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Ralph Lauren is back with Customization.

Ralph Lauren has been round and round with great ideas and new selections based on trends and emerging technology. Over the years the company has tried many offshoots that were well designed, but folded them back into their regular collection after brief unsuccessful runs. RUGBY and Denim & Supply are two of the most recent. RUGBY was a great line of collegiate-inspired clothing that was priced below the RRL line, yet offered many of the same great designs in different materials. Sadly, it went away after 2 years and was replaced by Denim & Supply, which was targeted more at the 20-something crowd. There were some gems within the line over the 2 or so seasons, but in order to make it affordable they were forced to use less expensive materials in their manufacturing and they sacrificed quality. Again, it was folded into the regular Polo line last year. I can only hope it will force the Polo line to gain a bit of the edginess that both the RUGBY and D&S lines had, as Polo has been flavorless for 2 decades, almost as if they are waiting for the 80’s prep movement to swing back into fashion. Once and a while you can find a piece in the Polo line that borrows concepts from RUGBY and D&S, but it is rare and a bit watered down to cater to the conservative Polo customer.

This season RL has introduced the first of its customizable garments, most likely playing off the success of smaller makers lines like Hometown Jersey. Their first foray to put their toes in the water is a customizable knit sweater, where the buyer “designs” their own knit sweater with changeable elements. It runs $198 and they promise it is delivered in 4 weeks. I took a stab at it and this is what I came up with:

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Time will tell whether this is a successful product, or whether they will add different styles, such as Rugby shirts. RL has always made great patches, so we can only hope they move forward in this arena. I still think their best work is in RRL, but most of the time the prices make it prohibitive to add much to the wardrobe, especially when most of it is manufactured in China. The designs in RRL are great, but sometimes the Chinese materials don’t warrant the premium pricing. If RL can expand the customize program and keep the pricing down I think they will find success with this part of the line. Hometown Jersey is more affordable than RL’s first sweater option, and because Hometown Jersey is a small U.S. company with a quality handmade product, and the fact that they have amazing friendly people at the helm, I am less inclined to jump on one of the RL sweaters. I like RL, but I REALLY like Hometown Jersey, so I will wait to see what’s next in the line for RL.

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A poor picture of me in my custom Hometown Jersey

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The perfect military pant.

When I obsess, I obsess… I have been trying to find the perfect standard Army pant in herringbone for quite some time. The trick is that I would love to have as close to the original HBT herringbone as possible and a button fly. After searching for a year or so I have found a couple that are pretty close, but still no cigar.

Gung Ho Olive Camp Trouser:

The Gung Ho series is pretty close to what I have been looking for. They have a button fly, a straight cut, and are pretty heavy canvas, which should age well. The missing link is the herringbone fabric. These are a stiff 12.5 oz cotton without sheen (which I am pleased about). I am a pretty true 34 waist so I ordered them in 34 and they are a bit snug through the seat, but are starting to loosen up with wear. The price was great through Hand Eye Supply in Portland at $55.00 plus shipping. They don’t stock many of each size, but you can get an email update when they are back in stock.

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Gung Ho Camp Trouser

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Gung Ho Camp Trouser in Military Drab

I removed the annoying purple tag on the back. They also come in a nice brown color.

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Gung Ho Camp trouser in Brown Duck

Denim & Supply Distressed Army Pant:

I really like the Denim & Supply distressed army pant. It has a great fit and the fabric is interesting. The fly is a button fly and the fit is perfect, although they run a tad bit large. The 34×32 fit me perfectly. They are not herringbone. The biggest drawback is that they are distressed and paint spattered. I cannot wear them too often, unless it is a completely casual event. Originally they were overpriced at $198.00, but I found them on heavy discount for $80.00 and ordered a second pair after receiving the first to be sure I had a backup pair. RRL has basically the exact pant, but they are even more expensive and do not have the distressing. You are definitely paying for the RRL name for the same pant. I wouldn’t even dare pay &198.00 for the D&S pair, let alone $265.00 for the same pant with different labels.

