I first encountered Japanese brand Anatomica via a Paris shop that carried canvas deck shoes (Sperry repros) and modified last Aldens. Recently, I started following the Anatomica Instagram feed which provides a better optic on their Tokyo store offerings (from brogues to berets). I’m primary smitten by their spare, unisex, sanded down military styles (lots of olives, beiges, flight jackets, khakis, anoraks) modeled by both men and women. Engineered Garments for an older, upscale audience. The Anatomica IG feed provides daily surprises like the sudden appearance of a broom motif or creative color blocking. At the moment, I’m wishing I could purchase the recently featured, padded pullover puffer which I’m declaring the official garment of 2017. Look for yourself.
Do I need $99 Dachstein Austrian wool gloves? Visual perfection. Super sturdy. Bombproof. Check! But as my pal says, “steep price for something you are going to lose in a parking lot.” Deep inventory available through the Sweater Chalet.
From eBay, a great example of a refreshing, non-minimalist clothing design: wool twill riding breeches by Hebden Cord (the now defunct country clothier from Hebden Bridge, York). I love to see clothing that deploys buttons and flaps in lieu of zippers or shaping panels to facilitate fit and max adjustability. I’m wondering about the date of manufacturer for this style/model (are those waistband buttons for suspenders?). My only catalog copy is from 2001 and it features a much more contemporary looking pair of riding trousers made from era-predictable poly blend with zip fly and velcro closures. If you can date these breeks, email me or tweet me over at @archcloth.
On the less refined end of the SMU spectrum, here are some recent offerings of Alden seconds from TheShoeMart. In case you don’t know about this service, TheShoeMart quietly sells Alden seconds. New inventory notifications used to go out via email but now you can now browse listings online if you sign up for a special ShoeMart account. Even when I’m not in the marketing for Aldens, I love to browse the Alden seconds in search of SMUs you won’t likely find in shops like Unionmade, Context or Leffot. I myself shop the list for hard-to-source Aldens in smaller sizes (like 5.5 and 6) most likely en route to Japan. Here are some recent finds:
Searching for generic images for a U/X personas project, I happened upon the Exactitudes project featuring typologies of people who wear similar uniforms. My fave typology from Exactitudes is the one featuring a group identified as “farmcore.” From afar, the only thing that seems to identify someone as farmcore is wearing a Barbour jacket. Things that I love about the photo series: the fit of the jackets (it’s ok to be a jacket to be oversized), the emphasis on older Barbour coats (Borders and Beauforts), and the individual styling. Take a look:
Occasionally, an eBay watchlist returns a pleasant ping like these original Hebden Cord Touring Shorts. Alas, they are sized too large for me but I still want to document for my archives. In a few years, all memories of elegant, tailored, non-technical cycling garb will most likely disappear from our collective memory. Here is a little evidence to the contrary:
Browsing the Library of Congress Flickr photostream, I stumbled upon these amazing images of female Farmerettes, first participants in the Women’s Land Army of America. Further research revealed that from 1917-1919 these women supported the war effort by filling the agricultural labor gap at home. According to this fascinating article in the Smithsonian: “Most of these women had never before worked on a farm, but they were soon plowing fields, driving tractors, planting and harvesting. The Land Army’s ‘farmerettes’ were paid wages equal to male farm laborers and were protected by an eight-hour workday. For many, the farmerettes were shocking at first–wearing pants!–but farmers began to rely upon the women workers.” While I’m very familiar with the iconic, coveralls and kerchief look of Rosie the Riveter, I have never seen the WWI era uniforms issued to the “Land Lassies.” What strikes me in the first photo is how close the Farmerrete’s coveralls resemble something released by FWK Engineered Garments or Nigel Cabourn.
I’ll be digging deeper to secure more visual evidence of these women and the specific of their uniforms.
Questions: who manufactured the uniforms, what were the specific uniform requirements, were the uniforms region specific, and do any sample garments remain?
I started stalking Japanese web shops in 2006 and the experience never gets old. Even cursory check ins with fave web shops turn up exciting new finds. While heritage as a codified style may be petering out in the US, Japan keeps churning out unique variations on workwear staples like the button front chore coat. Case and point is this jacket from Kapital available via Takanna (a web shop that ships to the US). The jacket is made from 12 ounce denim from Okayama. What I love about it is the shape and distribution of front and rear pocketing. I’m a big fan of hunting jackets with their rear facing game pockets. This may be the first time I’ve seen this feature incorporated into a more casual, denim jacket. While Kapital sizing goes down to a Japanese 2, I’m leaving this item as a catch and release given that there is no scaled down version for women.
Even as folks declare the death of heritage as a codified style gents (think: workwear, historic brand revivals, heavy denim, plaid shirting, work boots, tin cloth cruisers, etc.), I still remember its beginnings. I remain fascinated by this mode of dress especially as it exists (or does not) for women. In a recent Reddit thread on the closure of Archival, the highest vote betting comment was from a gent who wrote: “Bong bong bong, death tolls for the heritage trend.” I find the heritage dirge ironic given that I started my own blog in 2006 because no heritage garb existed for women (hence, my mantra of shopping from the past to find what I could not find in the present day).
In a future post, I’d love to document what amounts to brief but tepid history of heritage offerings for women from some of our favorite heritage labels from 2008-2016: Barbour, Filson, Wolverine, Private White V.C., Woolwich, Nigel Cabourn, Pendleton, etc. Nothing lasted and nothing seemed to stick. Princess panels, compromised fabrics, shifting fit profiles, overpriced offerings and competing messages (style over function) seemed to be the order of the day. It’s 2016 and I’m not sure we’re much further along in terms of core, capsule offerings in the areas of footwear, jackets, knitwear and base layers. Bright spots include shirting (thanks to Tradlands and Taylor Stitch), denim (always available), moccasin style footwear (Rancourt and Quoddy) and some fashion facing outerwear (think FWK Engineered Garments, Japan only Nigel Cabourn, and infrequent and inconsistent offerings by Filson).
Suddenly, heritage is dead but – for many of us – it barely launched. Taking a cue from the past, I’m hoping for a future time when “Rufstuff” re/emerges as a defining trend for women (and gents) characterized by clothing that is “as smart in line as it is practical . . . . [d]esigned to meet the demand for camp and country and stand the roughest usage at an extraordinarily reasonable price.” Possible? Evidence from the past:
Did you catch Chris Froome sporting a logo free musette during the Olympic road race in Rio? I always love catching glimpses of this little retro style bag in a sea of state of the art garb and bike technology. While modern cycling musettes are made of cheap synthetics (designed to be discarded), my favorite vintage versions were made out of cotton (with a matching strap). Unusual examples include a snap fastener or flap closure but most of the ones you find on eBay are simply unstructured sacks with straps. I tend to shop by logo or color blocking. Here are a few examples that I gathered during a recent shopping expedition: