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.
If you have a signature uniform, please post your notes to our Archival Facebook page or send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to repost more visual examples (other than mine) on the AC blog.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Aspirational layering (zippers, webbing, waxed cotton and wool)
For a little winter cheer, I’m reprinting pages from my favorite Barbour print catalog from the early 1990s. Compared to current offerings, the catalog presents a minimalist collection of jackets. Each has a specific, distinctive feature making it unique to the line. Once you memorize this catalog you’ll be able to distinguish between models based on fabric weight (light or heavyweight waxed cotton), lining (wool or cotton), pocketing (size, type and placement), length and snap gusseting (none, double or single). Synthetics are non-existent save for the quilted waistcoats and shooting jackets meant to be worn as jacket liners. The catalog’s visual presentation of the product line is exemplary. Female models are mixed into the story world without overly feminizing their looks. Almost every jacket is paired with a signature bag and breed of dog. For instance, I’m thrilled to see that the Moorland, a Barbour favorite, gets the Weimaraner treatment. Sadly, many of my favorite, more exotic models have disappeared from view including the Solway Zip, Longshoreman smock, Northumbria and Spey wading jacket. Let’s see if we can pester Barbour into bringing a few back in broader size range.
Take a look.
An all time favorite
The pockets on the Border are vast
Proposing a Barbour reissue in sizes down to XXS
I’d like to recreate this bag tangle with my own collection
The Rising Sun vest’s design is inspired by vintage hunting and shooting vests. Traditional fishing vests are cut short so they can be worn into a stream with waders. The addition of an internal game or poacher’s pocket makes them useful for upland game hunting too.
Filson makes its own Original Hunting Vest out of a heavier weight waxed canvas. I’m still waiting for Filson to introduce this garment in their collection for women. As it stands, the vest is cut long and wears more like a shelter tent than a vest. I do love all the strategic internal pocketing (and reinforced wool shoulder panels).
Rising Sun & Co vest available in indigo dyed canvas.
A recent production model in black duck canvas and white herringbone twill.
Since Man Up, I’ve been asking Rising Sun to produce a version of the vest in XS for women. This December, for a larger production run, Mike cut a few higher for a women’s fit. I finally own my own Outdoor Vest. Next to the super short, snug monkey fit, I love the vest’s deep front utility pockets. Most clothing for women skimps on functional pocketing (see recent Barbour Utility jacket for a glaring example). For daily wear, the Rising Sun vest easily carries a large smart phone, pocket camera, notebooks and writing utensils. For revision, I wish Rising Sun would add two rear carrying pockets (per LL Bean vest) and ditch the back cinch. Since the fit on the vest is so snug, the cinch has no real use value. And for me, the cinch shifts the look of the vest from field clothing to western wear.
I’ll be testing the vest for bike commuting later in Spring when the weather permits a formal transfer from wax & wool to canvas duck outerwear.
Try UK/European country clothing brands for top quality wool and tweed garments this fall. Companies like Hoggs of Fife, Barbour, Musto, Le Chameau, Chrysalis, Hucklecote, Purdey and Beretta produce practical, beautiful country clothing from best quality materials (mostly in their traditional country of origin).
In the fall, the waistcoat functions as a transitional wardrobe item, moving the user from bare armed summer to multisleeved winter. The vest allows freedom of movement while providing some protection from the elements. In contrast to the standard nylon puffy version, we love the tailored look of wool and waxed vests. Since they are designed for rugged use in the field, we know that they will last for ages. Archival Clothing endorses garments with well placed, well thought out pocketing. The pockets found on the shooting waistcoat, engineered to carry heavy shells, are my absolute favorites.
Here are a few of my favorite waistcoats, some within my pricepoint (Hoggs of Fife) and others exhibited as purely aspirational eye candy (Purdey). Most of the brands shown here offer waistcoats (and country clothing) for both men and women.
Two weeks ago, the Boulder and Eugene arms of Archival Clothing converged on San Francisco for a winter meeting. As it were, our visit corresponded with the Man Up menswear pop up market. Since we spend so much time browsing old catalogs and flickr photostreams, it was terrific to make contact with people behind some of the brands and shops we love. Highlights for us were our visits with Howard and John at the A-B Fits booth and the fine folks behind the shirting company, Taylor Stitch.
Howard of A-B Fits testing the fit of my SNS Herning cardigan
Although the show was billed as a menswear market, we were encouraged to find a few top quality clothing options for women including the Rising Sun & Co. chambray vest. With a little tailoring, I’m pretty sure I could have made the size small fit perfectly. But I’m holding out for a promised version for women. Front pocketing reminds me of one my favorite outdoor garments, the Filson original tin cloth hunting vest.
Browsing the A-B Fits Booth
Custom shirts for Archival Clothing
Shoulder slope calculator
Michael in P.G. Field vest (secured in Scotland)
Taylor Stitch Booth
We’re very excited about the custom shirts Taylor Stitch will be creating for Lynn, Tom and me. At the show, our measurements were taken and we were instructed to select fabric from an overwhelming range of swatches. The details will be transmitted to the third generation US company who manufactures the shirts for Taylor Stitch. Since it’s nearly impossible to find a well tailored, American-made shirt for women, we have high hopes for the Taylor Stitch product. We’ll post a follow-up review once our shirts arrive. We’d love to see this kind of custom clothing service expanded to include pants and coats (ala Al’s Attire). It would give women who like heritage style clothing a chance to source many of the same garments already readily available to gents (khakis, please!) .
I spoke with Jeremy (one of Man Up’s impressarios) about possibly staging a similar show in the Northwest–in the fall. It would great to bring together many of the regional manufacturers and purveyors from the Portland, Seattle and Vancouver areas. We’d be there line with our full lines of bags and perhaps a few items for women.
by Lesli Larson Archival Clothing made a quick trip to San Francisco over the weekend to see friends, visit shops, show bags and attend Andrea Marcovicci’s Johnny Mercer tribute. As it were, our visit corresponded with the opening of MAN UP, a menswear pop-up store on Market St. In the next few posts, we’ll document our finds. For now, here’s a quick visual review.