Abercrombie Adventures: Von Lengerke & Antoine, Winter 1954

We continue our Abercrombie Adventures series with something from Von Lengerke & Antoine, which was the Chicago outpost of Abercrombie & Fitch, acquired by the latter brand in the late ’30s. These color pages are from a store catalog from the winter of 1954.

A few notable items:

  • The Pendleton “Topster,” a sort of shirt-jacket in classic Pendleton woolen patterns. These were manufactured for decades and decades, and you spot them at thrift stores from time to time. The price ($17.50) is the equivalent of about $150 in today’s dollars.
  • The Macintosh Reversible Knockabout Jacket is pitched as having been made “by one of the oldest and finest English manufacturers of rainwear.” That’s of course still the case with Macintosh, though you’re likely to find fewer reversible clothes on today’s racks. The price of $28.50 is just short of $250 in today’s dollars.
  • The Men’s Mount Everest Sweater is billed as having been “developed by Braemar of Scotland especially for the British Expedition that conquered Mt. Everest.” I love that everything in the A&F and VL&A catalogs are sourced from great manufacturers like Braemar. No corners cut here! About $150 in today’s money.
  • The English Folding Dog Beds are so f’ing cute that I want to eat them. Pretty pricey, though, at $285 in today’s money for mattress and bed.

The Transitional Shirt Jacket

The weather’s still pretty chilly where I live, but in a month’s time, it’ll hit those cool temperatures that’ll remind us summer’s not too far away. If you have a very casual American sense of style, a good garment to rely on for such transitional periods is the shirt jacket. The term “shirt jacket” can be pretty nebulous. I’ve seen Italians use it to refer to things many would just consider outerwear. Here in the States, however, it commonly refers to shirts that fit like jackets, and have a certain outdoorsy, workwearish, lumberjack-y feel. They’re not for everyone, to be sure, but if you want something very casual to wear with jeans and boots, these can be fairly useful on casual nights while strolling through the neighborhood.

The most well known in this field is probably Pendleton’s board shirt, which from my experience fits kind of baggy, but you can have a tailor take in the sides a bit. Filson’s Jac-Shirt is somewhat similar, but is made from a more substantial cloth. For something a bit more “fashionable,” you can consider Apolis, Orlebar Brown, Barbour, and United. Engineered Garments and Woolrich Woolen Mills can also usually be relied on for good options, although this season, I’ve only seen ones made from shinier fabrics (which may or may not suit your style). I also like Aspesi’s many takes on classic military designs. They’re slimmer fitting than what you’d typically find in military surplus store, and while they’re inspired by military garments, they won’t leave you looking like Robert De Niro from the film Taxi Driver.

All of these brands are a bit expensive, but they’ll come down 50% or more by the end of the season. If you’d like something more affordable now, there’s Club Monaco and Penfield. The second is particularly good to check in with every once in a while if you’re on a tight budget and in need of some outerwear.

Another option is to just use a moleskin or chamois shirt as a layering piece. LL Bean’s mainline has a very well priced one, and it fits surprisingly well. I’m a size 36 chest and fit nicely into their extra-small. My only complaint is the tonal buttons, but you can easily swap those out to something more agreeable if you’d like. Filson also seems to have a nice moleskins option, though I’ve never tried it. If you’d like something slimmer, you can try LL Bean Signature’s chamois shirt. The cloth isn’t as heavy or thick as their mainline chamois, and the cut is considerably shorter, but it could give a slightly more fashionable look to someone with a slim build. Epaulet also has a really nice looking moleskin jacket, though I admit I think people should at least give the LL Bean’s moleskin shirt a spin before they jump on a pricier option.

Pendleton Board Shirts and CPOs

I was clearing out my closet last month when I “rediscovered” an old Pendleton board shirt I bought many years ago. It was an impulse buy at a Black Friday sale, which I had woken up very early that day to check out. The sale was a bust, unfortunately, and only confirmed my now deeply held belief that all Black Friday sales are a waste of time. Not wanting to leave that sale empty handed, however, I bought this shirt-jacket for about $40, and it’s been sitting in my closet for the last three or four years.

Since finding it, I’ve had my tailor take in the sides a bit, so that it’d be a bit more flattering, and now wear it on weekends with a white OCBD, pair of jeans, and moc toe boots. Being wool, it’s a nice layering piece for cool weather - when you need something to wear over a shirt, but don’t want to put on a serious coat. I’ve been finding it quite useful for temperatures in the low 60s. To be sure, it does have a bit of “woodsman” look that’s been fashionably stale for a while now, but it’s also nice for casual activities such as taking the dog for a walk or going on a hike with friends. 

At full retail, these run $115. I’d hesitate to recommend people spend that amount, but you can easily find them for about $40 to $60 at Vintage Trends or eBay. You can also consider a CPO jacket, which can be worn in the same way. There are a ton of options for those, but the two most affordable I know of are Fidelity ($65) and Save Khaki (now $99 on Gilt). From what I’ve heard, the two are built equally well, and the thickness and quality of their materials are about the same. The Save Khaki version has hip pockets, however, and fits somewhat slimmer. The Fidelity is less of a trim fit, but you wouldn’t need to go as far as sizing down. You’ll want to have enough room to occasionally layer this over a light sweater anyway, and a tailor can take care of any excess fullness beyond that. 

Why the ‘Native’ Fashion Trend Is Pissing Off Real Native Americans

Don’t miss this fascinating piece at Collector’s Weekly on the deeply conflicted (and largely hostile) feelings that the trendiness of American Indian-inspired designs have engendered in the Native American community. Of course, the issue is much broader - it’s part of a “tribal” trend that doesn’t even bother distinguishing between non-European people.

A lovely Pendleton patchwork blanket, made from scrap pieces from the Pendleton Outlet.  Total cost of materials: $12.
(Thanks, Peter)

A lovely Pendleton patchwork blanket, made from scrap pieces from the Pendleton Outlet.  Total cost of materials: $12.

(Thanks, Peter)

It’s On Sale
Pendleton for Opening Ceremony Zip-Front Shirt
$74 from $245 (only S remaining)
or in a Black Watch colorway

It’s On Sale

Pendleton for Opening Ceremony Zip-Front Shirt

$74 from $245 (only S remaining)

or in a Black Watch colorway

From an estate sale.  Do you need further proof of the everlasting style and grace of the Pendleton shirt?

From an estate sale.  Do you need further proof of the everlasting style and grace of the Pendleton shirt?

It’s On Ebay
What a beautiful plaid on this vintage Pendleton shirt.
Starts at $29.99, bidding ends Friday

It’s On Ebay

What a beautiful plaid on this vintage Pendleton shirt.

Starts at $29.99, bidding ends Friday