Photo by Salt Water New England

Friday, February 12, 2021

Great Brands and Items You Miss?

 

Dear Muffy, the discussion of the Norwegian pullover got me to reflecting. What are the brands and items of old that you and your readers would love to see return?  I miss the Sperry Kudu, the Bass Sportoccasin, Canterbury belts (especially the surcingles), the Gant Hugger, Lily Pulitzer's off the wall GTH pants for men, and, perhaps most of all Chipp.  

 

64 comments:

  1. Many of the brands I miss are still around, but they’re poor imitations of what the were. A shorter list would be brands I still support. GLH

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    1. I agree totally. My list of brands that I support has halved in the last few years.

      Hackett, Chester Barrie, Hawes & Curtis and TM Lewin have declined dramatically under their new owners. There have been several Covid casualties in the last year.

      Thomas Pink (the shirtmaker) was closed down by the huge LMVH conglomerate last year but the brand may return in some form. Grosvenor Shirts, with its factory in Northern Ireland, was liquidated last year. Aquascutum has

      Going back a few years, Chanel destroyed valuable and historic looms when it closed down Ballantyne cashmere. Pringle's factory in Hawick was also closed with manufacturing outsourced to China.

      Aquascutum is in its death throes. If you dare, visit the websites of Mackintosh and Thomas Hancock to see how "designers" can destroy two heritage brands.

      It's truly heartbreaking to see how corporate sharks and their fashionista vandals are destroying valuable companies.

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    2. A piece of my above post has been lost. It should read "Aquascutum's range is now tiny. The company has never recovered from the closure of its Corby factory in 2012".

      I have raincoats and overcoats that I bought in the huge Aquascutum store on Regent Street. Austin Reed moved in from across the road and then it closed too.

      The original Austin Reed site is now the flagship store by the Superdry brand. It's so sad to see these prestigious sites occupied by tacky brands selling over-priced tat.

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  2. I would add Barrie, Ltd. shoes, Reis of New Haven ties, and the Haspel summer suits when they offered a 3/2. I am very happy with current shirt selections but still think fondly of Hathaway. I think we all miss the Weejuns of old.

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    1. Amen, Amen, Amen

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    2. Well Mr.Irvine weighs in again something near & dear to me..Haspel Suits.
      Standard BDU aka Battle Dress Uniform in the Astrodome City for me. Don't abide the Memorial Day/Labor Day rules. Subscribe to the 80 deg F, Mr. Irvine can vouch for the weather in this swamp. Wash & wear...Olive & Tan late 80's vintage. Was counseled by a friend not to buy navy as the trouser seat would show wear & become somewhat shiny. Like this blog, you have to be old school to recognize such things.

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    3. Anonymous on my birthday (at Chelsea Naval Hospital) at 12:31 AM, right now I am missing those days, living in the Houston tunnels by day. Right now in Austin it is 21, snowing, and as far from Haspel suit weather as can be. Good advice on the navy. The olive is practically year 'round on the Gulf Coast! A Houston name you would know wore the olive Haspel, a blue OCBD and striped tie, ranger mocs, and a bucket hat all the time! I am also missing the Mighty Mac my mother got me at B. Altman in Manhasset. It was a terrific coat.

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  3. Mariner Rope Belts from York River Traders
    Sperry Gold Cup One Eye Moc's
    SAAB's
    A reasonable WSJ Editorial Page

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    1. Too true about the WSJ. The Financial Times is much better now.

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    2. Montauk Outfitters makes 'rum runner rope belts' from rigging lines similar to York River Traders. They lack some finish and flair - York River's belts were leather-lined and had unique/interesting belt buckles, Montauk's are unlined and have plain brass - but it's a similar look.

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    3. I miss SAABs the most! My favorite Saab was my very first one, a 1983 900S. Silver with dusty blue interior. I added the wind deflector to the roof, which made this wonderful car even more distinctive looking. "Ingrid" (the only car I ever named) ran reliably for 289,000 miles. My later models, starting with the 1994 900S I traded "Ingrid" for, were nice solid cars, but lacked the character of the '83. If SAAB were ever to be revived, I'd be first in line to snap one up, but sadly it seems these wonderful cars are gone forever.

