What’s The Weejun Buying on Ebay: London Fog Maincoat

Vintage London Fog Maincoat Made in USA

Vintage London Fog Maincoat Made in USA

From this side of the Atlantic there has always seemed to be an allure to the London Fog brand – a classic name in American clothing. For many years I thought the company was based San Francisco – not sure exactly why. In fact they were (and still are) based in Baltimore, MD.

London Fog Has The Perfect Collar in My Opinion

London Fog Has The Perfect Collar in My Opinion - Note Throat Fastener Tab

In the 1980s when there were numerous options for finding vintage US clothing in London, I was always on the look out for a London Fog raincoat. Why London Fog? Well, it was always the brand that seemed to be the most iconic when I ever I came across a second hand example, and in an early version of technical clothing, the wash’n’wear fabric with the zip out furry lining for winter use just seemed like the perfect raincoat. Added to that was that the coats also had the right sillhouette – unlike the British coats made by Burberry and Aquascutum that looked like a giant ‘A’ when worn, the London Fog models had a straight drop.

There were two items of clothing that London Fog made that seemed to be definitive: the ‘fur’ lined Maincoat and the Baracuta copy golf jacket that had straight hems and cuffs instead of elastic. (One of the first ever things I bought on Ebay in 1998 when it started was a Lemon Yellow example that turned out to a bit small).

Back in 1983 a friend of mine managed to find a Maincoat in his size, complete with lining and I remember being most jealous. I eventually found one in my size but without the coveted zip in part – the bare coat side of the zip remaining to remind me of its missing insides.

London Fog Maincoat with Zip Out Lining. Beautifully Made

Flash forward 25 years and like all classic clothing, the tan raincoat is sure to be making a comeback anytime soon. Of course many of my contemporaries over on Film Noir Buff have been wearing them all along, but my own forays into single breasted mac-dom have rested on Burberry, Aquascutum and a non branded model bought from one of those long gone stores on Regent St that have a perennial sale and are run by Filipino ladies. That coat was wonderfully made, in England, but again the cut was a little strange on me.

Ebay has of course brought all of our youthful pasts back to haunt us and one day suddenly the light bulb went on: ‘why not check on Ebay for London Fog?’ Turns out there are hundreds of them listed there, from the vintage sellers who describe everything as ‘rockabilly, punk, indie’ and swear its all in ‘great vintage condition’ (read cheesy, smelly with holes and stains) listing buy it now for $100.00 to genuine house clearing ‘mom and pop’ sellers who have gone through the attic and just want to clear things out. It was from the latter that I found my coat – from one of the nicest sellers I’ve come across on Ebay, a lady in Florida called Marcelle, who changed her listing so that I could bid for worldwide shipping and then sold me the coat in perfect almost unused condition, just as she described it. It seems her husband had had little use for it living in Florida.

Set in Sleeves At Front But Raglan Sleeves At Back

Set in Sleeves At Front But Raglan Sleeves At Back

As I seem to be doing a lot lately, I sized down to a 40R based on Marcelle’s measurements and the coat fits me perfectly. I wore it for the first time last Friday into the City and met up with D my Senegalese Ivy Style loving friend. He couldn’t believe I’d found this coat on Ebay and asked me to try it on there and then in Regent St. Afterwards he told me he was tempted to just run off, so that he didn’t have to give it back. I couldn’t let him do that, so instead when I got home, I checked on Ebay and found another one, identical and almost as perfect for only a few dollars more than I’d paid.

So thanks to Marcelle and the guys at FNB who all helped me with the sizing problem based on their own London Fogs, I finally got myself ‘the coat of my intentions’, as you might say.

Steve McQueen Not Wearing a London Fog.

Steve McQueen Not Wearing a London Fog.

Steve McQueen on the Set of Bullitt

Steve McQueen on the Set of Bullitt

Weekend Looks: The Paul Newman

Paul Newman Walking on the Beach in Late 50s
Paul Newman Walking on the Beach in 1957

It’s a wet weekend in Weejunland, winter not yet shrugged off. A simple post today. Just an iconic image, a new series for those days when a picture tells a thousand…

What’s The Weejun Buying on Ebay? Maple Sportswear Windcheater!

