Photo by Salt Water New England

Monday, May 11, 2020

Question for the Community: What are your favorite clothing items that were discontinued or ruined in redesign?

Photos by Salt Water New England
Question to the Community:
What are your favorite clothing items that were discontinued or ruined in redesign? If you could go back in time and stockpile one item, what would it be?

 Shown, no longer available:
  • 9" Patagonia Stand Up Shorts (RIP)
  • York River Traders Pink Campbell Belt (RIP)
Show, happily a favorite shirt still available:
The 9" Patagonia Stand Up Shorts

78 comments:

  1. I was sad to see York River discontinue both the Mariner and Campbell lines. I'm consoled by the fact that I own a few and they wear like iron, I just need to keep my mid-section in check. LandsEnd ruined their once substantial Sail Rigger OCBD's with a redesign that is thin and flimsy. I'm finding fewer reasons to consider purchasing any of their products these days. My time machine product would be the Sperry Gold Cup 1-Eye Camp Moccasin. These are the most comfortable shoes I've ever owned. Had I known they were to be discontinued I would have stocked my closet.

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  2. I miss Ralph Lauren’s Blue Label line. The items offered were tailored and polished. RL replaced its Blue Label with its Polo Label (women) about six years ago. I’m not sure who their target demographic is, but most of their items are shlumpy, frumpy and dumpy. The fit is bizarre and the quality has taken a nosedive.

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  3. I do not necessarily mourn specific items but retailers that had great classic "preppy" attire. Here in Baltimore Finkelstein's was the go-to in Towson. Also if anyone remembers Sparrs (I still have a shirt from there that is 20 years old) which I think was a national retailer. We still have Jos. A. Bank but it's not what it was--very limited now.

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    Replies
    1. It really depends on how you put their sportswear together. You can still find wonderful ginghams and Bengal stripes and a variety of Khakis in assorted fits.

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  4. Garrison HalibutMay 11, 2020 at 9:25 AM

    The list is too long to relate. I no longer purchase much of anything without reading reviews first, and almost invariably they are along the lines of "I bought these for eons and they were so much better before [fill in blank with description of changes to fabric, cut, or country of manufacture]." I just hope that when I die I can be buried in a shroud that isn't "active" or "stretch" or "performance."

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  5. LL Bean's old men's khaki trousers. They were well made, lasted for years, and cost half (or less) of what we have to pay for the current offerings. Bean's now only carries the "wrinkle free" variety - I just can't take the feel of that fabric!

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    1. Everything used to cost less. Everything.

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    2. Yes, the introduction of wrinkle-free shirts and khakis at Bean's has prevented me from buying those items these days. On the other hand, Bean's use to sell tattersall shirts, red and black or blue and black, in a polyester/cotton blend in the 1970s. Normally I wouldn't wear a blended shirt, but these were very nice looking, comfortable shirts that were quite popular. I sure wish that Bean's would bring them back, if only as a nostalgic item.

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  6. Off the top of my head? The original Land's End (all cotton, no-iron features that weren't even mentioned in the small magazine ads of the times) oxford cloth shirt, which used to retail for far less than US$20 way back when.

    Best Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich

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    1. I believe their hyde park oxford (was that what it was called?) was the first thing that came to mind.

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    2. The Sail Rigger

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    3. The Sail Rigger, which is a casual oxford sized S-M-L-XL rather than by number, has been ruined in the last few months. It's now a "performance" shirt or some such, which is a fancy way of saying it's now a poly-cotton blend like we used to get for $10 at Sears when I was a growing boy. The Hyde Park is still its old self, just a basic oxford shirt amid all the wrinkle-free options.

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    4. I agree re Lands' End 100 percent OCBD must-iron from years gone buy. To compound the sin of no longer offering thah shirt, the company's current dress shirt offerings (all of which except the Hyde Park are no-iron and quickly fray) have way-too-short collar points. I don't know whether this is a function of trying to save a penny or two on fabric or a misguided belief that really short collar points are somehow "fashionable" today, but it makes the shirts look ridiculous in a Tom Ford sort of way.

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  7. I own two pair of 9" stand up shorts; I now tolerate the 7 inch stand up shorts, still available. the hems are frayed on the longer ones. Patagonia's 'work wear' line, a blend of hemp, cotton, and polyester, is very comfortable and has 11" shorts, but alas, they have cargo pockets.

    -J Crew madras patchwork shorts. Twenty-plus years ago, they sold the real deal. I still wear them.

    -Patagonia canvas button down shirt. The thirty-year old fabric is more robust than trousers they sell today.

