Item: Barbour waxed cotton overtrousers. Reason for purchase: ordered in January in middle of winter dog walking season from UK firm, Country Attire (free International shipping!). Arrived Saturday. Lovely to look at but would not fit even if catastrophic tailoring efforts were undertaken. Will return by air post tomorrow.
Tally another item ordered and returned in 08 (on the heals of assorted of ill-fitting Sierra Trading post Icebreaker purchases and one pair of Ibex loden wool mittens).
Digital fabric samples (top down): Harris Tweed, Corduroy, Moleskin:
I’m always lamenting the remote location of my preferred retail sites: namely, Tokyo boutiques selling hyperrefined revisions of country clothing and 40s era workwear. Though thoughtful readers continue to suggest means of accessing these items online, I’m holding out for a future, in person spree–perhaps sometime in 09??? Today, I’m distracted by another longstanding retail cruelty–my inability to order items from a UK company called Old Town Clothing. Here, I submit visual examples of what makes Old Town so seductive. Each garment in their product range receives the same visual treatment: an upfront grayscale silhouette, followed, a page away, by a photograph and digital fabric sample. Returning to the site every once in awhile, I like to prioritize the garment/fabric selection for my hypothetical order (first, the Marshalsea in irish linen follwed by the Jerkin in tweed, and on…). I’d even order a full length dress if they made it out of this fabric.
Old Town provides a link to a form which one can fill out and mail in to Ms. Wiley. However, when I wrote Ms. Wiley a letter of inquiry (with full overseas postage), I never received a letter of response. My question: did my letter get lost, destroyed, or is this just a case of mail ordering from the past (with my items arriving by way of a David Niven film on some future broadcast date)?
Since most of the frames at the NAHBS 08 have been well blogged and documented on flickr, I thought I’d note an unexpected, non-bike highlight of the show: the Brooks Barbican messenger bag (only one other tagged photo on flickr). Despite the redundant Brooks brand logo across the front flap, this is one of the nicest, new construction, non field-and-game type waxed cotton bags I’ve ever seen. The Brooks product rep wanted to direct our attention to the patented features of the sam brown style shoulder strap/belt but I was mostly taken by the bag’s heavy waxed cotton construction and twin leather air flow (!) dimples.
Main disappointments: the bag makes use of one of those terrible, sliding leather pads which never quite sit right on the shoulder. Also, it retails for the inexplicable sum of 425.00 usd!
Over the years, I’ve purchased a selection of carry-all and tote bags from the Hunting World boutique in NYC (and via ebay). Since most of my purchases were by mail order, I relied on an HW sales associate to provide me with digital snaps of stock merchandise. Extra visual review was always helpful given that so many HW items were discontinued or morphed in scale, color and trim in two year cycles (the typical time gap between my visits to the city)(now I haven’t been back in four years!). I’ve collected an archive of the digital snaps which, in light of the upcoming store closure (and discontinuation of the Safari Today carry-all bag line), may be of interest to nostalgic bag nuts like me. Note again: these snaps are not by me and do not reflect the actual contents of my bag collection. I’ll add more reference snap as I dig them up off my desktop.
OK. I did buy this one (and a counterfeit version by mistake, on ebay):
Several years ago, when I first heard that Filson was developing a product line for women, I offered my services as a test model. Though I’m a huge Filson fan, I must console myself through accessory purchases like belts, bags, hats and pet supplies since general issue Filson clothing requires catastrophic tailoring to fit my dwarfish form. Sadly, my request to be a Filson product tester was denied–customer service informed me that they had already convened a “Filson Women’s Council” to evaluate their garments.
Despite exclusion from the Filson women’s council, Archival Clothing will be generating its own future research report on the success/failure of the Filson product line for women. Archival test criteria: fit (how much additional tailoring will be required to make these garments work on non model grade bodies), general resistance to everyday urban grit and cycling/dog grime, overall build quality (seeking signs of loose buttons, stray threats, weakened seams), color selection (major penalties for shades of violet, pink or sky blue), basic functionality (can items double for non-shooting urban use), timelessness (will the garments retain a classic Filson “look” ten years post-purchase) and general assessment of “feminizing” embellishments: inappropriate pocket placement, non-functional design details and weird “hourglass” shapes (ala the Barbour ladies utility jacket).
Here’s the most recent scoop from Filson customer service on what they may be offering in the Spring (not yet published in their catalogue or website):
“As for release information, I know that the plan is for the Women’s Line is slated to be released on March 1st. That would be the earliest we could place an order for you for any of those items. Some of the tentative women’s apparel is slated to include a mackinaw wool vest, mackinaw wool jacket, tin cloth field jacket, shelter cloth logger jacket, a quilted weekender, canvas windbreaker, a cover cloth and a feather cloth shirt, canvas pants and shorts, safari cloth pants and shorts, the chaps and a leather belt.”
This is all tentative and subject to change, of course.
For the record (see W10 garment tag above), long ago, when the Filson catalogue was a ten page, 2×3″ pamphlet, the company offered a fine line of women’s clothing (essentially, scaled down versions of their core garment range: mackinaw cruisers, whipcord trousers, etc). Sometimes these items can be located on ebay but for the most part they’ve disappeared from the visual archive (post pix on flickr if you own one of these garments–bonus points for whipcord knickers).