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.
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:
Flickr pal Hudsonic sent me these snaps of some deadstock Hebden Cord cycling shorts. Later, I traded him a trail cap for the shorts themselves. Longtime blog readers know that Hebden Cord is one of my favorite, defunct UK brands. The company went out of business over a decade ago – on the same day I filled out my order form for a custom loden cloth anorak. I’m still holding out hope that another cycling specific clothing company will bring back this style of dressy yet heavy duty cycling shorts.
Inspired by Mister Crew’s terrific post on knickers, we decided to dig through our closets and do a knicker round-up. I (Tom), due to my tender age, have only accumulated four pairs so far:
Ibex Schoeller knickers in black. Bought at the stunning Ibex Tent Sale. Wonderful for cycling. 75% nylon, 20% wool, 5% spandex. Prone to abrasion. Elasticized waist with five belt loops. Velcro cuff adjustment. Roomy fit.
Woolrich classic knickers, in gray and navy blue. Thrifted. Great for cross-country skiing, climbing, and hiking. 85% wool, 15% nylon. Double seat and knees. Seven belt loops. Velcro cuff adjustment. Slim fit.
Filson knickers in gray/green. Thrifted. Great for everything. 100% wool whipcord. Double seat and knees. Seven belt loops. Velcro cuff adjustment. Medium fit – not too tight or too loose.
As a crusty elder, I (Lesli) have collected more pairs of knickers than I need or actually wear. Even when they don’t fit, I archive pairs for their garment tags, quality fabrics or unusual design features.
Alpendale Knickers. 100% corduroy. Made in West Yorkshire by an out-of-business country clothing manufacturer (the source of my favorite corduroy trousers). Wide, tunnel style belt loops, zip fly, two on seam side pockets and rear buttoning pocket. The ends of the legs have a buckle strap that works loose during wear. These are my favorite knickers. They pair well with high socks and clogs.
Hebden Cord climbing breeks. 100% cotton ventile. Made in England. No longer available. Purchased via ebay during the Hebden Cord closeout sale. Like all Hebden Cord breeks, they come with a double layer seat, button through rear pocket, velcro fastening map pocket and velcro fastening cuffs. I’d happily add map pockets to all my knickers, trousers and shorts.
Bicycle Fixation Knickers. 100% wool gabardine. Made in Los Angeles. My pair is from Richard Risemberg’s original production run from 2007. The gabardine wool and satin trim make these knickers perfect for dress/workplace wear.
Butex Knickers. 100% ribbed wool. These knickers belong to Sara, not me. She inherited them from her mother who purchased them for hiking in Switzerland in the early 1960s. From fabric to garment tag, these are a masterpiece of the genre.
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.
by Tom Bonamici We were alarmed to see that flickr favorite, Pillpat, has loaded more images to her Manufrance set. Over dinner, we had been shopping from Arnys and Hebden Cord, both offering unobtainable clothing (one’s unaffordable, one’s out of business). Like these companies, Pillpat’s content aggravates the historical shopper by presenting a line of unique garments all with singular cuts, details and fabrics. The hunting clothing is particularly strong in this round of images–see especially: le costume pour l’alpiniste, le nouveau costume pour la chasse et le grand paletot fourré.
I (Tom) am particularly fond of the Gilet Cartouchière (above, far right), especially in this context of being worn over a heavy sweater. Note the flapped cartridge pocketing and trim neck detailing. Translation snippet: “This vest can be made in any of our suiting fabrics.”
Like in the Arnys catalog, we’re really impressed by the presentation of garments as part of an entire ensemble. But we also enjoy seeing the different detailing, such as odd plackets and pockets, pivot sleeves, and wildly varying hemlines. In fact, we both think that Hergé might have done all of Tintin’s shopping from this very catalog. Finally, the fabric samples bring to mind the Archival Clothing party doctrine that any garment in a line should be available in any fabric (see custom options at Old Town and Hebden Cord).
In 2003, I was a brief subscriber to The Field magazine, a UK outdoor (Town and Country type) publication with an emphasis on rare breed animal husbandry, charity shooting events, grouse hunting, gentleman farming (slug abatement), fly fishing, fox hunting and real estate (manors and mansions). I mainly read the magazine for the “faces in the field” page (all those cool Cordings tattersall shirts) and the ads in the back featuring UK stockists of lesser known country clothing brands like Hebden Cord and Whitford Mumbles (advertising the largest UK selection of a news-to-me, hand-lasted shoe, the Carcavelo).
When my ship comes in I’m going to order up a full custom cycling suit from the folks at Hebeden Cord Co. Ltd (located, of course, in bespokelandia, Great Britain). First item in my order will be a pair of cycling “plusses” made out of an avantgard blend of twill and–gasp–stretch polyester (for the knee hinge, mind you).
Browsing through the Hebden Cord catalogue I come closest to realizing my central consumer fantasy: mail ordering from the past. The company’s catalogue cover image and product illustrations resemble ads from old singer sewing patterns or department store circular/flyers from the nineteen thirties. I’m sure that if ever do secure my cycling plusses I’ll be instantly transported back to a line drawing countryside scene in which I’m riding a Raleigh 3-speed against against orange acrylic sky.
In a future post I’ll showcase of my personal collection of fabric and leather swatches (a central tenet of my austerity practice–delaying purchase by mulling over an infinite number of customizeable features) including about thirty wool and corduroy samples from Hebden (who lack any sort of web presence and thus require formal written requests by post).