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Brown’s beach fabric, a unique wool-cotton blend, was developed in 1901 for general outdoor use. This hard wearing, water repellent, slightly elasticized fabric was sewn up into simple vests and jacket styles which are still being made today by Japanese repro brands like Sugar Cane Co. One can also source original, historical versions on ebay or through second hand, vintage hand dealers. Here’s a maroon Brown’s vest from the 1940s that sold for three thousand dollars on ebay. According to this terrific post by Vintage Workwear, Brown’s Beach is the fabric that kept Admiral Byrd warm at the South Pole (“the best buy in warmth and comfort ever known”).
Sugar Cane vest at Reveille
I first encountered the amazing Brown’s Beach fabric during a recent trip to Reveille in Portland. The shop, which sells Japanese brands like Momotaro, Post O’Alls, Rising Sun and Self Edge, had a few vests and jackets on display. I immediately fell in love with the brown’s beach vest, made by Sugar Cane Co. In addition to the snug, body hugging “monkey” fit, the vest resembled my beloved Woolrich, four pocket Railroad vest.
From the Musee McCord Museum Archives, here are some terrific photographs of individual and team sports from the turn of the (past) century. I love reprinting images of historical athletes as evidence of a time when athletic prowess was conflated with a snappy, well tailored presentation for the camera. Here, in the McCord image set, both male and female athletes wear sporting garb that could easily double as street clothing. I long for the days when heraldic emblems, plus fours, bowler hats, wool knits and striped tunics were de rigeur elements of the the amateur sporting uniform.
We just received a restock of our popular Archival Sweatshirt in all sizes including tall. Made of a stout, 8-9 oz cotton loop-back French Terry, with a rib V insert at the neck, the Archival Sweatshirt is a great layering piece for Spring. Also available in eggplant and navy. Visit the Archival Web Shop for more details or to place an order.
The San Diego Air and Space Museum (SDASM) just celebrated their five year participation in Flickr Commons. While I’m partial to the Museum’s archival collection of Zeppelin crashes and Aviation Pioneers, my favorite SDAM set features photographs, illustrations and ephemera from the Space Shuttle program. Out of context, they invoke a version of the Shuttle that is heavy on concept, light on flight. What remains are charming, lo-fi, diy artifacts: button lit simulators, dated office furniture, slide presentations and cryptic medical tests. Study the photographs below and develop your own space program.
Thanks to CC Filson for providing me with this archival scan of the original Filson Wool Sports Jacket. As someone who has worn Filson for twenty years, I can spot a Cruiser, Cape Coat or Packer just by catching a glimpse of a pocket configuration, fabric type or design detail. In contrast, the Filson Wool Sports Jacket is an enigmatic Filson model which comes from an era in the 1980s when the company was experimenting with a line of leisure, non hunting apparel. If you spotted this jacket at a thrift store you might not even identifying it as a Filson. I myself was thrown off by the heathered brown wool, satin lining and leather buttons – features more characteristic of a department store car coat.
We are now offering our lightweight, waxed cotton Archival Trail Caps in natural. Classic five panel design with leather tab back adjustment. Made of a 5.5 ounce waxed cotton/nylon that’s both durable and lightweight. The new natural cap is perfect for walking, hunting, fishing or outdoor tennis. Made in USA
One of my primary time travel fantasies involves shopping from catalogs from the past. For my Spring workout wardrobe, I’d love to order sportswear and gym equipment from the pages of these old Athletic Journals from the 1950s. What I adore about this era of sporting garb is the emphasis on rugged construction, quality materials (virigin wools, pure orlons!), “glove smooth” fit and a tailored look (“neatness and uniformity”). Even the trampolines, gym mats and megaphones were made from super sturdy materials and promised to last for ages. Take a look at some of these classic ads and tell me what you would buy now.