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Category Archives: Fashion

Help Bring ’em Back! Carhartt Series 1889

So, I have kept it quiet for a very long time, hoping that a few more pairs would show up on their website for me to secretly gobble up, but alas, it seems they might be gone forever, unless we can garner support. I am talking about the best work pants ever! The Carhartt Series 1889 Double Front Work Dungaree. This was a limited series that Carhartt issued back in 2015, that was based on original designs when the company was founded. Now, I have worn regular Carhartt carpenter style work pants for years when I am actually doing construction or remodeling, but I have always had a problem with the “relaxed fit”. Even when they fit me in the waist I am swimming in huge wide legs and a flat ass-section. Not so with the 1889’s! They are a nice slim cut with a button fly! Same heavy duty duck canvas as the standard bullet proof pants, but they actually have a flattering cut. I discovered them in 2016 when I was searching for heritage work pants. I had been looking at selvedged work pants that retailed in the $200 – $300 price range when I came across these at $69.00. I ordered a pair to try them out and was instantly in love. I wore them a few times as fashion jeans with my Redwings and received multiple compliments, so I raced back to order another color. By the time I went back to the website in early 2016 they were already out of the standard duck-brown color in my size, so I ordered a pair in mushroom brown to go along with my original moss green pair and put in a “notify me” note for a notification when they were back in stock. Shortly after I got a note from Carhartt saying that they were discontinued but that they would notify production that I was interested, and that retail stores might have some left. My next visit to Portland I checked 2 stores to find that they never had them. My next visit to Seattle I hit a flagship store, where I was told that they briefly had them, but they were out and that they got lots of requests for them to come back and that they would notify production that I was interested and give me a call if they came back in. Since 2016 I have emailed several times and checked the website monthly to see if anything was happening. Nada! I even ordered another back-up pair in moss green in the wrong length, knowing I could hem them when my others wore out. Yes, they are THAT GOOD. Now I figured I would talk about them a bit and drive some traffic to their website to spur activity and hopefully entice them to rerun the style. So, here are the standard website photos (I haven’t photographed my personal pairs):

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I encourage you all to hop over to the website: Carhartt Series 1889

Once there, I encourage you to add them to your wishlist and/or send a note to Carhartt to bring them back. Maybe, just maybe, you will be lucky and they will have your size. If they do have your size, order them right away. You won’t be sorry.

They fit true to size and they are rugged. They say “relaxed seat and thigh” on the website, but I can assure you they are a straight cut. Not overly skinny, but slim and straight. Just right. Not hipster. I am 6’1″ and 195 lbs with a 34″ waist and a 32″ inseam. That is what I ordered and they are perfect, if not a tiny bit loose in the waist. I don’t dry mine in the dryer, so they did not shrink at all. The length is also a tiny bit longer than a standard 32″ pant, but not enough to cuff them. I love the button fly, it is my preferred fly enclosure. The vintage style tags are also a plus, setting them apart from standard Carhartt work pants.

For a while I was wondering if they would issue them under the Carhartt WIP label, since they are heritage, but not even over there have they shown up. I personally would pay $100 a pair for these and I am sure you would too, once you try them on.

Help a brother out – visit the web page, email them, wishlist them, and then thank me later if you get a pair. And don’t be offended when your mates on the worksite compliment you on your pants…

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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


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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Vintage Motorcycle Sweaters

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


Havstad Hat Co.

This whole stars-lining-up story I have been telling for a few weeks is starting to sound a little unbelievable. Since I have been giving up a few things in my public life and concentrating on more things in my private life I have been starting to feel a little grounded. Perhaps that is why good coincidences are popping up more frequently.

The latest odd coincidence I had was that I had been studying up on some underground denim producers and collectors and came across the Desert & Denim Show, happening out in the California desert. Somewhere in my reading I saw a really amazing hand-made hat and started remembering my acquaintance in New York City, Philip Treacy, and his passion for the art of millinery. At the time we used to hang out he was  a young crazy oddball from London that was trying to find his way into the fashion scene in New York. We used to kid him that the art of hat making was an old person’s art and that nobody really wore hats anymore. Had I known where he would be in 20 years I would have bought every hat he was making at the time as an investment.

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Philip Treacy and his hats

 

Forward 22 years and look at where Philip is and the state of hat demand now… Accompany that with the Makers and Heritage movements and the time is perfect for crafts like hand made hats to finally find their time in the sun.

After a little more digging to find the origin of the hat I had seen in the background of the photo from Desert & Denim I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was made by someone in my own backyard. Literally! The hat was made by Cate Havstad of the Havstad Hat Co. and it is located in Bend, Oregon. Not 2 miles from my house. Now I am obsessed to meet Cate, check out her studio, and commission a hat. Too bad I don’t like myself in hats, hers are amazing.

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Havstad hats at Desert & Denim

 

I took these photos from her FB page and I didn’t ask permission. I hope she doesn’t hold it against me. She looks to be a nice person…

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Cate Havstad and her sidekick

 

Check out her website and order yourself a hat! I almost didn’t post all this because once she blows up I will never be able to afford one anymore.

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I’m off to start learning to like myself in hats…


Gustin Jeans – 1st Order

Gustin Selvedged Denim

I have received my first pair of Gustin selvedged jeans in the post. I ordered them two and a half months ago and have been anxiously awaiting their arrival to see if they would meet my OCD standards, especially at the price, which is less than half price from my usual Baldwin Denim and Levis Vintage Clothing selections.

