Category Archives: Fashion

Levis Type I Cone Mills Selvedged Jacket

A new classic arrived today from the Levis Vintage Clothing line. A Type I Trucker jacket based on the 1939 model with one pocket and a buckle back. It is made from Cone Mills selvedged raw denim. The fade should be nice over time.

Image

Image

Image

Image

The bad news is that this limited run sold out long ago. I found mine on eBay.


My First Sartorial Experience

For years I have been visiting with friends and fellow Sartorians about custom made suits, jackets, and shirts. Since none of my travels have been to Asia I have not had the opportunity to have custom tailoring that I could afford. Until my last visit to Ecuador, that is. Since my wife is originally from Guayaquil, Ecuador we find ourselves there every other year or so, visiting family and touring the country. 2 years ago when we were there I wandered in to a storefront selling suits “Hecho in Ecuador” and saw rows and rows of Italian fabric lining the walls. Since it was our last day in country I could only wonder what the process was like and I vowed to check it out the next time we were in Ecuador. As schedule would have it, we were there for a New Years holiday this year. As soon as our schedule allowed I headed to the store to see what the possibility was of getting a custom suit jacket made; time-frame, cost, procedure, etc.

The name of the store is Dormel and they claim to have been making suits since 1965, the year I was born. I was pleased at the coincidence and thought it a good omen.

Image

Image

I wandered around the shop for a few minutes with The Missus, looking at the ready-to-wear suit selection to get a feel for pricing. The suits were all in the $300 – $600 range, which was a good sign, since the tailoring looked good.

Image

My intention was to find a fabric that was a bit out of the ordinary and line it with a crazy colored lining, as I wanted a custom jacket to be something that looked completely different than an off-the-shelf jacket I could get in the States. The selection was quite extensive.

Image

Image

I finally found a couple I liked and sought out the gentleman in charge to see what we were talking about regarding price and timing. To get a jacket made would run me between $200 and $400, depending on fabric choice. I had found a fabric that came in at around the $300 mark. To make it a little crazy I selected a lime green satin for the interior.

Image

The good news was that they were running a special where you buy one custom jacket and the second one is 50% off! I searched around and found a second fabric that came in at the $265 and ordered them up.

Image

Both fabrics were Italian and were 100% wool. The difference with this tailor and others I have heard about in Asia is that here they had me try on a few jackets from their ready-to-wear line until we found the style and fit that worked for me. Then he measured me up and discussed the details: one or two vents, number of buttons, lapel style. lining color, personalized embroidery. And that was it. There would be no second visit for final fitting. The jackets would take around 3 weeks to make and they would keep my measurements on file in case I wanted to call from the U.S. to get more made. Since we were leaving in 2 days I arranged to have my brother-in-law pick them up when finished and bring them with him when he would be visiting in a month.

Image

The suits arrived with my family and I am very pleased about the final products. I will definitely hit them up when I am in Guayaquil again for a couple more. The details and craftsmanship are perfect. With the final price coming in at around $275 a jacket for custom tailoring I am thrilled.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

I should have steamed the travel wrinkles out of them before photographing, but I was a little excited. Sorry…


Busting Out The Kilt

20130304-001306.jpg

I look forward to sporting the Ramsay ancient blue plaid kilt when the occasion arises. No better excuse than a formal fundraiser.


BJ Ernst Wool Ties on Etsy

I finally got around to listing the BJ Ernst vintage wool ties in my Etsy shop

Image

Go get ’em while they last!


Missed a Good One

Damn, I missed a good on on eBay… A 1950’s loop-stitch motorcycle back-patch set.

Image


Road Trip Finds

I just spent 5 days and 800 miles in the car with both my wife and my parents… and we survived. Along the way we hit every antique store we could find and came up miserably thin in great finds. The future of antique stores is grim, I am afraid. It seems that the internet has finally put a wooden stake in the antiques market, with anything great either super highly priced or not in stores at all. They all seemed to have nothing but the leftovers and LOTS of glass and dishware. Even great furniture was rare to find. I did come away with these 3 gems:

Image

An Amazing Portland Raceway Motorcycle Races Poster from the 1950’s. I paid alot, but I was so happy that the guy dragged it out of the basement, and his personal collection, and then was willing to part with it after owning it for more than 30 years.

