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Archive for January, 2010

Shopping from Arnys

January 27th, 2010

by Tom Bonamici

Lesli has a nice little stack of Arnys catalogs that I can’t put down. It’s a mile apart from our usual shopping – nothing in here could be found at a thrift store, logging camp, or Cyclist’s Special. The prices are… aspirational? Improbable? Beyond our reach, at any rate. But that won’t stop me from longing for a Forestière jacket, or a massively-pocketed trench, or trousers with integrated spats.

The patterns and colors are subtle, the materials are gorgeous, and the styling is distinctive, but generally trend-resistant. No skinny jeans, thank God, no desert boots, no buffalo plaid – Arnys is operating at a different plane. However, there are plenty of details that could translate nicely. Many of the jackets seem to be available with or without sleeves – why couldn’t Filson make a sleeveless Mackinaw? We’re both especially fond of the consistent use of a contrasting lining in cuffs and collars. And the introduction to one of the more recent catalogs has a terrific call-to-arms for the stylish gent, bemoaning the fall in standard of men’s dress and, essentially, telling men to step it up. I’m working on translating this piece, and will post it soon.

Honestly, even if I could afford it, I couldn’t wear most of this stuff, given how rarely I wear even a tie, let alone a suit. It’s just a lot of fun to browse the catalogs and admire a job done perfectly well.

Shopping from Arthur Miller: Work Jackets

January 27th, 2010

by Lesli Larson

Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Readers of the online edition of the New York Times might have missed this 1950’s era work jacket worn by Liev Shrieber’s longshoreman character in the current revival of Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge. The thumbnail image that accompanies the online review occupies a full half-page in the print edition. In this version of the production still, you can study the jacket’s collar, cut, fabric (including wear marks), pocketing and buttons. (These details disappear into a generic, blue collar worker’s garment on stage). I love the high placement of the slash pockets and loose fit of the sleeves (no cinch at the cuff). Another post could be dedicated to Scarlett Johansson’s side buttoning wool skirt.

I’m assuming Schreiber’s jacket was custom tailored for the Broadway production based on archival patterns and photographs. But if you’re shopping for your own version, here are a few options in heavy duty Sanforized 8 oz fabric from the Ward’s catalog:

Montgomery Wards

Economical, modern day option by Ben Davis

Archival Ebay: Hebden Cord Shooting Jacket

January 20th, 2010

by Lesli Larson

Archival Clothing readers are well acquainted with my obsession for Hebden Cord, an out-of-business UK clothier. Hebden Cord offered made-to-measure jackets, trousers and breeks in a selection of moleskins, cottons and tweeds. Upon request, Hebden Cord mailed out a sizing guide and matchbook sized fabric swatches (some quite shopworn or sun damaged). From overseas, one could spec the size, cut and finishing details of any garment in the Hebden Cord line. At the time Hebden Cord went out of business, I was plotting my order for double seated cycling shorts in heavyweight twill whipcord.

The nearest contemporary match to Hebden Cord is Old Town Clothing where one can still customize the fabric on a fixed range of garments, but not the fit.

Hebden Cord print catalogs were simple, rarely changing from year to year. For this reason, I like to collect ebay images of Hebden Cord items to monitor how patterns were customized over time. Here is a recent tweed shooting jacket which would be perfect for either game poaching or Tweed Ride use.

Hebden Cord Tweed Shooting Jacket (ebay item: 180458736173)

Coming soon: full Hebden Cord catalog reprint. Shopping from 2004!

Shopping From Frank Leder

January 19th, 2010

by Tom Bonamici

Of course we’re all about shopping from the past, but the magic happens when an opportunity comes around to shop successfully from the present. Somewhere in between Danny, Champion of the World, Lady Chatterley’s Lover and The Rules of the Game, I became entranced with the conflict of the gamekeeper and the poacher.

Ever since it came online, I’ve been totally stuck on Frank Leder’s POACHERS series. He’s really killing it with some of the details in this collection. Check out POACHERS at his splash page, but make sure to get into the archives, too. Hinterland: Fleisch and Hinterland: Vagabund are some of my favorites, but honestly, it’s all good.

There’s so much hunting clothing in the city that it’s refreshing to take inspiration from the poachers, who wear their city clothing in the country. When the apocalypse comes, we’ll no doubt have forgotten our Tin Cloth and Bean Boots at home. So join the Archival Clothing team on the south side of Eugene’s Spencer’s Butte: we’ll be the people bagging deer while clad in tattered tweeds and leaky brogues.

Eugene Tweed Ride 1/16/10

January 13th, 2010

by Lesli Larson

On Saturday, I’ll be joining friends for the third Eugene Tweed ride. Here’s my ride report from the Spring 2009 edition. For novice participants, I’m setting aside a few garments for your Saturday ensemble. Since the forecast calls for rain, I’m suggesting you layer with a Hilltrek ventile cycling jacket in lieu of the more traditional, heavy overcoat. For dryer conditions, substitute a Huckecote tweed shooting jacket: the Clunie for ladies or the Redford for gents (matching caps and breeks available).

