I spend a lot of time on ebay sleuthing pint sized sizes garments from Japan and Europe. Here’s a jacket from Beams Boy that I’m catching and releasing. It’s a style that frequently appears in the Beams mix in a range of fabrics (primarily poplin and cotton duck). I’m a sucker for the doll-sized hunting-esque jacket look, but I’m not a huge fan of the back belt or plastic buttons (miming the fancy fawn-embossed brass types you see on tyrolean wool tunics).
As you may know, I’m a petite woman. It’s nearly impossible for me to find the type of vintage and outdoor clothing that I love (hunting-inspired garb, waxed cotton jackets, french knitwear, etc.) in sizes that fit. And my Kondo-mission at the moment is to only only buy clothing that I would wear on a weekly basis (or I must release back into the ether). So I’m clicking like on this jacket, posting some visual evidence for future reference, and letting go. If you read this post in the next few days, it’s yours!
A spot check on the Beams Boy Instastory redirected me to this curious “office style fair” capsule collection. I’m still trying to put my finger on the persona or segment archetype represented by this clothing.
I’m tapped out after a trip to Japan. Nevertheless, I’m saving up my shekels for a new Danton chore coat. Danton, a French brand licensed for distribution in France, offers sturdy, unisex work clothing for men and women in staple fabrics including poplin, cotton, and now, sturdy moleskin. Danton, like Engineered Garments, produces a line of stock styles in a seasonal refresh of heritage fabrics. Find your Danton via Zozotown, Rakuten, or B-shop (a proxy shopping service like Sutocorp may be required).
Heddels asked me to identify my “item number one,” that is, the thing I’ve owned the longest (and still use semi-regularly). Read about my rare Filson Mackinaw Cruiser for women and follow the complete series here. And reference snaps below. What is your item number one?
Filson Mackinaw Cruiser with its rare cardigan fit
Minimal signs of wear after twenty years of hard wear
Browsing through photos of female war workers from WW2, I can’t help but lament the loss of the classic, wide legged, high waisted dungaree.
While there are limitless repro and throwback heritage offerings for men (Mister Freedom and Sugar Cane always deliver) it is nearly impossible to find contemporary trousers for women in this style. Dickies 1922, Carhartt, Levi’s and Filson have produced, on again, off again, trousers for women (with light nods to historic design details). Gamine, a new brand on the block, sells a lovey cinchback trouser, that nearly looks like something you would find in a WPA photograph. However, it is rare to see a major denim brand offering a model that dares to be as audacious in voluminous dimensions, and as high waisted, as those original, government issue trousers. Revisiting a favorite flickr set from from the Library of Congress, 1930-40s in color, to remind myself of what dungarees look like in native environs, as a default (and perfunctory) uniform.
Denim for women is tricky. After many years, I have narrowed my own brand make/model preferences down to Levi’s LVC 501 (1947), Rogue Territory Stanton, and Sugar Cane 1947. I prefer old school, mile wide leg openings, high rises, and huge cuffs. I’m a not-so-curvy, shortish woman, so I can get away with modifying men’s models to fit my body. That being said, many friends ask me what jeans I like and what to buy. Rather than sending them on an impossible journey of denim discovery (minimum five year timeline), I’m trying to short circuit the search process and drum up some readymade recommendations.
Criteria: denim that is well made, durable, washable, stylish, and includes historical design features. Pricepoint is a separate issue. Most friends are willing to pay under $200 for what they identify as premium denim. Women who are looking for workwear for use outdoors may wish to pay less (given that the pennies-per-wear model stategy doesn’t really work when you are replacing your jeans every six months or so).
My current denim workwear recommendation is Gamine. Gamine started out producing denim for gardeners. They have expanded their audience to “geologists, farmers, and weekend warriors.”
Even when I am in austerity mode, I love to browse Rakuten to see what is on offer for Japanese shoppers. A decade later, I remain fascinated by all the licensed euro brands that show up in small Japanese web shops (Kempel, Danton, Yarmo, Sierra Designs, Brady, to name a few). I cannot think of another place in the world where brands and styles are imported, reimagined, and than sold exclusively to a domestic audience. Fortunately, Rakuten has developed a worldwide shipping service that has opened many webshops to international customers. I tend to browse the new shops for brands and than sift the used clothing sites for bargains. I am always looking for updates on staple items or cues as to how stylish Japanese customers are sporting their garb. Here are so recent finds.
FWK Engineered Garments lab coat paired with rolled trousers and Parabook loafers. As someone who locked in my high water pant height years ago, I love the Japanese commitment to the extreme ankle exposure and socklessness.
I love Japanese appetite for special white and off white color treatments. You won’t find these Brady bags or Barbour jackets in the US or UK.
Several fave web shops have reached stasis in they model catalog clothing. The approach applies to men and women and goes something like: knit cap, long chore or lab coat, baggy trousers, socklessness and sneakers, clogs or loafers.
Interesting twist on the UK Lavenham equestrian jacket. I like the idea that a summer jacket would be designed with a quilt lining. The pockets on the jacket are pitch perfect.
I’ve seen a number of web shops market kids clothing to women. For me, this proves that a customer base exists for heritage clothing resized to fit women (without compromising design details or creating separate colorways). I only wish more US apparel companies would adopt this approach (or at least expand the size offerings of the kids lines to include XL and XXL).
Danton is my new FWK Engineered Garments. I love the round collar, windproof jacket. I already own a few copies and anxiously await a new release in a melton wool or cotton twill.
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.
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?
We’re partnering with our friends at Tradlands on an American-made giveaway package valued at $600. Winner will receive an Archival Shoulder Tote, a Purl Scarf from Appalatch, a Hemp & Fleece Raglan from Gamine Co. and a Button-Up Shirt from Tradlands. To win, visit the Tradlands Giveaway page here.