McGregor Klopman Fabric Clarks Desert Boots Vintage 1960s Advertisement

A Man You Can Lean On, That’s Klopman (1966)

Been a bit tardy with post recently due to other commitments, but fear not I’ve been clipping ads of interest behind the scenes and will be posting some of them over the next week or so.

As well as the odd more in depth piece, sometimes it’s nice just to look at stuff, right? Pick up that inspiration and go to your own wardrobe and mix things up a bit.

In the 1950s and 60s there was a huge amount of advertising by chemical companies promoting their latest miracle fabrics, usually some kind semi-accidental by-product of the oil refining process.

This is one aspect of Ivy Leagues style that we all prefer to forget these days, the Dacrons, and Poly Cottons that even the venerable institutions like Brooks Brothers proudly trotted out for the delight and ease of use of their customers. The only difference is that in those days they didn’t apply technology to everything whereas now BB seem hell bent on removing all traces of natural cotton in favour of cemented plastic coated non-iron shirts.

All that aside, it did produce some great ads and this one for McGregor sportwear with Klopman fabric is no exception. This is a great look, a Maine Guide Field Parka with gray slacks and (presumably) Clarks Desert Boots well worn at that. There is also a slight resemblance to the infamous Herb Lester. Could it be him?

I Was a CIA Ivy Look Spy!

I don’t normally re-blog the work of others, but sometimes you come across something that’s too good not to share.

Take the very excellent The Ivy League Look blog’s recent post on the CIA having issues wearing Ivy League style….

CIA wearing Ivy League clothes... Click on images for original source

… and the Russian KGB trying to mimic it!

KGB Spies Urged to Adopt Ivy League Look

Always great posts from The Ivy League Look.

Clarks Loden Green DBs Now in London…NOT!

Sorry false report from Mr Herb Lester I’m afraid – see comments below. Herb is much apologetic, but easy mistake to make – the ‘Tobacco Suede’ are the colour of loden cloth, whereas the Loden Suede are so dark green as to be almost black. Go figure.

My Loden Green desert boots arrived from the USA last week after the usual theft by HMRC of 20% of the dollar amount taxed as if it were GBP. Anyway, that aside, the colour is great but they also suffer from a trait that I remember from the last pair of Loden I bought (which was in 1983!). That is the suede is like concrete. Almost as if to get that dark, dark green they have to spray the suede with colour. The result is a rigid boot, far from the soft comfortable tobacco pair I picked up in Clarks’ sale recently.

Hopefully they will break in.

Good news also for those who can’t be bothered with buying from Ebay USA, the Clarks store opposite Aquascutum in Regent St (remember Peter Lord?) has a ‘pop-up shop’ (Stupid, I know. Why the hell are they not selling the full range of Clarks Originals in the flagship stores anyway?) where you can pick up the desert boot in Loden, presumably for a limited time.

Also Office are currently stocking the nice cola colour (that Clarks seem have dropped again) but without the horrible table cloth lining – downside is they stock full sizes only.

Our very own up-beat intellectual colleague Mr Herb Lester, visited the pop up shop last week and let me know. He did say that he wasn’t a fan of the Loden himself due to their prevalance amongst Italian tourists milling about outside his Bloomsbury office. I have to disagree with him there, without our Italian friends the Clarks Desert Boot would have been consigned to history decades ago.

Deadstock Brooks Brothers OCBDs

I recently discovered that for years I’d been buying OCBDs from Brooks Brothers in the wrong size. Too big.

I think it all started in the 80s when I was either buying from FLIP (no choice but to fit into what they had on offer) or then later in the decade when picking up some hand me down shirts from Paul B. (the previous owner of Soho Shoes in Walkers Court, W1 now John Rushton Shoes of course). Paul was fond of the poplins, end on end and general plaid sport shirts of the day from Brooks. In those shirts a 16-4 fitted fine. When I started to order my own shirts from the Brooks catalogue (by phone and fax in those days) I gravitated towards the classic heavy oxfords, and the 16-4s in these seemed to be cut much bigger. But then in the 80s the retro look was a lot baggier, more late 50s than 60s perhaps and therefore they did not feel strange at all.

Deadstock Brooks Brothers Red University Stripe OCBD

Fast forward a number of years and there’s a generally slimmer trend to chinos and I just couldn’t wear those blouses anymore. I sold a few NOS that I had (silly me) and passed on all the others to an Ivy mad friend in Dakar.

But recently I started actually measuring the shirts that I was wearing that fit the best and disovered that I should be wearing a 15-3 in Brooks. Sure enough when I picked up a fantastic condition gold yellow (maize?) 6 button model from Cardinals5 on FNB the shirt fit like a dream. Still fuller cut than the taper fit Gant Huggers and even the Seros that I have, but absolutely wearable and with that amazing collar roll that seems so much better when the second button is lower than on later 7 button versions.

Deadstock Brooks Brothers Avocado Green Stripe OCBD

Then I noticed that Zach DeLuca had some veritable goodies for sale on his newly formed Newton Street Vintage store on Etsy. I’d already bought a very nice grey flannel suit from him back in December (I must get the leg length altered and wear it now the snows have gone) and he’d shipped that very quickly and the suit was immaculate.

