Archival Clothing - Made in USA

Posts Tagged ‘archival vests’

New Release – Archival x Crescent Down Works Waxed Vest

October 12th, 2014

We teamed up with Crescent Down Works in Seattle to create a supremely durable and handsome vest that’s great for a crisp urban commute or a chilly duck blind. Starting with CDW’s classic Italian Vest pattern, we added some uniquely Archival features including a waxed cotton/nylon shell, brass snaps, reinforced leather washers, an inside chest pocket and a worsted wool knit collar made for us by Centralia Knitting Mill.

This Fall, we are offering the vest in three colorways: navy, olive and black.  For more information, visit the Archival Web Shop.

Archival Down Vest Black styled
Wax Vest Wall-15
Wax Vest Wall-46  
Wax Vest
Archival Wax Vest 4
Waxed Vest Knit Collar Detail

Recent Press – Archival Waxed Down Vest

November 4th, 2013

We’ve received some terrific press on our Archival Waxed Down Vest .   Thanks to GQ, Mens Journal, Esquire, Well Spent and others for their kind reviews.   If you are intersted in purchasing a vest, place your order via our Archival Web Shop.   A note on sizing: we are  stocking this vest in unisex sizes from XS to XL..  The two way, brass zip and snap closure front make it possible to tweak vest  fit for different body types.   I/Lesli am a petite woman and consider the XS a perfect fit..



Men's Journal



Shopping from Japan – Uncle Sam

November 29th, 2012

Uncle Sam is one of my favorite Japanese web shops.  Though I cannot read Japanese, I frequently visit the site to check out the shop’s style blog.  While I don’t recognize most of the brands on offer, I take inspiration from the shop’s artful presentation of snout to tail, total clothing ensembles.  Someday, I hope to assemble a cleverly layered outfit worthy of Uncle Sam.  My three zones of aspiration include upper body layering, accessories and the key interface of sock, shoe and trouser.  Here are some recent looks that I’m admiring.

Backwards cap, kerchief, patched pants, ankle boots and a sock reveal – a look I pledge to try in 2013.
Fearless patchwork
Here, I love how the scarf and bag snap precisely into place.  I cannot imagine this gent ever dropping his bag, removing his cap or unknotting his scarf. 
Shorts for Fall/Winter
When in doubt, wear a vest


Classic, heavy duty outer wear – carried forward
Knotted scarf aplomb
Bicycle as accessory

 Archival bags by Uncle Sam

Archival Uniform – November Edition

November 19th, 2012

Per Archival Resolution #9, here is the November edition of my Archival uniform. While our resolutions recommend that you come up with a signature uniform that you wear once a week, mine has seen active use on multiple days.  

Archival striped tee women and Centralia multiweave cardigan.  Here, per usual, I follow my own rule of wearing at least two layers on top.  In another month, I might add a kerchief or a fine gauge wool scarf as a neck garnish. 

Engineered Garments Upland Vest.   Inspired by the Japanese, I love to finish my uniform with a vintage Upland style hunting vest (the pocketing doubles as a purse).  Since I’m so small, it’s hard to source an authentic hunting vest that fits properly so I opt for updated versions – sized for women and petite gents – by Rising Sun, Post O’Alls or Engineered Garments.

Red Cloud & Co. Denim.  Howard Gee, the denim guru at Ab Fits, introduced me to Red Cloud premium denim made in mainland China.  The Red Cloud cut is close to a pair LVC Levis 1947, my go to denim on alternative outfit days.

Alden Cape Cod Beefroll Penny Loafer.  Not much visual variation here.  I wear Alden Cape Cod loafers – in black and brown – nearly everyday of the year.  My statement on loafers.

If you have a signature uniform, please post your notes to our Archival Facebook page or send me a note at  I’d love to repost more visual examples (other than mine) on the AC blog. 

Archival Down Vests by Crescent Down Works

October 30th, 2012

I really love down vests, so it was a treat to work with one of the finest down garment makers in the country on a really special project. Here’s our take on a classic work/hunting vest, done with a lightweight waxed cotton shell, a nylon lining for easy layering, and a worsted wool rib collar, knitted by Washington’s Centralia Knitting Mills. Made in Seattle, WA by Crescent Down Works.

The waxed cotton shell is weather-resistant and durable, much more so than the thin nylon typically used in backpacker’s down vests. The collar is cozy but not so big you can’t throw a jacket on over. The handwarmer pockets are stuffed with down so that your hands really stay warm. There’s an inside pocket for the phone, or matches, or playing cards.

I’m very proud of this vest – it’s handsome, durable, and functional clothing made in the Northwest – and that’s what Archival’s all about! Exclusive to Wilderness Workshop and our own web store. Very limited quantities  

We visited Crescent Down Works a few months ago, be sure to check out the report from that trip.

From the Archives: Post O’All Vests

January 26th, 2012

Here are a few snap views of Post O’Alls vests from my personal collection. Inspired by vintage hunting and shooting vests, the Post O’Alls vest features an internal poacher’s pocket and four outside flap pockets. The cargo capacity rivals that of an AC Rucksack. A fan of the hyper layered look – I wear mine interchangeably over wool and cord blazers.