Image

A fantastic 1940’s Pontiac Service back-patch for a servicemen’s jacket. It is 13 inches in diameter and all loop-stitched. I will have to find the perfect vintage jacket for this one.

Image

An 18″ Heineken Bar Back in chalkware.

Finding these gems broke the depressing cloud we had hanging over our heads from striking out so many times. There were still some inspiring objects out there, it just seems I am going to have to find a way to make bucketloads of money to afford the good stuff. And to think that I can’t sell great items in Casarama at half the price…


Vintage Menswear – Must Have Book!

My copy of Vintage Menswear arrived last week and it has taken me this long to stop looking at it every spare minute. It showcases pieces from The Vintage Showroom in London.

Image

You can get the book through Amazon. I suggest you get it quickly, before it goes the way of Heller’s Cafe – King Of Vintage 1, which is now selling for upwards of $250.

Image

The Vintage Menswear book is a similar format to Heller’s, with examples of vintage men’s clothing that are rare gems and solid examples of style from days when clothes were made to last. A couple of excerpts from the book:

Image

Image

The Vintage Showroom in London is another reason, besides seeing an Arsenal game, that I need to schedule a little foray to London. Until you get to London you can keep up with The Vintage Showroom over at their blog.

Image

Image

Now, go out and get that book before it is gone…

There are also still copies of Heller’s Cafe’s King Of Vintage 2 & Queen Of Vintage out there, which every vintage-o-phile should have on their coffee table.

Image

Image


Vintage Shooting Jacket

At the Piccadilly Flea Market this past weekend I scored an amazing vintage shooting jacket with patches. As I said before, it was ten feet inside of the front doors after 4 hours! And it was CHEAP! How can people walk by this kind of thing? I should stop complaining now, since I walked out with it. BTW, it fits me…

Image

Image

Image

Image


Vintage Moto Jacket Score

This past weekend was the weekend with the road trip to pick up my new Honda CB350 Cafe Racer Project (stay tuned for details). First the Missus and I had to stop by the Piccadilly Flea Market in Eugene, OR to see if we could find any vintage goodness. I hadn’t been to “The Pic” in years, but have friends that buy and sell there that keep me up to speed on quality of goods, so I knew it was ripe for the pickings. It was a successful pick, as I found a vintage hunting jacket within ten feet of the front door to start out the proceedings. We didn’t arrive until noon, so I was pleasantly surprised to see such a great find at all, let alone within ten feet of the front entrance. I will post the hunting jacket next, but first, the next little treasure I found was a vintage motorcycle shop jacket from the 70’s with fantastic graphics on the back and a chain-stitched name on the front.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

The brand is Pla-Jac from Danbrooke, which is a new one to me. While the jacket looks like one of the cheap nylon giveaways, it is not. It is a light cotton jacket and the elastic is still in great shape. It isn’t heavy duty by any means, but will work great for breezy days. The only bummer for me is that, as usual, the jacket is a Medium (40-42) and I am more of a large, so perhaps the Missus gets to wear it now and then, although it will run big on her…


Selvedged Denim

A few weeks ago I stopped by a great Portland clothing store called Lizard Lounge and picked up a pair of Baldwin Denim Reed selvedged jeans. I promised to report on the progress of breaking them in for people who are new to selvedged denim.

I did quite extensive research on selvedged denim companies before purchasing to get a sense of what style I might like. I even went so far as to order a pair of Lee 101 selvedged jeans off of eBay to check out what the selvedged denim difference was, but at $80 plus shipping, using my non-selvedged measurements was a huge mistake. I will now use the Lee 101’s as work pants, baggy high waisted work pants.