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Denim & Supply Distressed Army Pant

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Denim & Supply Distressed Army Pant

The RRL version claims to be herringbone, but it looks the same as the D&S to me, which is textures, but not herringbone. It does have the waist adjustment tabs but they will cost you an extra couple hundred bucks.

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RRL Military Pant

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RRL Military Pant

I know in seasons past that RRL had a herringbone version of the Korean War HBT pant that ran around $269.00. They also did a raw Gurkha version in rigid brown herringbone duck. Both pants are gone and most likely won’t return.

 

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RRL Herringbone HBT Pant

 

 

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RRL Herringbone HBT Pant

 

 

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RRL Gurkha Pant in Herringbone Duck

 

 

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13 Star Buttons on RRL Gurkha Pant

 

JCrew Wallace & Barnes Garment Dyed Herringbone Miliary Pant:

This is the big drag! I found these pants at the end of the season at JCrew, but they were sold out! They look like they checked all the boxes. I even called the customer service department to see if they could track some down for me but they were completely gone throughout the company. I am scouring the web to see if any pop up…

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Wallace & Barnes Garment Dyed Herringbone Military Pant

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Wallace & Barnes Garment Dyed Herringbone Military Pant

Maybe they will reissue them, since they sold out fairly quickly. Until then I will be forced to obsess…

Anybody out there know of any other button fly herringbone military pant I should check out?

Update: May 8, 2017

Knickerbocker MFG, Co. Utility Pant

I came across Knickerbocker Manufacturing Co.’s Utility pant the other day. It seems that it might be right on the mark. Great construction with Japanese herringbone fabric. 13 Star button fly. A little less that the RRL version (although still pricey) at $215. I might have to pull the trigger (no pun intended) on this one. If I do, I will update with fitting information.

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Update: May 28, 2017

Levis Utility Pant

Another end of season winner! Levis has made a great replica. It’s not herringbone, but the rest is nearly perfect. Button Fly with hidden placket. Side adjustments at waist. Sturdy textured fabric, mimicking the original fabric of Vietnam era trousers. Fits nice and slim with a straight leg. I wear a 34Wx32L and the only suggestion I have is that you step up and order 2″ longer than usual. The inseam is slightly slightly slightly short. They also fit just right without washing at the waist and seat. Hopefully they wont tighten up or I will have to stop drinking… They make shorts in the same cut and these pants come in a few different colors. The only challenge you might have is that they are already discontinued and are on sale for $19.97 down from $79.00 at Levis.com. I ordered 3 pair in 2 different lengths.

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Tether car graphics

Tether cars have been around for a long time. The actual vintage cars run up into the thousands of dollars for the well made versions from the 40’s and 50’s. I love the graphics on the old boxes…


The Postman Brings Goodies

It was a good week for me in regards to poster collecting. I received a couple of packages from my international dealers.

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Vintage Motorcycle Sweaters

Some nice examples of vintage motorcycle racing sweaters from a recent auction.


Motorcycle Pennants

A recent auction featured a collection of vintage motorcycle pennants. I still cannot afford to collect them but I am obsessed.


1958 Dodge D100 Color Rendering

The boys over at VR Garage are moving along with the 58 Dodge D100 project. New motor and transmission are in. Cracks in the frame have been cased and welded. We were talking about some color combinations this week and came up with a nice rootbeer brown flake to compliment the patina. To see what it might look like I mocked it up.

Next it is on to the brakes, suspension, steering, wheels, electrical… oof!

 

 


Sweet Motorcycle Racing Pennant

Another one bites the dust…

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Race-O-Drome Wall of Death Poster

Bummer, I missed out on a vintage motorcycle racing window card that I had never seen before.

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Jeep CJ2A Update

It’s been a while since I posted any photos of the 1948 Jeep CJ2A. Since last time I have powder coated the wheels, rebuilt the carb, ordered a military sun top, and changed all the brake lines. Still more to do, but it is looking good.

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