When I was a student in Seattle, the University pool leased out woolen bathers for day use. This was 1990. I’m pretty sure the school stocked their supply from the municipal pool in Buster Keaton’s The Camerman. If you’re shopping for your very own vintage suit, I advise that you browse the listings on ebay. A recent search produced many handsome models. My favorites are those made by the Portland, Oregon based Jantzen swimwear company. The company’s logo – a swan diving lady – is in desperate need of reissue.
We have just taken delivery of a small reorder of our Archival Zip Cardigans in Navy and Olive. Knitted from 4-ply worsted wool on circular knitting machines from the 1930s, the fabric is sturdy, warm, and pill resistant. This historical sweater design features a low rib knit shawl collar, a two-way brass zipper, and knitted cuffs. Double thickness elbows reinforce that wear point without an unsightly external patch. Pocket bags are trimmed with multi-weave wool.
The fit is trim and athletic – on the slim side of regular. Sizes available from XS to XL.
Thanks to CC Filson for providing me with this archival scan of the original Filson Wool Sports Jacket. As someone who has worn Filson for twenty years, I can spot a Cruiser, Cape Coat or Packer just by catching a glimpse of a pocket configuration, fabric type or design detail. In contrast, the Filson Wool Sports Jacket is an enigmatic Filson model which comes from an era in the 1980s when the company was experimenting with a line of leisure, non hunting apparel. If you spotted this jacket at a thrift store you might not even identifying it as a Filson. I myself was thrown off by the heathered brown wool, satin lining and leather buttons – features more characteristic of a department store car coat.
Given that I spent the day cycling through a heat advisory, it’s odd that I’m fixating on a Fall layering piece – the Patagonia Nano Puff Hybrid. I first spotted the NPH in a Patagonia catalog – one of the last print catalogs worth browsing. As photographed, I love the NPH’s blend of fabric types: wind blocking primaloft above with with better venting fleece below. For real outdoor use, I prefer wool to fleece, but this garment – especially in what the catalog calls “paintbrush orange” – is a visual stunner. I’ve emailed Patagonia to request a version for women. I was told that a model is in the works for Fall 2013. Let’s hope they offer it in the same colorway as the gents. And if Patagonia is taking requests, they might consider offering the jacket with a two way zip for better fit and venting.
Check out the FYi Design blog to read about the development of the NPF and to see detailed views of the garment.
If you’re a devotee of wool, but you like the look of the Nano Puff Hybrid, track down one of the original Filson Outdoorsman sweaters knit from worsted wool with reinforced, waxed cotton shoulders.
We have a few remaining Archival Stripe Cardigans available from our Fall pre-order. Our Stripe Cardigan is machine knit by our friends at Centralia Knitting Mills using 3-ply worsted wool. The end result is a tight, flat weave that is warm, durable and pill-resistant, with an American sportswear fit.
This historical sweater design features a standard collar and a five button placket. The cardigan is made from a slightly lighter weight, 3 ply wool which makes it more suitable for indoor/outdoor wear.
Centralia Knitting Mills have been knitting sweaters of superb quality since 1939 in Centralia, Washington. The wool used in these sweaters is sourced from New England.
Here’s a sporty wool knit glove style worth reviving. In my years of browsing outdoor clothing catalogs, I somehow overlooked what’s known as the Millarmitt (modern manufacturers have morphed the “a” to an “e”). According to catalog patter, the gloves are hand crocheted in the UK of silicone treated wool, with slip resistant cotton palms.
Millarmitts offered by Patagonia circa 1975 (full catalog scan here)
I understand that the Millarmitt is traditionally popular with technical climbers and fly fisherman. The fingerlessness provides extra dexterity and, even when wet, the wool will keep the hands warm. I’d wear these for cycling or walking the hound. My use of a smart phone makes the fingerlessness extra appealing (no touch screen gloves at Archival).
Archival Finder Alan Woods located a modern source for Millarmitts in the UK, Chester Jeffries (a company deserving of its own “shopping from” post). I have not verified that the gloves are still being knit by English women in their own homes.
Editor’s note: A month ago, Chris Adamiak, Damn-Yak Dry Goods proprietor, emailed me about a vintage Filson cruiser he spotted on Etsy. He asked for my help in identifying the fabric which is lighter weight than the 24 oz. melton wool used for current model Filson cruisers. I forwarded along some Filson catalog scans speculating that the fabric in question was a discontinued worsted wool serge. Chris purchased the Cruiser and, at my request, wrote up a review for Archival.