I found through Baldwin Denim’s website that Lizard Lounge was carrying their jeans so I made a pilgrimage to check them out in person and try them on to ensure a good fit. It was a good thing I did so as the style I thought I would like was way too skinny for my taste and I found that I needed to size down in the waist to get a really snug fit that would stretch through the aging process without becoming baggy. I am normally a 34″ waist and found that the 33″ was snug through the waist and thighs, giving me confidence that both areas would relax nicely, retaining their silhouette as they stretched. I originally thought the slim Henley style was going to be great and probably would have ordered the Henley if I went the on-line route:

The Baldwin Denim Henley –

Image

Instead I found the Reed to be the way to go after trying them on. I plunked down the most I have ever paid for jeans, at $220 (a close second to the non-selvedged Diesel’s I purchased a year earlier) and left to start the break-in process.

The Baldwin Denim Reed –

Image

Image

It took me a few days before wearing them, as I was looking for the right excuse to debut them in public. I am using them as my “good jeans” at the moment, instead of everyday jeans, and will continue to do so until they start to whisker and fade. I have worn them 5-6 times and while they are softening a bit, they still retain their stiffness and haven’t started fading anywhere. This is what they look like after 5-6 wears:

Image

Image

My iPhone photos make them appear lighter than they are, and give the impression that there are fades beginning, but it is an illusion. They still give off blue transfer to furniture and shoe-tops, which I knew would happen, but it is lessening. I will continue to update over time and keep you involved in the process. I am very happy with the weight of the Baldwin Denim jeans. They are a bit heavier than my old Levi’s, which I like. I am 6’1″ tall and find the length to be perfect off the shelf to give me a nice up-fold on the cuff. The rise in the waist was perfect at 8.5″ – 9″. That dimension is very important, as the Lee 101’s are close to a 13.5″ rise and they feel like I am wearing a diaper when they are sitting low on my waist, which is where I like to wear them. The other important dimension for me is the leg opening. I like a thinner pant. The Baldwins have a 17″ bottom opening on the leg, which is not a peg, like the Baldwin Henley at 15″, but is smaller than a Levi’s opening at around 19″. Again, for me the Baldwins were perfect. I will not be soaking these for at least 6 months, and washing is out of the question.

Yesterday I was back in Portland and, on the suggestion of a friend over the weekend, I stopped in the Levi’s company store to check out their selvedged selection. My friend had picked up a pair of Levi’s selvedged for $80 on sale the week before so I was curious what selection they carried in house. I had seen the Levi’s American Made collection and the Levi’s XXX and liked the quality so I was hoping for the best. I am a life-long Levi’s wearer and know that I like 501’s and 511’s but wasn’t used to buying selvedged Levi’s that I wouldn’t be washing, which means that I needed to size down from the 36″ waists that I usually buy in Levi’s. Well, it was my lucky day! Levi’s was having a sale that gave the consumer an additional 30% off of already discounted items. I grabbed a nice helpful sales girl and asked her where the selvedged selection was. They weren’t busy so she walked me around the store pointing out all the styles they had in stock and then she opened the secret motherload door of deeply discounted denim stating, “I think I saw some selvedged in here yesterday.” She loaded me up with an armload of both selvedged and Filson brand Levi’s and we headed off to the dressing room.

Image

The original retails on all selvedged were from $118 – $179 a pair and they were already on sale for $59 – $99. After trying on several pairs I whittled down my selection to three pairs, two 514 Slim-Straights and a Hesher, sadly leaving the Filson Levi’s behind because even on sale they were $129. After the additional discount, my three selvedged Levi’s ended up totaling $139. On all three pairs I sized down the waist size to a 34″ on the two 514 styles and a 33″ on the Heshers to allow for stretching. I will not be washing or soaking these. I am so happy that I had to share!

Image

Image

Image

I now have everyday selvedged jeans to break in. I will update the progress over time. Don’t forget to check out your local Levi’s store if you want to dive into the selvedged denim category, but I do recommend trying them on in person, as they all fit a little differently and you want them snug in the beginning.