khakis to denim – stout belt loops. These deliver, sporting bombproof tunnel-style belt loops that are sewn into the waistband at top and bottom. Note neat construction and reinforcement.

So where might I change these trousers? Well, the fit might rub some people the wrong way. I don’t wear my pants too tightly – about a Levis 501 fit – but the 1922 collection is sized to historical dimensions, and there’s a lot of room in there. I’ll admit that they’re very comfortable, and unlike some fits of Bill’s Khakis, these manage to be roomy without feeling balloon-like. I’ve gotten used to how they feel, but I’ll never be entirely at ease in them since they’re so different from anything else in my closet. There’s also a very wide hem on the legs, so if you like to roll your trousers, get ready for a 2.5-inch cuff!

Finally, and pardon my nit-picking, the top button of the fly (on the waistband) is too small and incorrectly attached. The button has to go through twice as much fabric at the waistband, which is why denim buttons are larger and have those big posts – the size makes it easier to shove through, and the post provides clearance for all that fabric. The top button on the Dickies is sewn flush to the fabric, so it’s a battle to get through. I simply took it off and re-attached it with a longer shank of thread – just put a thin skewer under the button while you sew it on. Not a deal-breaker, by any means, and it’s a historical detail to begin with, but that’s the kind of accuracy that I’m happy to leave in the past.

Summary – These are absolutely beautiful trousers, made in the USA to a very high specification. If the fit works for you, they’re some of the best chinos on the market, and for $200, they had better be. The possible shortcomings – wide fit and an imperfect button – come about simply due to historical accuracy. So I encourage Dickies to create an updated version of the 1922 Collection trousers, with a slimmer (read: standard width) fit, lower-profile hem, and brass zipper fly, while keeping the incredible, stout fabric, USA manufacture, and top-notch quality. Here’s hoping that domestic production expands for this venerable company.

Thanks again to Dickies for allowing us to test these trousers!