A few weeks back Zach announced that he had found a little cache of deadstock Brooks Brothers shirts from circa 1990 (we know this from dates on the price tickets, but they are most likely older before ending up in a fire sale dept store) along with some near perfect condition used examples from the 50s/60s.

Being based in Cambridge MA, Zach is obviously at the ultimate centre of thrifting for Ivy style clothing and the stuff he lists always seems to be in great condition with all the items I’ve bought so far confirming that.

Having said that I should be buying 15-3, most of these shirts that Zach found were 15.5-3 but when the first one arrived (a great deadstock red white university stripe that is a very different colour to today’s model) I put into near boiling water to soak through and wash out over 20 years of shelf soiling and it sized up perfectly.

Other models that he’s had include EUC rare peach colour solids, a great deadstock avocado stripe on white and yellow/orange and white uni stripe.

Colours go around in fashion cycles just like anything else and although Brooks Brothers offerings may seem static it’s interesting to see the variation in colours of the same products over each decade: the red stripe is darker and more blood red than today, the pink solid more salmon, the yellow 50s model almost gold rather than the later primrose yellow.

Brooks Brothers Yellow Uni Stripe OCBD

Brooks Brothers Peach Solid OCBD

Brooks Brothers Yellow Solid OCBD

Some idiot, who shall remain nameless and who doesn’t know any better, recently made this statement on his own web review of Zach’s Etsy store.

“Note to US readers: 17 of Newton Street’s past 21 sales have gone to the United Kingdom. Help do your part as a patriot to keep American clothing in America.”

Such childish xenophobia does not appear to be Mr DeLuca’s attitude and his shipping rates are very low to the EU and he ships fast, too.

Those in the USA may consider Zach’s prices a tad high, but he’s the one doing the sourcing work and when you consider that a new non-iron plastic coated made in malaysia BB shirt costs around £100 here anyway, why not buy an authentic original?

NewtonStreetVintage on Etsy (and all images on this page are Zach’s from his store)

1960s Deadstock Keith Highlanders Long Wing Brogues

Keith Highlander is one of the lesser known names in the great pantheon of classic American shoemakers. Once a household name, these days it hardly warrants a mention on the tradly forums where Alden is God (and Allen Edmonds a mere disciple).

But if you look back in time and see the advertisements in the newspapers and magazines of the past brands like Keith Highlanders and Nettleton were serious players and made some of the shoes that today are classified as American classics. Nettleton patented the style and name The Loafer in 1937 and George Keith produced the legendary shoes with brick red soles called Walk Over.

Even before Walk Over was a name synonymous with saddle shoes and dirty bucks, the Geo E Keith Walk Over company was producing some of the finest boots and shoes in American history. Sales in 1910 were over $12,000,000 with a payroll of $3,000,000. That’s a concern of enormous size.

George Keith was one of the US industrialists at the heart of modernising methods of production and factory experience for his workers, the realisation of which allowed the US to overtake Great Britain in the dominance for global reach of its goods in the early 20th Century. Hard to believe now but Walkover even had a store in London in the early 1900s!

Amongst the American makers of the long wing brogue, Keith Highlanders heold their own. More substantial and ‘blunt’ looking than the Florsheim Kenwood Imperial the Highlanders are similar to the Alden LWB. This particular pair is a deadstock model dating from 1960s, although possibly earlier. Late 70s and 80s Keith Highlanders brogues had inferior pigskin linings and sprayed colour antiquing along with rubber heels.

The heels on this pair feature a leather top piece with a plastic plug to perform the same function as Florsheim’s famous ‘V-cleat’. The original laces were tied in the eyelets in bunches and had never even been laced. The shoe in the photo was laced by me in order to try them on.

This particular pair I managed to find online from a very friendly seller who was happy to ship to England and I think quite pleased they’d gone to a good home. It’s also hard to find deadstock shoes in decent width sizes, for obvious reasons. These are an E fit (more or less an F un UK sizes) and so nice an wide.

Although vintage deadstock, I will be putting metal toe plates on the front of these and start wearing them in. It’s going to take some time, but they will probably last my lifetime having lasted nearly as long as me in their virgin state.

The pebble grain in so called ‘British Tan’, a colour that only Americans have ever heard of, and the deep ‘wheeling’ impression around the welt just add the to overall effect of these superb shoes. No wonder Americans sometimes call the LWB ‘gunboats’.

Special Thanks to Jonathan for selling them to me in the first place.

Vintage Ray Ban Shooters

Ray Ban Aviators are still classics and easy to find Bausch & Lomb originals

It’s the first day of February, the snowdrops are coming out and we’ve had the first day of sun this week since the start of the year. Naturally, thoughts turn to preparing for warner weather and what’s more indicative of that than a great pair of classic sunglasses.

I’ve just picked up a couple of pairs on Ebay US and Ebay Italy but whilst I’m waiting for those I thought I’d post some great vintage sunglasses ads.

Other Classic Brands Were Willson...

... and Mitchells Shooters

I’ll post the actual glasses I bought when they arrive. Meanwhile those in need of some vintage Ratti Persols should check out Masa’s blog simply called M – Vintage Sunglasses Collection