Archival Clothing - Made in USA

Posts Tagged ‘Shopping from the movies’

Archival Picnic

July 31st, 2013

From the archives, here are some exemplary snaps of classic summer picnics.  What could be better than an impromptu, plein air meal in the trees, next to water or on the patio of a tent trailer.  When Tom packs for a picnic, he prefers to bring along real plates, flatwear and glasses.  Lynn has been shopping for Made in USA picnic supplies that add a little kick to the spread.  Her recent finds include compostable wooden spoons, paper drinking straws and of course, canvas throws.  Since I’m spending so many outdoor hours on my bicycle, I prefer to picnic indoors, via my screen surrogate, Doris Day, and her Sleep-Tite pajama factory colleagues.  The Fosse choreographed, Once a Year Day picnic, perfectly encapsulates all the wild glee, group dancing, aspirational color blocking  and mass mayhem of a first rate American picnic.  A future post will address the lost of art of picnic blanket tossing.

Archival Playground

May 13th, 2013
Thanks to Elizabeth Peterson and Dave Baker for making Adventure Playgrounds (1965) available via the UO Channel.  This 16mm short film demonstrates the concept of the adventure playground, a place where children construct play spaces out of raw building materials (“no swings or seesaws, only things created by the hands of the children from waste materials on the site”). Like many educational films of the era,  Adventure Playground escalates the success of the program.  Suddenly, the children’s “building, burrowing and digging” morphs into a bicycle shop, a literary journal and a canteen where tea is served.  What I love most about the film is the fact that all the children look like they were garbed by Old Town Clothing.  The derelict bombsite becomes a playground for boys in belted shorts, sturdy corduroy jackets, summerweight cardigans, cotton poplin shirts and durable lace up oxfords. 


Shopping from the movies: The Queen (2006)

May 1st, 2012

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:

Shopping from the movies: On Any Sunday (1971)

February 29th, 2012

On Any Sunday (Brown 1971), the famous 1971 motorcycle documentary, has been shopped to death. Over the years, gent bloggers have obsessed over the film’s motorcycles, wax jackets, leather boots and Steve McQueen footage. Coming late to this movie, I gravitated to the section dealing with the six day international motorcycle trial in Spain. As a randonneur, I appreciate any sporting event that emphasizes endurance, durable clothing, modest rewards and an ethos of self reliance (riders must maintain their own machines during the race).

Here are a few of my favorite small details from On Any Sunday:

Red kerchief; rear snap closure pockets on jacket

Self-reliant motorcycle maintenance

Anorak and jockey goggles over eyeglasses

Cotton web strap holding the metal skid plate in place (nylon now for sure)

Stylish spectator in Spain

Pristine pit crew

Modest winner’s medallion

Mixed use trail

Shopping from the movies: Shoot the Moon (Parker 1982)

June 24th, 2011

Some films are better watched on fast forward or reproduced as film stills. Shoot the Moon (Parker 1982) is just such a movie — playing out like an Ingmar Bergman domestic drama populated by Woody Allen characters. While we’re asked to focus on the dissolving marriage of Albert Finney and Diane Keaton, one’s eye cannot help but wander to the the family’s shared taste in classic clothing: wonderful cotton plaids, knits, woolens and jackets sourced (perhaps) from venerable brands like Barbour, Woolrich and Pendleton.

I’ve reproduced a few stills for reference:

Rugby stripes and heritage garb for kids

Knit cardigans

Plaids (and pencil sharpeners)

Barbour Solway Zipper jackets (and a fetching duffle)

Woolrich jac-shirts

Down vests
Pendleton blanket robes

Cotton knit caps

And a few a household accessories:

Rotary phones

Backyard tennis courts
Family station wagons

Shopping from the Movies: Christopher Strong (Arzner 1935)

February 13th, 2011

Newspaper subscriptions


Tennis rackets

Silver coffee service

Party costumes



Console radios

Jackets & jodhpurs


Field dogs

Steamer trunks

Aviatrix garb

Hats & overcoats

Nautical tops

Vacations abroad

A Christmas Memory (Perry 1956)

December 24th, 2010

Next to Fanny & Alexander and Brazil, A Christmas Memory (Perry 1956) is my favorite holiday film. Narrated by Truman Capote and starring Geraldine Page, A Christmas Memory proposes seasonal rituals I’d like to reenact: paper kite construction, Christmas tree salvage, serving nips of Whiskey to minors and mass fruit cake production (funded through the staging of a “fun and freak show”).

Our family VHS copy of A Christmas Memory has warped and color shifted to blue. However, I locate a copy on YouTube (in 6 segments!). Watch it before it disappears from view.

“Oh my,” she exclaims, her breath smoking the windowpane, “it’s fruitcake weather!”

Together, we guide our buggy, a dilapidated baby carriage, out to the garden and into a grove of pecan trees.

But before these purchases can be made, there is the question of money. Neither of us has any.

Thirty-one cakes, dampened with whiskey, bask on windowsills and shelves.

“Giveya two-bits” cash for that ol tree.”

But when it comes time for making each other’s gift, my friend and I separate to work secretly.

My friend has a better haul. A sack of Satsumas, that’s her best present. She is proudest, however, of a white wool shawl knitted by her married sister.

“This is our last Christmas together”

Shopping from the Movies: Pencil Sharpeners

November 7th, 2010
Outfitting the new office in The Good Fairy (Sturges 1932)

If you’re like us, you’ve given up purchasing new desk accessories. Current offerings at stores such as Staples are uninspired. We prefer to comb thrift store aisles for tape dispensers, pen holders, metal files and the occasional typewriter.

Movies are an excellent source for office supplies. We recommend shopping from films of the nineteen thirties. Desk accessories from this era were well made with an emphasis on scientific precision and good design.

Case and point is the pencil sharpening “instrument” purchased by Dr. Max Sporum in The Good Fairy (Sturgess 1932).

“Ah, there it is! You don’t know how much this means to me.”

“Have you ever wanted something all your life and then suddenly it arrives?”

“This was my great ambition.”

“So smooth. It must have ball bearings.”

“Glorious! Like a needle. Have you ever seen such a point?”
“It takes all sizes.”

“If you paid a little more attention to pencil sharpeners, you might not work in a stationery shop all your life.”

Were his sharpener to give out after a decade, here are some options for Dr. Sporum:

From the Montgomery Ward catalog (1947)