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    4. Always preferred Saabs as well. I still own a 2010 9-3 convertible that I have nursed along through the years and is a joy during the summer. My only negative experience was with a 1996 Saab 9000 that had so many problems we called it (speaking of names) The Swedish Meatball.

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  4. If you're missing Canterbury sursingle belts, check out Barrons & Hunter of Charlottesville, VA. They do fine work, are quick, no delivery charge, and excellent service. Wide selection as well.

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    1. I got one of their belts and second that. I also love my Leather Man belt.

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    2. Tim Irvine, I also like Leatherman belts. The only thing with Leatherman belts is that they're a little narrow. I personally like a thicker surcingle. Smathers and Branson have terrific needlepoint belts if you're interested.

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    3. O'Connell's (sorry to sound like a broken record) carries the venerable Torino surcingles and they are quite sturdy.

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    4. Sartresky, playing the same song over and over is understandable if it is a classic! (I have a few from there.)

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  5. Cashmere sweaters from Henri Bendel

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  6. L.L. Bean all-cotton dress shirts not treated for wrinkle resistance. Though I find their no-wrinkle shirts useful for some purposes, they're heavy and stiff and don't work at all for a more relaxed look. I also miss Bean's ranger oxfords.

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    1. I can relate. I got a Bean gift card and used it to purchase a university stripe in a really neat color but it’s a bit like wearing a newspaper. I understand no-iron for most of their shirts but at least white and blue in untreated. I guess I’m haunted by my simple mind with thinking that it should be cheaper to produce an untreated than the treated and offered at the same price.... Yes, I know it doesn’t work that way.

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  7. What an interesting question. As I thought about it, as long as O’Connell’s is in business I don’t believe there’s anything I’ll want that I cannot find. For a time they even managed to revive the one item I do genuinely miss, the original Burberrys trench coat. Unfortunately I did not discover that until they were sold out.

    What I miss is not individual items so much as the purveyors: I miss everything about Brooks...the shirts, the tie counter, even the atmosphere of high seriousness. I miss the countless downtown prep shops in various places I have lived. (In little Wilmington, Delaware during the ‘70s/’80s there were at least five men’s shops you could go to for classic clothing: Denham’s, Brent, Wilmington Country Store, Mansure & Prettyman, and Wright & Simon.) I miss that period in Manhattan when Brooks, J. Press, Chipp, Tripler, and Paul Stuart were all within a few blocks of each other. I miss the old Brooks, L. L. Bean, and Huntington catalogs, and those from places farther afield like Carroll Reed and Deerskin Trading Post.

    Oh well. Nostalgia: "pain from an old wound."

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    1. I also miss the local men's shops (and presumably the ladies miss their shops, too). In the small town where I went to college, there were five men's shops, two of which had closed by 1975. Even my hometown in West Virginia had a couple, one of which had a branch in the nearby college town at one time. But there were chains that were good, too. Kuppenheimer sold good clothing, American-made, too, but they've been gone for twenty years. Their stores were small and had a nice, local feel with personal attention.

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  8. I miss Bean's basic cotton khakis, which were priced reasonably and much better than the wrinkle-free cotton they sell today. (Bill's Khakis are an excellent but woefully overpriced alternative).

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  9. Lilly Pulitzer Bermuda bags and/or bag covers, Nantucket lightship baskets that don't cost an arm and a leg or aren't quasi-museum pieces, [sperm whale or other] motif corduroy slacks, and yes, even the LLBean Norwegian pullover, customisable LLBean boat totes, and Brooks Brothers' non-iron all-cotton striped shirts for women in regular - not fitted - sizes that were US-made (I wore mine throughout the late 80s up to the early noughties until they were almost threadbare!). I'd also like to see madras patchwork GTH pants at Orvis again, and a better selection of Nantucket Red trousers for women at Murrays Toggery. And this is a bit 'odd' I suppose, but whilst we're at it, I would love to see the return of a favourite shampoo/conditioner called 'Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific'.