    -Brooks Brothers button down cotton shirts. In the land before no-iron cotton, one could get a fabulous button down in oxford cloth, pinpoint, or end-on-end, with a light, unfused lining in the collar, cuffs and placket. Not today; their 'original polo' is a watered-down shadow of the glory days.

    Blue Marlin retro ballcaps - founded in 1994 in San Francisco, withered and disappeared between 2005-2011. Cotton baseball hats with an adjustable leather strap in the back, with sewn-on felt or stitched-through logos of long-gone minor league or negro league teams. The oldest and most-worn of mine are starting to fall apart.

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    Replies
    1. Agree totally about the 9" Patagonia SU shorts.

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    2. I have a pair of J Crew madras patchwork shorts from that era. I wish they were still available.

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  8. I heartly agree! The old LL Bean khaki trousers. Such a sad replacement.

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  9. A couple of years ago, I bought a beautiful bright red - Classic Cherry - light weight polo shirt from Land's End. Earlier this year I wanted to order another one as a back-up but they did not offer that color. That's such a basic, classic color that should always be available. I got very upset with whoever I talked with at Land's End,and told them whoever makes such decisions at a company like that should be fired!!! I have several other of the same shirt in different colors and like the way they look and fit - and seem to hold their color well. Next time bright red is offered I will undoubtedly order one or two more. But it's so annoying I feel like ditching that company over such decisions!!!

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    Replies
    1. I can't agree with you more! I love a classic red/cherry and the color is so hard to find now. We are at the mercy of what the companies choose to be the "in" colors.

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  10. Yes, khaki trousers as we knew them are gone for the most part - Brooks Brothers, Bean's, and others - and now feature strange material, oddly slimmed down fits and are highly variable in size. I have been happy with Orvis Ultimate Khakis for some years now - heavy cotton, traditional fit and they wear like iron. Bill's Khakis were good, but I found the fit not to my liking and haven't purchased them in years.

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  11. In the '80's I loved the Ruff Hewn clothing, jeans in particular. I have seen them in a few stores but not often. When I have tried them on they are not made the same. I was so disappointed. I could wear them and not worry they always were the same.

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  12. This is easy. First, the original Lacoste shirt with the tennis tail. (What prevents them from offering that now?)
    2. White cotton crew socks from the sixties with two stripes at the top.
    3. 100% cotton Gant shirts made in the sixties. Nothing looked better ironed. Interesting stripes found in the college prep section.

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    1. 4. Top coats long enough to cover the knee (and shorts above the knee).

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    2. I thought they brought back Gant to New Haven a few years ago....

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    3. My husband mourns Gant as well.

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  13. Black Diamond Sou'Wester. Best foul weather head covering ever. Vulcanized rubber and flannel lined. F.L. Woods makes a model patterned on the Black Diamond molds, but it's just not the same.

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  14. Thick, decent cotton anything. The kind which has to be sprayed and ironed. It just doesn't exist anymore.

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  15. Just about everything I used to buy from L.L.Bean.
    MaryAnne

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  16. Willis and Geiger anything. Before Lands’ End swallowed them and the quality wasn’t quite the same. Real bleeding Madras that took on real character after washing(s). By Gant and others, made in America from imported Madras fabric.

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  17. Bass Weejuns when they were still handsewn in Maine. The classic Brooks Brothers OCBD. Coach "Made in NYC" leather goods in that wonderful baseball glove leather. All three lasted forever and only looked better with age. "Don't it always seem to go/ That you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone."

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  18. -Shetland sweaters by Deans of Scotland and John Meyer of Norwich.
    -Old Lilly Pulitzer.
    -100% wool kilts with leather straps and kilt pin.
    -Pappagallo espadrille wedges.
    -Most items from Trimminghams of Bermuda, Narragansett clothing Company(I loved the Newport shop) and the Bonnie Blink shop in Moultonborough, N.H.
    -many woolens from The Scotch Shop in Kensington, London.

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    Replies
    1. Oh how I loved Trimmingham's! I recall a wonderful Alpaca sweater I purchased there. Wish I still had it. There was another store in Bermuda that I liked. Maybe it was Smith's. There was also the Irish Linen Shop. I haven't there since the 80's.

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  19. What a great question. Lots from L. L. Bean: Their Norwegian sweaters, Icelandic sweaters, ragg sweaters, down vests. They also used to have terrific oxford cloth tattersall shirts, and they offered a much different version of the Maine hunting shoe moccasin that was shorter, streamlined, easy to slip on and off, etc. – the only other person who seems to remember this shoe is Tim over at Heavy Tweed Jacket.

