With apologies to my home institution, the University of Washington wins the award for the best documented, most stylish and frolicsome campus day (a day for university students to perform grounds maintenance, wear shawl collar sweaters and pose for photos). For more evidence that past was better (or at least better dressed), visit the UW historical campus photographs page. Not pictured: tub racing, high diving and countless refreshment breaks.
I have a deep fondness for jockey silks. Unlike most sporting garb, the basic jockey’s uniform of jodphurs, cap and tunic has remained unchanged over time. Designed for legibility from a distance, the visual code of stripes, dots, hoops, sashes, crosses, chevrons and bold colors has a functional beauty that appeals to me in any media – from cigarette cards to a high definition broadcast of a triple crown race. If you squint, a snapshot of horses in the homestretch today doesn’t look that different than an image from the past. What has changed, of course, is the addition of advertising on the trousers and the use of more closely fitting, synthetic fabrics. In honor of the upcoming Belmont Stakes I’m reprinting these cigarette cards featuring ad free British horse racing colors from the 1930s.
Next to Montgomery Wards and Mamet’s State and Main, the Queen (Frears 2006) is my favorite shopping opportunities. I love to browse all the classic Barbours, Range Rovers, silk scarves, leather brogues, tweed keeperwear, cashmere crewnecks and matching dog breeds. Like a mail order house lost to time, The Queen stocks a small but deep selection of classic items – unchanged by fashion or consumer demand. Here are a few pages from my favorite catalog:
As a kid, despite not owning a horse, I used to mail away for equestrian supply catalogs. I would browse through the pages of bits, bridles, silks and saddles, kitting out my imaginary Man O War with a full set of racing tack. Over time, horses morphed in bicycles, but I recently found a source for dog collars and leashes made by custom thoroughbred harness goods company, Danzig Bros. I just purchased one of the Amish-made, laced leather collars for my pony sized Weimaraner, Chaz. Designed for the rigors of the track, the lace leather style collar is made from best quality bridle leather and brass hardware. The leather is hand finished and edge polished. I’ve cycled through a number of dog collars but this is the first one that actually looks like it’s going to survive our wet Oregon winters.