On the subject of heritage garb for women, here is what was available from LL Bean in 1982. What I love about this era of LL Bean is how many items are offered in unisex sizes and colors (seriously…when was the last time you saw a contemporary catalog listing the exact same item, in the same colorway, “for men and women?”). While some of the clothing items are on the blandly prep side, I would immediately mail order the madras shirt, Chouinard shorts, tassel mocs and the anorak. For a view of the full catalog reprint, see the venerable Heavy Tweed Jacket.
Archival is working on a design for a collapsible tote for light marketing. We take our inspiration from bags like these plainly named, Bean shopping bags circa1945. We love the idea of stowing bags within bags (in anticipation of impromptu portage). Although we cannot promise that our bag will fold neatly into a women’s handbag, it will be compact enough to stash in our standard Archival Rucksack.
Here’s a terrific opportunity to have your favorite leather mocs resoled with Bean genuine 1922 hunting rubber soles.
I first spotted the Rising Sun & Co Outdoor Vest at Man Up last January. John, Howard and Jeremy were all wearing versions of the vest: one in canvas duck and the other in indigo dyed canvas.
John in his Rising Sun & Co vest at Man Up
1952 LL Bean catalog
The Rising Sun vest’s design is inspired by vintage hunting and shooting vests. Traditional fishing vests are cut short so they can be worn into a stream with waders. The addition of an internal game or poacher’s pocket makes them useful for upland game hunting too.
Filson makes its own Original Hunting Vest out of a heavier weight waxed canvas. I’m still waiting for Filson to introduce this garment in their collection for women. As it stands, the vest is cut long and wears more like a shelter tent than a vest. I do love all the strategic internal pocketing (and reinforced wool shoulder panels).
Rising Sun & Co vest available in indigo dyed canvas.
A recent production model in black duck canvas and white herringbone twill.
Since Man Up, I’ve been asking Rising Sun to produce a version of the vest in XS for women. This December, for a larger production run, Mike cut a few higher for a women’s fit. I finally own my own Outdoor Vest. Next to the super short, snug monkey fit, I love the vest’s deep front utility pockets. Most clothing for women skimps on functional pocketing (see recent Barbour Utility jacket for a glaring example). For daily wear, the Rising Sun vest easily carries a large smart phone, pocket camera, notebooks and writing utensils. For revision, I wish Rising Sun would add two rear carrying pockets (per LL Bean vest) and ditch the back cinch. Since the fit on the vest is so snug, the cinch has no real use value. And for me, the cinch shifts the look of the vest from field clothing to western wear.
I’ll be testing the vest for bike commuting later in Spring when the weather permits a formal transfer from wax & wool to canvas duck outerwear.
Unlined, oiled leather camp mocs are my favorite shoes for summer. I wear several pairs in rotation from June to August. Where one would normally sport tennis shoes (for cycling, dog walking or skateboarding), I wear mocs. As the catalog patter goes: “these shoes have the snappy appearance of a moccasin with the support of a shoe.” Once the weather chills, I revert back to loafers since I have a personal ethos against wearing camp mocs with socks. I wanted to document my collection before I clean and archive them for the winter.
The L.L. Bean original (actual camp dust in evidence)
Quoddy update (customized w/red brick soles a la all plaidout
MacRostie Leathers Moccasins
(recently restored by the maker)
Letter from Elaine and Bud
If you must wear socks with your camp mocs
From “Canoe Cruising” by Lieutenant Warren H. Miller: “For the outdoor girl—the man and his wife adventuring wilderness travel for the first time—I could recommend no better selection than a good canoe trip. After one has mastered the rudiments of camping out, has gotten so that he can shelter himself and his from the elements and the insects, and can cook good, wholesome, palatable food on a campfire with camp cooking utensils, the next step forward would be some form of wilderness travel.”
Skipper at the prow
Packing the duffle bags
A noonday stop
Make camp within easy reach of good water
Dinner in the making
Delectable Irish stew
A new mattress every night
Archival camp mocs
Archival packing list
Friends Sarah and Fern came down to Eugene for some dental work and to share archival media. For them, I endured Eugene’s version of sushi (cream cheese, mushrooms and cashews wrapped in seaweed). In retaliation, I screened a night of Bette Davis material (Now, Voyager and her interview with Dick Cavett). Saturday morning, we gathered w/friends at Hideaway bakery and than took Chaz for a session at Wayne Morse dog park. The Amtrak train-bus back to Portland left before we had a chance to go skateboarding or catch up on recent Dolly Parton recordings. Dr. Jaquith, the Claude Raines therapist in Now, Voyager, could not have prescribed a better cure for our Oregon, mid-winter malaise.
As homework for the weekend, we all watched I’ve Loved You So Long (Claudel 2008) at our respective local cinemas. I highly recommend this film, beyond the plot/story, and brilliant acting, for Kristin Scott Thomas’ chic, just-released-from prison wardrobe and (foremost!) for the amazing, French (muncipal?) swimming pool and ceiling-mounted, hair drying system.
We’re having a household dispute over the merits of LL Bean Maine Hunting boots over The Original Muck Boot Company brand boots.
S. claims that the Bean boots are more appropriate for the snow and ice of the East coast. She considers the Bean boot’s leather uppers and thin, chain tread inadequate for wet weather wear in the Northwest (specifically, for use in the heavy, high mud of our public dog parks and backyard). Her preferred boot model is the mid-calf Muck Boot (purchased from local, do-good mercantile, Down to Earth).
Friend Tom, a timber framer and West-to-East-to-West coast transplant, claims that steel toed Muck boots saved his foot (left or right?) from an errant chainsaw.
Despite functional claims in favor of the Muck Boot, I remain an admirer and dedicated user of the original Bean boot. For me, the Bean boot is all about its outward, vintage styling and that wonderful, abrupt transition from rubber bottoms to leather uppers (plus those great metal eyelets!). I admit that Bean boots, at times, can be a bit clammy and that the chain tread provides little in the form of a non-slip grip (in the end, the tread looks penciled on). However, the vintage, out-of-the-past styling of the Bean boots makes up for its functional limitations (Bean boots still keep my feet dry at the dog park). And I have to give a hand to LL Bean for building on the Maine Boot brand. While most of my favorite, affordable US shoe companies have moved production overseas (Sebago and Bass, for instance), Bean continues to manufacturer these boots in Maine.
It would be lovely if every US apparel and footwear company sifted through their backfiles and found one product, like the Bean Maine boot, that they could bring back and offer for sale in its original form (no updating or upgrading or boutiquing permitted). Mandatory: item must be made in the U.S.A. (preferably, near the original site of production).