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    Replies
    1. I miss Bean Shetlands.

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    2. HTJ was a great contributor. Wish his archive was still available. Better yet, if he was still posting.

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  20. Brooks Brothers oxford cloth button downs with the unlined collar and the left breast pocket.

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  21. Barries. The one and only.

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  22. Easy. Lime or kelly green cotton twill trousers with navy whale embroidery. Polo used to make them, but sadly they are discontinued and cannot be found anywhere.

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  23. The made in USA flannel shirts from LLBean.

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    Replies
    1. There has been a real decline in the quality of the Scotch plaid flannel shirts. I bought one last Summer and it was terrible material.

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  24. The Made in Maine Sperry Topsider from a few years back (probably Rancourt). I'll happily pay the premium for a real version of the classic.

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  25. Ditto what Jill Mason said...plus Carroll Reed and Eagles Eye.
    -The old Talbot’s
    -Garland heavy cotton crewneck sweaters and cardigans
    -Anything from The Pappagallo Shoppe

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    Replies
    1. Oh, I really miss Pappagallo shoes.....

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  26. L.L. Bean ranger oxfords.

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  27. Jacque Cohen espadrilles. Substantial weight pique cotton polo dresses. Levis that you had to wear in. And the old Lacoste shirts.

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    Replies
    1. Back in the 70's, I had so many Jacques Cohen espadrilles in wonderful colors. They were wedges with a square toe. They didn't last more than one season, but that seemed acceptable considering that they were not expensive and were worn daily during the summer. I loved those shoes.

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  28. Sperry Topsiders. Now made in China. Sad.

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  29. LL Bean Casco Bay Polo shirts.......

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  30. Also miss Brooks Brothers oxford cloth button downs with the unlined collar and the left breast pocket and more robust oxford cloth than the current versions. Plus BB own-make suits and sport coats in XL sizes (or any size), BB plain front khakis, once available in long rise. Church's shoes (they are still available online, but the local Church's store shut down years ago).

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  31. Everything - seriously. LL Bean has ruined everything. Aside from them, sweaters, shirts are most noticeable to me in many of the once-great brands. And shoes - if I'm looking for a stylish shoe to wear dressed up or a fun outfit with jeans, it's nearly impossible to find anything in a good quality anymore. Practical staples still have a plethora of choices, which is a good thing. --Holly in PA

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  32. Coach wool surcingle belts...

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  33. Not clothing but this might explain some of the things that happened.
    When car shopping for our daughter several years ago, we found a V-70 wagon with a manual transmission. I commented on the fact and the salesman said that manual transmissions don't sell.

    Daughter didn't want it anyway because it was a "mom car."

    I don't worry about what clothes I can find. I've got enough to last the rest of this lifetime.

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  34. Just took delivery of a new Ralph Lauren rugby shirt in my old school colours. The immediate predecessor in said school colours was sturdy and authentic in detail. Whilst the 2020 version looks the same I doubt it would last a game, let alone 12 years of service. Fashion over function at a grossly inflated price. Where possible I try to preserve my old RL as I am sceptical of the new products.

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  35. Sadly , Le Chameau's move to Morocco has seen the end of it's legendary quality .
    I bought two pairs this year as presents and was not impressed . Others have voiced the same , but I reserved my opinion until seeing the product for myself. I hope my three oldish pairs last a long time . I spray them with silicone quite often and keep them dirt-free and in the shade .

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  36. The Talbot's of the 80's was a godsend for those of us who want to shop locally, at a stand alone store, with helpful staff. I have no patience for reading reviews, or shopping for clothes in general. Simple, appropriate choices were always available, and I had some items until a few years ago. Like every other retailer mentioned, the styles now play to an unfathomable demographic , with fabrics that are hybrids of what feels like scuba suit fabric. Too bad.

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    Replies
    1. Isn't that the truth! Talbot's in the 80's was wonderful with great quality and fabrics. Even if I liked what they have now, I have been sized out due to the vanity sizing. Back in the day, I wore a 4 at Talbot's, which is the new 12. My actual size and weight is the same as then, and sometimes I actually find something at J.Crew in a 00. Ridiculous!

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  37. Troy Guild shirts.

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  38. Pretty much anything made by Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers or any other American manufacturer in the 1980s, before "outsourcing" became a thing...

    Your intrepid Canadian reader,

    Banacek

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  39. I liked brightly colored ragg cotton socks from Bean.