Hilltrek ventile cycling jacket

Lavenham patchwork tweed vest

Fingerless mitts

Purdey shooting breeks

Quoc Fam traditional cycling shoe (courtesy Wallblog)

Brady Stour

Finished ensemble

Our sponsors

Addendum: day of ride photos here.

Archival Loafers

January 10th, 2010

by Lesli Larson

“Weejun” style loafer

Alden Penny Loafer (Cape Cod Collection)

I’ve been wearing Weejun-style loafers since I was teen. I used to buy the Bass boy’s model since I hated the low vamp on the version for women. Since Sebago left the US market, I’ve been searching for a new source for loafers that would resemble classic era Weejuns. My requirements: high vamp, quality leather, perfect fit and top quality construction. I was willing to pay more to stop the cycle of having to discard worn loafers after less than a year of wear (I really do wear these on a daily basis).

On Saturday, I visited Jordan at Winn Perry to sample a loafer that fit my shopping requirements. Jordan knew about my loafer search and suggested a beef roll penny loafer from the Cape Cod Collection–one that does not appear in the Alden print or online catalog. I should note that I continue to source my loafers from men’s collections. As readers of this blog know, it’s nearly impossible to find classic style footwear in sizes for women. I wear a women’s 8.5 but can get away with a men’s 6.5 or 6. Fortunately, Alden offers most of their shoes in sizes down to 6 (and smaller) in a range of widths. Jordan was kind enough to size my feet using a Brannock device. Now that I know my Alden size (for different lasts), I can sign up for one of his future, special edition Alden projects.

As it turns out, the Alden H410 loafers are perfect. After a little prep by my local shoe repairman (adding a protective half-sole), I’ll be testing these out as my daily drivers. Thanks to Jordan for sourcing these loafers for me. I would never have found them on my own. How important, still, is the brick and mortar store and its knowledgeable proprietor!

Alden Model H410 penny loafers

Beef roll stitching on Sebagos, vintage Sears loafers and new Aldens
From the archives

Archival Woolens

January 8th, 2010

by Erin O’Meara

When people think of wool, images of sweaters, socks and toques come to mind. But wool isn’t just for clothing. Here are a few of my favorite woolen items.

Wool filled pillows for your bed

One of my grade school teachers told us to invest in satin sheets since we spend so much of our lives sleeping. That’s why I have a wool-filled pillow. Virgin wool is a great filler for pillows since the lanolin provides a natural deterrent to dust mites. It will also shape to your head better than synthetic fillers.

You could purchase a ready-made wool pillow or make your own by procuring a woolen batt from somewhere like Beaverslide Dry Goods – an amazing ranch in Montana that makes beautiful yarn from their own flock.

Milled Blankets

Domestically milled wool blankets are another favorite woolen good that’s a wonderful addition to any home. MacAusland’s Woolen Mills (actually in Canada) is one of my favorite sources for milled wool blankets. I visited them last Spring. Here are some images from my tour:

Mill and store front on Prince Edward Island

This is the start of the processing for MacAusland blankets

One of their looms

Prepping the wool for the loom

Washed wool ready for spinning

Some finished products–they do a special plaid each year with different colorways

Other recommended sources for milled wool blankets include Amana Woolen Mills (since 1857!), Faribault, Bemidji Woolen Mills and of course, home state favorite, Pendleton (we like the National Park blanket series).

Sheepskins from a real farm

We’re not talking about a mass-produced product from Ikea or Costco, but rather, a real sheepskin from a working farm. There are resources on the web to help you locate a sheep farm in your region. In Oregon, contact Oregon Wool. Tanneries that handle small-scale processing are becoming scarce, so support your local shepherd or shepherdess by buying a sheepskin for a chair or couch in your home. I have a Wensleydale sheepskin from Dayspring Farm. Not all sheepskins are white – the variety of colors and curls of different types of sheep means that you can get one that suits your style. If you’ve never touched the real thing, you’re in for a treat.

Archival Resolutions: 2010

January 3rd, 2010

1. Decide that quality matters and pay for it. In the end, it will save you time and money.

2. Before you buy, be selective. Scrutinize items for build quality, fit, finish, functionality and lasting style. If an item is not perfect, catch and release it.

3. Do more with less. Add a few key pieces to your wardrobe and wear them until they dissolve.

4. Shop from yourself and from thrift shops. Repurpose strategic items from the past.

5. Support apparel companies that manufacture their products in the US. Buy products still proudly made in their traditional country of origin.

6. Contact manufacturers and let them know what you’d like to see in their product lines. If you’re a woman and you love classic heritage styles, email or phone companies and ask them to offer their products in your size.

7. Find out what products are manufactured in your region. Visit factories and publish reports.

8. Wear wool and linen year round. Experiment with summer weight woolens, and heavier linens.

9. Come up with a signature uniform. Wear it once a week.

10. Read historical newspapers and magazines to learn about lost brands, fashions and manufacturing traditions.