Fierce Bidding on Ebay for this New Old Stock Maple Sportswear Co Windcheater

Fierce Bidding on Ebay for this 1960s New Old Stock Maple Sportswear Co Windcheater

The Weejun has been on a bit of a shoe spree recently on Ebay, but searching through tons of listings last weekend I found this little gem. It languished at $9.99 until yesterday when it ended whilst I asleep.
I think I had competition from someone in Korea so I had a feeling it might go fairly high.

Strangely, when I woke up I knew exactly how much I’d had to pay to snaffle it, even before I turned on my MacBook. The Susquehannock Camps are apparently a 100 year old institution in Pennsylvania for kids summmer camps. Of course 40 years on and in England, no one is going to know what it is or what that means which is all the better. The jacket itself is new old stock with tags and made by the great Maple Sportswear Company, who made loads of baseball and hockey uniforms as well as coach and varsity jackets.

I found another Maple jacket on Japanese Yahoo listings and as you can see from the photo below, the cut is identical, despite the material being corduroy in this case.

This Jacket Found on Yahoo Japan Shows Identical Cut in Corduroy

This Jacket Found on Yahoo Japan Shows Identical Cut in Corduroy

There’s just something about the cut of this jacket that really appealed to me – the deep elastic on the cuffs and stitch seamed pockets are all classic, and I like the fact that the logo is discrete for one of this style, and there’s nothing written on the back. Great for British summers where it often rains, worn with old chinos, off white Supergas and a sweatshirt.

Great Tag Featuring Icnonic Sports Logos

Great Tag Featuring Icnonic Sports Logos

Susquehannock Camps Logo on Left Chest

Susquehannock Camps Logo on Left Chest

Norwegians: The Original Bass Weejuns Or Is it a Myth?

Original Nor-Weejuns - Now I'll Have To Track Down a Pair

Update: Thanks to Anon Trad and Nick in the Comment for pointing towards the answer!

Aurland Camp Moc Uppers Being Cut in the Factory

Aurland Camp Moc Uppers Being Cut in the Factory

Camp Mocs From Aurland in Norway

Camp Mocs From Aurland in Norway

Sorry if you clicked on this post looking for a photo or something, but this morning I was reading the one millionth slightly different version of who / what / where loafers and weejuns were invented and I thought to myself – everyone is repeating this story about Norwegian fishermans slippers being the basis for an entire american industry, but no one has ever shown a pair – not even an illustration.

So far the story that Decline & Fall dug up on Film Noir Buff about the original orders for shoes that became Weejuns seems to be the most authentic vis a vis Bass, but someone somewhere must have an idea of the original shoes and what they looked like?

Strangely, if Bass really started making these in 1936, it would have been near impossible for Nettleton Shoes of Syracuse, NJ to have patented the style and the name ‘The Loafer’ in 1937.

For most of my life I had thought that the ‘jun’ bit was a reference to native american shoes who of course already produced moccasins for thousands of years. This may have been compunded by the rival Trujun brand which featured a Chief in their advertising. I’m not saying there never was a Norwegian fisherman’s moccasin, but it does seem strange that Americans had to go that far to get inspiration that was on their own door step. (Having said that I know it would not be the first or last time for them!)

Of course there is the element that in the very north of Scandinavia the people are very close to being Inuit, who are also close to being Native Americans so there is some credence to that.

I would be interested to hear from anyone who can shed some light on this. You guys in Maine – ask your great grandparents and let me know!

What’s The Weejun Buying on Ebay? Walk-Over Bucks!

Walkover White Bucks For Not Too Many Bucks on Ebay

Walkover White Bucks For Not Too Many Bucks on Ebay

Had my eye on these off white bucks for the last week, and having had a pair of Walk-Over dirty bucks in the dim and distant past from John Simons (circa 84), and of course now that there is no longer the option of buying Walk-Over shoes new, I determined they should be mine.