For those of you that are not familiar with the Gustin concept, it breaks down like this: Gustin is a company based in California that uses a crowd-funding model for their distribution. They introduce a run of jeans, belts, bags, shirts, wallets or jackets and then wait for the introduction to be 100% funded before going into production. Once it is funded they close the run and proceed with production. Jeans take from 1 to 15 days to fund, depending on fabric and then another month or so to proceed through production. From start to finish on the pair I ordered took around 2.5 months to receive in the mail. They use only premium materials and heavy duty proprietary hardware and all is manufactured here in the USA. Some of the denim is Japanese but mainly it is American selvedged denim, much coming from the Cone Mills.

For my first pair I was intrigued by a super heavy 16 oz denim from Cone Mills. I waited for a run to be introduced for funding and jumped on it quickly, as the previous introduction of the same fabric sold out in 2 days. The style was called the American Sixteener.

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(When I received my pair the slevedged trim had a red stripe instead of the pictured orange, which didn’t bother me a bit, but I felt should be mentioned.)

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I am 6’1″ tall and weigh between 185 – 190 lbs. I have a “regular” build, without being an athlete, but fortunate to have balanced proportions. My true waist is between a 34 and a 35, depending on the Scotch consumption. I prefer a slim cut jean, but cannot pull off a “hipster” slim. This should set the stage for fitting.

I ordered a 34 waist in the Slim cut for the American Sixteener. After it funded and went to production my OCD kicked in and I started to worry that I should have ordered the standard cut, as with Baldwin Denim I cannot wear their slim cut Henleys without feeling like I am trying too hard to be 20 years younger than I am. With postage I was spending just over $100 and Gustin jeans are not returnable because of their production model. So, I waited with shallow breath for them to arrive and confirm my worst OCD fears.

When the mail arrived and I slipped the jeans from their Priority Mail pouch I was immediately impressed by the hand of the jeans. They were indeed heavy, and they felt very quality. Upon examination I was also impressed at the details. They have a nice red stitching on the hem, which is a nice contrast when cuffed. They have a selvedged belt loop, which is the perfect accent and alerts fellow fashionistas that you play in the selvedged pool, if you don’t like your jeans cuffed. The leather patch is thick. The proprietary hardware is heavy duty and quality. There is a nice blue stitch across the back pocket, setting these apart from other generic looking premium denim brands. All said, I was excited to try them on.

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(Not a photo of me. I took it from the Gustin website to show the slim cut fit.)

Waist: They run small! It might be because the 16 oz denim is completely unforgiving, but I really had to squirm around to get into the 34 inch waist. I sucked in the gut and forced them closed, half expecting to main button to fly off and kill the cat. Once closed I felt like a sausage and my ass became twice as non-existent as it already is. I started to wonder if I was going to get a wallet in the back pocket.

Length: The length was great. It is a full 36 inches and I could double cuff with a 2″ cuff if I chose, which with my Levis Vintage I often have a challenge cuffing them at all with brogues or dress shoes. I chose to do a single fold cuff, leaving me a nice 4 inch exposure of nice selvedged goodness.

Cut: The Slim cut turned out to be perfect! Not too thin! I am very happy I didn’t order the regular cut, although looking at the measurement guide on the Gustin site there is not a huge difference in the regular and the slim. I will stick with Slim cut moving forward.

After getting over my anxiety of the tightness I squatted a few times and walked around a bit with my wallet stuffed in my back pocket and am encouraged that I can breathe. I was trying to think back on my initial purchase of my Baldwins with a 34 inch waist to remember if they gave me the same feeling, but I have to remember that I was 5 lbs lighter and the weight of these Sixteeners changes that comparison.

The only other side note I have is that because of the weight of the fabric one of the pocket rivets did not set correctly and popped off when I was squeezing in to the jeans for the first time. Disappointing, but not devastating, even with my OCD.

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I am wearing them today and will report back as to how soon they start to feel like my own jeans. My overall impression of them is a 9+ and I can see myself ordering many products from them in the future. I will wait to see if I need to step up to a 35 waist, or if instead I need to lay off the Scotch and grub…

*Update: After reading my blog post a customer rep at Gustin contacted me and expressed both their appreciation of the review and their desire to rectify the rivet that popped off. I am now awaiting a rivet replacement in the post and will replace the rivet with a fresh one when they arrive. Another big plus on my opinion of Gustin. I wasn’t complaining, yet they chose to make it right, which is rare in this modern internet customer service world. Cheers to Gustin! Also, after wearing the American Sixteens for a couple of days now I am starting to feel them give a bit and begin to take on my form. I am loving the thickness of the 16oz denim.


1950’s Hercules Plaid Pea Coat

Another one of my vintage jackets

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Rowdy Rebels MC jacket

I have been wanting to start documenting pieces from my collection of vintage jackets for quite some time. This is the start…

The first jacket is a 1940’s Horsehide Motorcycle Jacket. It has the original detachable fur collar and is in near flawless condition.

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Selvedged Denim – The Whole Story

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I own many pairs of selvedged denim jeans. When talking to other fashionistas about the Heritage trend in American fashion I spend alot of time explaining what selvedged denim is and pointing people to the numerous articles out there explaining the history of selvedged denim and the current  state of the fabric. Rather than rehash those articles in my own words I have decided to put a series of links to some of the best articles out there on the old interweb. Spend some time and read about what made American jeans the envy of the world and why selvedged denim is a justifiable expensive obsession:

Todd Shelton’s Article

Rawr Denim’s Article

AlphaCityGuide’s Article

MapleMoto’s Article referencing Mens File Magazine

Denim Archive’s documentation of fading from wear without wash

Some of my favorite brands:

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Levis Vintage Clothing

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Baldwin Denim

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Railcar Fine goods

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Raleigh Denim

And at the heart of it all –

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Cone Denim Mills


1950’s Montgomery Ward Powr House Work Jacket

This bad boy passed by on eBay today. I was watching it and knew it would go high. If it had been a little bigger I would have bid on it. It is a classic wool and leather work jacket produced by Montgomery Ward. Brilliant!

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