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    1. The Vermont Country Store has carried that shampoo for a couple of years: https://www.vermontcountrystore.com/gee-your-hair-smells-terrific-shampoo-or-conditioner/product/76881

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  10. Most of the old BB goods. Shirts from any and all that were long in the torso. Most of all I miss the BB Fun shirt with its iconic colorway. I understand that rowing blazers makes one now but it is "modern cut" and I am not a modern cut person.

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    1. I also miss the old Brooks Brothers illustrated catalogues.

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  11. The original Suncloud sunglasses with the polarized rose lens - the best all-around lens color ever. The Chamonix model was my favorite and of course got broken in a mountain biking crash. Someone bought the brand and reactivated it but the glasses aren't remotely the same.

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    1. Another great one for cycling that I miss was the Oakley Sub Zero.

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  12. I may catch flack for it, but KJP turks head belts. I can't find anything similar.

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  13. Barrie Ltd shoes. The one and only. Weejuns couldn’t hold a candle to them.

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    1. I still have one pair that I am wearing currently.

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  15. 1980 Jos. A Bank, Arthur Adler, Lewis and Thos. Saltz, Raleighs, Georgetown University Shop. All in Washington, DC. Early 1990’s Barneys(on 7th Ave. at 17thst), Brooks, FR Tripler, Wallace’s. All in NY.

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    1. In DC...Add Britches. Going back further, add Rogers Peet, Ted Louis, and Roberts Ltd.

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    2. Indeed, I miss Britches

      The Concord Diaspora

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  16. That should be Wallachs in NY. And I forgot Max’s in Charleston, SC.

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  17. Invertere coats and jackets.

    Norman Hilton suits and sport coats.

    Sulka furnishings and accessories.

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  18. Scandinavian Ski Shop - West 57th Street, New York City !

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  19. Bally sneakers, in a walking/running style. Absolutely the most comfortable and supportive shoes for walking long distances on hard surfaces, or runs of five miles or less, I have ever encountered. Very durable and handsome as well. Sadly, have been discontinued now for decades.

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  20. Pappagallo shoes.

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    1. Memories of shopping in Georgetown with my cousin (probably dressed in Villager) and hitting the Pappagallo shop on Wisconsin, heading down the hill towards my turn at the Georgetown University Shop.

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    2. Never went to the Georgetown University Shop but I really liked Britches, even if was a little more upscale than my budget would allow. There was a place in Georgetown where I bought my first kilt. Haven't been to Georgetown for ages. We've been to Old Europe on Wisconsin Avenue (next to Pearson's) but I don't think that's Georgetown.

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    3. Old Europe is in Glover Park.

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  21. Before Brooks Brothers was acquired by Claudio del Vecchio in 2001, and perhaps even earlier, before the previous owner Marks & Spencer discontinued the Golden Fleece logo from BB's cotton knit polos, they used to sell a ballet-style ladies' leather dress flat shoe that went with everything, and which I wore with a Royal Stewart kilt and my collection of Laura Ashley dresses and skirts. This was a BB staple for women and was the most comfortable pair of flats I ever owned, even more comfortable than the Belgian shoes sold on Park Avenue, which wear out after only a few seasons and aren't great on European cobblestones. I wish Brooks Brothers would bring them back! Still on the subject of shoes, there also used to be a boutique on Madison Avenue called Tancredi that had the most impeccably beautiful and comfortable 2 to 3-inch heeled pumps and loafers for women. The late Jackie Onassis used to buy her shoes there, too.

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  22. -The boxy style of Volvos and the old style of Saabs.

    -Saturn cars and the great service one got at the dealership and workshop there.

    -The Necessary Knits dress in 100% cotton from Lands End.

    -L.L. Bean- good khakis, khaki skirts, wool skirts, dresses with sleeves and a neckline one can wear in a setting that is not the beach, the women's Blutchers, the blended turtlenecks (and turtlenecks and tees that were generally longer and looser.) Also the bootcut jeans that they made around 10 years ago that had a higher cotton content than what they currently have, as well as the Boat and Totes in more colors in the small and XL sizes. And while I'm at it-- the original blueberry stoneware dishes.

    -Angela Moore jewelry (I found a lot on Ebay, luckily.)