Shopping from Japan

Herringbone wool

Cotton Poplin

Fall Recommendation: Down Vests

October 5th, 2011
The seasons are finally changing, and as crisper weather rolls in, may we recommend that you turn to a vest when you’re chilled? We all love our Westmorland and Retro-X vests at Archival, but we also have a soft spot for goose down. There’s nothing lighter and more magically insulating, and they make a great pillow when you’re backpacking. Here’s a round-up of some historical models pulled from Backpacker Magazine and eBay, as well as some current offerings.

Crescent Down Works (offered by South Willard)

Feathered Friends Helios and Hyperion Vests

Western Mountaineering Flash Vest

Shopping from the 1930s: Montgomery Ward

September 30th, 2011

Exemplary outerwear

I’ve been on an ebay shopping spree for Montgomery Ward catalogs (the Archival bible). I’ve secured a few new Fall editions from the 1940s which I’ll be reprinting here–in bits–in the next few months. Copies of the 1930s catalogs are more tricky to source. Inspired by Spokesniffer and Reference Library, I’m capturing auction images as placeholders for items I did not buy. Here are a few frame grabs from vintage catalogs from the 1930s that were beyond my “buy it now” pricepoint. If I could make it so, these would all Archival offerings for Fall 2011. Smitty “Whata Sweater” would be announced as our new Archival mascot.

Smitty Sweater

Heavy weight shawl collar sweaters and cardigans

All wool blazers

Denim jackets, overalls and trousers

Canvas duck field jackets

All wool shaker sweaters

Heritage workwear for women

Pendleton blankets

Archival Update: Rising Sun Outdoor Vest

July 27th, 2011

We’re excited to offer a limited run of one of our favorite Archival finds, the Rising Sun & Co. Outdoor Vest. Made from stout, indigo dyed canvas duck (loomed by Cone Denim), the Outdoor Vest takes its inspiration from traditional hunting and fishing vests.

Heritage inspiration

This best quality, handcrafted garment comes with front patch pockets, a small chest pocket, an inside chest pocket, and an internal “poachers” pocket. Rising Sun & Co., located in Pasadena, California, sews their garments on site — using their prized, single needle, black head Singer sewing machine. Rising Sun has posted some short videos showing the vests being sewn.

Single needle construction

Contrasting cotton lining and breast pocket
Front loading poacher’s pocket

Large patch pockets

Selvage detail on back cinch

Vest ensemble

Synthetic Exceptions: Wind Vests for Cyclists

March 31st, 2011
Framebuilder Dan Boxer wearing a discontinued wool Ibex vest in June

Standard issue, safety yellow, synthetic vest worn by Audrey A.

Karl, Eugene Tweed Ride participant, sporting wool Filson liner as cycling vest. Recommended for low speed cycling or cyclo-commuting only.

Use value of wind vest declines at rest

When shopping from the present, I try to source products that are made in their traditional country of origin from materials that are durable, all natural and will wear evenly with use. In most cases, I’m able to find something that I would categorize as archival.

For my sport of randonneuring, or long distance cycling, I’ve had to compromise on some of my purchasing decisions. Most performance oriented cycling gear is produced offshore out of synthetics fabrics. For short distance commutes, I’m fine wearing everyday, non-sport specific clothing on my bike. Here, one can easily default to wearing vests and jackets made from wool, moleskin or cotton duck. But for ultra distance rides, I always wear a synthetic vest over my wool kit to block wind, regulate temperature and prevent chill. While many cyclists prefer full sleeved jackets, the synthetic wind vest provides a protective barrier without causing overheating. Alas, I’ve never found a wool or natural fabric version of a vest that performs better than its synthetic counterpart.

That being said, here’s what I caught and released from a recent shopping project.

Boure Pro Wind Vest. Best in class. Still made in Colorado. Customization possible. Unisex sizing. Supplex nylon front, mesh back. Ideally, Boure would add a two-way zip for maximum ventilation.

Sugoi Zap Vest. Shaped body panels on this one make the fit a little strange. Although I hate brightly colored fabrics, I almost always default to bright yellow for my wind vests for maximum visibility. If you’re going with a bright yellow material, why not add more bold reflective striping?

Louis Garneau Vent 2 Vest. Garneau is one of my favorite cycling brands. They produce well thought out, well structured cycling garments at a reasonable, non premium pricepoint. I love that this vest includes a two-way zipper, an essential feature on any vest or jacket. Reflective striping could be maximized.

Pearl Izumi vest (discontinued model). My old standby. As with most synthetic garments, the material on this vest does not age well with use. Dirt and grime cannot be removed.
Alp-X Zip Off jacket. Interesting option from Gore Bike Wear, another favorite brand. If I didn’t have to pay an extra $99 for the sleeves, I’d keep this jacket and use it exclusively as a vest. The vest/jacket has two front pockets, a two way zip and fits perfectly. Gore makes a wind vest for women but color availability is currently limited to white and black–unacceptable colors for a cycling vest.

Not pictured is my dream vest, not available, which would be manufactured by Showers Pass, a Portland Oregon company. I wear the Elite 2.0 jacket throughout the winter and wish there were a vest equivalent. It would be made of the same breathable, durable eVENT fabric and have a two way zipper and a mesh back.

Tom and I often chatter about creating an Archival wind vest that would incorporate waxed fabrics, archival design details, but also make use of some modern synthetics. Stay tuned for future developments.