Although it’s easy enough to find fairly good white bucks again these days (Lands End US have an authentic looking model) they are all without exception made in Brazil and China and not goodyear welted but stuck on soles with fake welt stitching.

Walkover - For All Your Walking Life. As Long as Someone Can Repair Coral Soles, That Is...

Walk-Over - For All Your Walking Life. As Long as Someone Can Repair Coral Soles, That Is...

Having said that I do remember that the coral coloured sole material that Walk-Over used was not as good as their uppers and I can see on this pair that the heel has worn down somewhat, so I may have to seek out a repairer in the near future – not as hard these days as back in the 80s when no one in the UK had shoes with these soles.

I can feel it being a seersucker and pincord summer with a touch of Madras…

Classic Last and Detailing - Pat Boone Would Have Been Proud!

Classic Last and Detailing - Pat Boone Would Have Been Proud!

Walk-Over shoes were made for their first decades by the Geo Keith Company in Brockton Massachussetts and despite the very mid-Century modern sounding name were already a venerable old company by the time they introduced their classic bucks.

Probably Best to Avoid The Dictator Model From Walkover

Probably Best to Avoid The 'Dictator' Model From Walkover

This Japanese store has a couple of pairs of Walk-Over deadstock. God, they look great in their original boxes. Still, I’m really pleased to have found this pair on Ebay in my size and such great condition.

Vintage Old Stock Shirts: The Hathaway

Amongst the vintage deadstock dress shirts I picked up recently on Ebay were two 1960s era Hathaway button downs in white. Both of these shirts had some serious yellowing from age and having been in an attic for nigh on 40 years they had that distinctive sour sooty smell.

I decided to open one up and check out the shirt and prepare it for wearing if it was possible to ‘rejunvenate’ it.

I love the Hathaway printed tissue paper fixed into a carboard collar ring – a really nice touch. I posted a while back about the Hathaway Eye Patch Gent who was the company’s famous logo for many years.

When I took the shirt out of the packet the buttons had left their mark and each button hole had a kind of tide mark of yellow, and there was yellow colouration on the front where the shirt had been folded.

The Hathaway shirt as presented here shys away from the almost identikit Brooks Brothers model that most other manufacturers followed. At first I wasn’t sure about this, but the quality of the oxford broadcloth is excellent and I quite like the idiosyncrancies like no box pleat at the back, and the peculiar elliptical front tails. The shirt also has no button placket unlike jut about every other button down shirt I’ve ever seen. having said that I had one of these in blue oxford in the early 80s from FLIP but with a store brand in and I don’t think I realised it was a Hathaway at the time.

Thankfully the modern world has brought us the non bleach oxygen technology of Vanish. A few hours soak in the mix in super hot water and the shirt came out like something from a before and after ad on TV – the difference was amazing. The shirt was literally brilliant white again, the little red stitched Hathaway ‘H’s hadn’t faded or bled (as they would have with traditional bleach) and ironed up a treat.

Now, I’d always thought the shallower collar with short collar point that Ralph Lauren insists on using was a kind of late 70s update on the preferable deeper collars of other makers, but interestingly here the Hathaway has the same size collar as the Polo models. Maybe this was Ralphy’s inspiration? Who knows. It means that there is little of the much desired (lusted after even?) collar roll, but in it’s way this Hathaway is a really well made shirt that is going to look great with the Corbin cashmere herringbone sports jacket I recently aquired from the States.

Ok, so it’s not a SERO or GANT but hey, I’ve got another identical one still in its packet, too!

The Look That Inspired: Paul Newman & Tony Perkins

Newman Wearing Some Interesting Patch Pocket Chinos Whilst Tony Perkins Hangs in the Doorway 1958

Newman Cooks Whilst Whilst Tony Perkins Hangs in the Doorway

Two dudes for the price of one here. I remember clearly lusting after a seersucker suit when I first saw the movie W.U.S.A on TV in about 1982. I can’t remember it ever having been on UK TV since then. Of course the movie was a Newman vehicle but Perkins was excellent in it too.