    -Borders (bookstore chain).

    -Victoria's Secret-- it still exists but the quality is awful, the styles are awful, etc.

    -The waffle weave PJs one used to be able to get at Eddie Bauer (at least in the mid 1990s.) And their silk underthings and ragg wool socks.

    --EM

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    1. Isn't Angela Moore still in business?

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    2. I think that they went out of business a few years ago. There is a website but the shopping is no longer possible, and according to the website their boutiques closed. I used to see their ads in Yankee (and on the subject of things one misses-- I still love Yankee but I miss the monthly, smaller page format!) but haven't in years.


      --EM

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  23. Despite its location in Princeton, Langrock was the ultimate Prep store for men. Everything else, including J. Press, Andover, and especially O'Connell's (Buffalo, dear God), Cable Car, porté par les masses.

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  24. What do I miss?

    I agree with all the comments here, and won't list mine because it would take a book (if not a library) to list them. The loss of so much good brings this ditty to mind (I think it was a drinking song?): The old gray mare she ain't what she used to be, no!, the old gray mare she ...

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  25. Totally agree about Saabs. It’s the only thing about my ex that I liked about him!
    I also miss the old New Yorker magazine, circa 1980s, with the old ads at the back of the magazine, many of which were of smaller New England businesses of artisanal quality. The Smith and Hawken catalog of fine gardening paraphernalia. They were the slightly trendier, West Coast version of the reliable White Flower Farm catalog. ~Lee

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    1. Hear! Hear! On the old New Yorker ads. Never had a Saab. Will check out the White Flower Farm catalog. It's been too long.

      While I am blathering, let me say that I love O'Connell's so much that I am ok with the lighthouse on my polos (they offer buffalos and plain, too).

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    2. I don't understand your "love" for O'Connell's. How does one have fittings after purchasing a suit or sport jack, or have one's trousers cuffed? Do you have to go to Buffalo? Isn't Buffalo somewhere near Detroit? It would require a great deal more than "love" for me to travel to somewhere in the Midwest for a sweater.

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    3. My love for O'Connell's is easy. I know my measurements, and after a lifetime of buying OTR I have an easy time shopping that way. It really is no different from calling my salesperson at Brooks in the seventies and saying, "Carol, could you please send me a navy suit with a chalk stripe. Usual cuffs." Not wanting to risk errors since O'Connell's has multiple brands, I have the tailoring done here, but it is minimal with only cuffing trousers and putting buttons on coat sleeves. As to sweaters, if you do not know your sweater size, I can see why you would shop locally. Likewise for anything else requiring a fitting unless you are willing to risk having to exchange items due to sizing issues. If you browse the O'Connell's website (or Cordings or any other well done website) the selection is vastly superior to what is available here in Texas. The service by telephone is helpful and gracious. Where do you go for 3/2 sack suits and odd jackets or unlined and unfused OCBDs? Others will want to know as well!

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    4. O'Connell's has become my favorite clothing store. Very traditional clothing at a fair price. Much of their merchandise is made in the USA. For the items that are not made in the USA, O'Connell's lists where they are made and not simply "imported". So if you want to avoid items from a particular country, say China for instance, you can easily do so.

      JRC

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    5. JRC, hiding behind "imported" was my specific complaint with J. Press. An "imported" flannel blazer which I assumed would be Canadian turned out to be from China. I should have bought from O'Connell's. Lesson learned.

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  26. I miss Banana Republic from the eighties when they sold outdoorsy, safari-type gear and clothing. Their catalogs where especially entertaining. I'm not alone in my nostalgia. There is a website devoted to to Abandoned Republic: https://www.secretfanbase.com/banana/

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  27. The LL Bean Chamois shirt in the traditional colors eg red, when it was made in the USA and cut properly ie not too slim.

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  28. Another person who misses the old school Banana Republic style. After they became part of Gap/Old Navy, it just wasn't the same. I used to love their annual t-shirt with the map. The other thing I've been missing lately are the all cotton turtlenecks from Lands End that had no seam in the neck.

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  29. The original incarnation of Abercrombie and Fitch (when they sold shotguns).

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