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  40. Sadly, even the Land's End Hyde Park Oxford ain't what it was just a few short years ago. The absolute final two I purchased, a couple of years back, also suffered from suddenly anemic collar points, and the bodies were noticeably trimmer. I am still reasonably fit for a guy on the wrong side of 50, so all I could conclude was that the company was 1) trying to remain trendy, or 2) cutting corners to save money. My old mother, who worked for many years in and around Manhattan's garment district, confirmed that it was probably the latter, helped by the trend toward Pee Wee Herman proportions in 'menswear'. . . If we can even use that term anymore given the pronounced infantilization of society in recent decades. On a sunnier note, my latest Mercer shirt order is slated to arrive in a day or two. As Frederick Forsythe might have put it, "Good on ya, Murgatroyd!"

    Best Regards,

    H-U

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  41. I loved the old Orvis Women’s catalogue-what they are offering now is beyond ugly.

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    1. I couldn't agree with you more. Ten years ago Orvis was one of my standbys. I loved their silk blouses for women especially their River Road Collection which featured a white or light blue mandarin collared blouse great with suits. I wish I had bought more as the ones I have are yellowed with age. I don't know where to find their replacement.

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  42. Ballcaps without pre-curved visors. I know, it's possible to get caps with flat visors from companies like New Era, but most caps from most sellers come with curved visors that collide with the temples of non-wraparound sunglasses and can't be straightened. For Pete's sake, bending a cap bill is not difficult. Let the customer shape it himself, please.

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  43. The original Duck Head khakis made from heavy duty twill

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    Replies
    1. Amen to this. Those pants were great.

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  44. LL Bean's need-to-be-ironed oxford cloth shirts for women. Fortunately, I stocked up on the assumption they would 'improve' them, so should have enough to last for years.

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  45. We discovered a Fall 2003 L.L.Bean catalog here at the house and it makes interesting reading. Naturally, prices have gone up since then and there are only a few things still in the line that were then. Here are a few examples: sunwashed canvas shirts $36; handsewn moccasins $69; 6" Bean Boots $75; boat and tote bag large $24; bayside twill pants (women's) $39; women's stretch moleskin jeans $59; and so on. Most items in the catalog were imported, though. The Bean boots and the totes were made in Maine and still are. The catalog also featured the L.L.Bean edition of the Subaru Outback. No price given. We still get lots of L.L. Bean catalogs. Never had a Subaru.

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  46. Lands End Rugby shirts from the 80's. They were great colors, Heavy Duty, rubber buttons- I passed mine down to my boys who still wear them 35 years later.

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  47. Coach bags. And I am still on the lookout for cotton turtlenecks with repeating designs (snowflakes, hearts, whales, etc.) - cannot find them anywhere anymore.

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  48. Crockett & Jones no longer makes it Boston loafers in a G or EE width. It's now impossible to buy a Goodyear welted penny loafer from a British manufacturer in that fitting!

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  49. Good vintage Coach bags can sometimes be found at a reasonable price on Ebay or Etsy, but be careful: I've learned never to buy from sellers who don't accept returns.

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  50. Although the list of things gone and missed is long, there are still a few good sources for the things I love. The beauties of traditional clothing, at least to me, are that it is supremely comfortable, it is made to last, and it uses fabrics and other materials that are gorgeous and timeless, things of which you would not tire in a lifetime. For example I got new Weejuns every year starting around 1960. Alden LHS offer a similar look and better comfort and last thirty years. I loved Gant Huggers in high school and BB OCBDs in the 1970s, but the O'Connell's or Mercer unfused shirts are every bit as good plus they are roomy.. There are some wonderful khakis out there like Bill's and Frank's, but I think the O'Connell's store brand might be a smidge more solid. For dressing up, Southwick still offers comfortable sacks suits and odd jackets. Two things that are not gone but seem to be getting harder to find are baggy boxers made from shirting material and Merino dress socks. As I am now retired, my drawer full of Pantherella socks ought to get me through since I am usually wearing Quoddy Maliseets, sockless, but I am looking for something to replace Tiger Mountain boxers since they are getting so hard to find. Hopefully the replacements will be MIUSA. Although born in Boston and raised in the northeast, I am in Texas now. Someone else mentioned how unusual traditional dress was in Atlanta. Atlanta is a throwback compared to Austin! However, I have dressed this way since I got out of short pants in the mid-1950s! Changing is not in the cards.

    Please support local, traditional clothiers and especially their MIUSA wares!

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  51. Pappagallo Bermuda bags for me and ditto the above comments on khakis for my husband!

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  52. Sad to learn Murray's is discontinuing Nantucket Red shorts in green.

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