This image comes from a LIFE magazine spread on Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. It’s also been dug up before by Decline & Fall over on Film Noir Buff. Whenever I find these images myself I always find that the boy has been there first!

What’s The Weejun Buying On Ebay? Dexter Penny Loafers!

Vintage Dexter Penny Loafers – Probably 1980s?

When it comes to penny loafers, as the name of this site suggests, I am mostly a Bass Weejun fan. With beefroll loafer there are more styles and many different makers who get their own look, but, to my mind at least, nobody ever gets that deep vamp look that Bass has, creating a highwalled side to the shoe at the front.

So, I was very pleasantly suprised when I found this near mint pair on Ebay back in early January from Dexter, another classic US handsewn maker with a history of excellent middle ground products, not unlike Bass themselves. I was also very pleased by the colour and evident quality of the leather. Back in about 1985 I had a pair of Bass Weejuns from The Natural Shoe Store in London that were this kind of natural colour, with an unglazed leather sole and heel. They had a quite of late 60s early 70s college look that I was into at the time and went well with a tan corduroy jacket and selvadge 501s.

Bass themselves have a model in similar leather now (one of the few that isn’t sprayed with Marmite) that seems to be available in the US from some close out dealers but the sole edge is lacquered dark brown.

Anyway, back to these lovely Dexters. I’m guessing that they are mid to late 80s from the plastic rubber insert in the sole. They are of course still Made in USA and the leather looks like chromexcel, thick and soft but not floppy. I also really love the shape of the cut out on the penny strap, and like Weejuns the shoes are nice and deep as you can see from the photos.

Nice deep walled vamp on these Dexter loafers
Nice deep walled vamp on these Dexter loafers

They were marked as a size 10M but when they arrived I literally could not put my foot into the left shoe. I began to think that maybe they were in such perfect condition because they were an odd pair someone bought by accident (would not have surprised me from this seller – see ‘Aside’ below). The other problem was that the plastic/rubber inserts in the soles had dried out and warped – upwards. This gave the effect of having a rolled up sock stuffed in the bottom of the shoes. I was a bit crestfallen as to find a great penny like this and then it not fit was bad news. Other Dexters I have in 10D fit large, but not these babies.

The Leather is Excellent on This Pair
Rubber Sole Inserts Have Hardened to a Concave Shape But Beginning to Soften

So I dug out some old Dunkelman shoe trees that are the kind with a screw thread between the front and the back and started to stretch them out a little more every week. A couple of months later (and although tight to get on initially and impossible without a shoe horn) they now feel wearable – even the soles have dropped down a little. I’ve yet to wear them outside as I bought them in the throes of deep snowstorms and was since working away in Italy, but now that spring has arrived in England I will venture out to the local shops and see if I make it there and back with becoming a hobbit.

I remember my first ever pair of Weejuns were almost crippling for the first few weeks and then became like slippers…

Nicely Stretched and Ready For Wear
Nicely ‘Stretched’ and Ready For Wear

Aside: I bought them on the ‘Bay from a wacko seller from Texas along with a pair of vintage USA made Bostonian beefrolls in a wonderful vintage oxblood. However, when the package arrived the Bostonians were a modern Spanish made pair in cordo colour. The seller was one of those who gets annoyed with the buyer when they’ve made a mistake themselves. He said ‘They are shoes, my friend and the same in God’s eyes”.

I’m a tolerant sort of fellow to religion usually and therefore didn’t reply that some might say ‘God was in the detail’. Still this didn’t stop him from sending me countless rants about how ‘his’ God would punish me for taking away his profit by asking for a refund. Bizarre. After a week or so of these emails he said he would only refund them if I left positive feedback. Enough of that I thought – even if God is his personal mentor, eBay is all powerful when it comes to selling second hand stuff and they would not be happy with this malarkey. Needless to say Wacko, Texas finally paid up. (His seller name has the word ‘graciously’ in it by the way. I should have guessed.)