The Filson Cruiser in question
In Canada, Filson doesn’t have the availability as it does in the States. The distributors are few and far, and when we order online we face massive shipping, duty, and custom fees (due to the weight of Filson’s heavy fabric). It makes me so upset reading tales in forums of people finding Tin Cloth Cruisers in Thrift stores for $5. Finding Filson anything, in any store here is a miracle and being 6’5″ makes the search even harder for vintage items.
I have spent countless hours scouring Etsy, Ebay, and many other vintage clothing shops online for decently priced Filson that I can actually wear. Two weeks ago I stumbled upon this late 50’s to mid 60’s green wool cruiser for $50. The measurements seem to match my Pointer brand chore coat I wear daily. So without hesitation I scooped it up. After my purchase I contacted Lesli, in regard to its fabric, because in the picture on the listing it seemed very light. With a quick reply she sent me a link to a old catalog page (see below) suggesting that it might be worsted serge. However, on that same catalog picture there is no mention of a green worsted serge, only grey, brown, or beige. Then I saw the display tag from AC’s Flickr page for a early forestry cloth cruiser. It states that forestry cloth is a green Worsted serge. This made me even more excited. Could it be a rarer piece in my size?
Last week the Etsy Cruiser arrived and taking it out of the package, I was amazed at how “new” it was. It looked like it was only worn maybe one season. I was also surprised at the weight of the jacket. It was not light and flimsy but quite heavy and tough. The tight, diagonal wool twill does not stretch, and has no problem blocking all the light when held up to a bulb. The fit is true Filson. I wear a 44 suit and this is bang on. Although looking at the label there is no size tag, so I cannot be sure of its exact size. The green color is still very pure, with only tiny specks of fading. Also this past week here in Toronto it has been about 9*C (48*F) in the morning and I was surprised at how warm this cruiser is. Along with being very warm , the cruiser still provides plenty of movement and doesn’t catch and stay up on my back when reaching above my head. I have never worn a Filson Mackinaw, but I have heard that they are quite heavy and extremely warm. I have a early Woolrich Buffalo plaid mackinaw and you can forget being indoors for any length of time with a coat like that on! That’s where the Cruiser coat fits in perfectly. The fabric is thin enough to move from outdoors to indoors, tough enough to trek through thickets and brush, tight enough to ward off light showers and snow, and roomy enough for layering options underneath.
I am not exactly sure if it the jacket is made in forestry cloth or whipcord, as I have never held or seen either up close. But what I do know is that this cruiser is not a standard issue item. Why Filson eliminated this fabric as a standard cruiser option baffles me — they still make shirts out of serge and pants out of whipcord. From what I have been told, they will still make whipcord cruisers in their custom shop for a greater price. Its a great seasonal transition coat, from Summer to Fall and Winter to Spring. This coat will definitely be a new daily driver for me from city to forest. And as much as I really like this coat, the search for these kind of pieces never ever really ends!
Archival is pleased to announce the release of our firstall wool scarf. Our scarf is made just for us in Portland, Oregon from fine gauge worsted wool yarn from Maine. The wonderfully unique knit pattern was developed by one of our manufacturers to use up a stockpile of acrylic yarn; when Tom spotted it in their factory he knew that we’d have to make it in wool. The open knit makes the scarf lightweight, wonderfully cozy, and plenty warm. It’s sure to become an everyday favorite in chilly weather. Dimensions: 70″ x 8″
Colorways: Graphite/Curry/Navy/Royal Blue
Our original all acrylic sample (not for sale)
Special thanks to Nicole and Erin for sourcing the fine gauge wool and Keri and Dave for their fit testing notes.
We’re updating the AC web shop with Fall items from Rising Sun, Leather Head Sports, Saint James and Columbiaknit. Check out our Columbiaknit cotton caps in new colorways. And by popular demand, we’re bringing in a new logo-neutral Cooperstown Ball Cap in our favorite color, navy blue. Stay tuned for updates on more items coming to the AC shop including Individualized shirts and a from-the-archives, machine knit wool scarf.
Dry Bones is a terrific clothing company out of Tokyo, Japan. While their primary focus is on denim, Dry Bones also makes beautiful, 50’s inspired outerwear. My favorite is this insulated, wool tweed car coat (google unreliably translates the model name as “Pharaoh“). I love the two-tone flecked wool, exposed 2-way zip and knit ribbed collar and cuffs. The inside of the coat looks as stylish as the outside. This is one of those pieces that absolutely looks like it has been shopped from past.