More Vintage OCBDs – Gant ‘The Hugger’

Eight Vintage Button Downs Looking Like a J.Simons Shelf

Eight Vintage Button Downs Looking Like a J.Simons Shelf

Following on from the recent post about Sero shirts, the postman called early this morning bringing a nice big box from the US of A containing eight more vintage new old stock button down shirts of various pedigrees.

As you can see from the photo above (TIP: Click on Images to Expand Full Size), I now have a stack of shirts that looks like one of the binnacles in J Simons, and all my size. The original packaging of the shirts brings with its own dilemma. Just like finding a rare sealed vinyl copy of something you’ve been dying to hear for years the question is: to unwrap or not unwrap.

Well these were bought for wearing and so shall be ceremoniously opened, unpinned and worn proudly.

The first one was described my secret shirt supplying source as a Sero S/S but actually it’s Gant ‘The Hugger’ and I couldn’t be more pleased as its a slim fit with longer 60s collar points and of course the locker loop, back collar button and sewn in seller’s label. In fact the sewing and label placement just confims to me that the plae blue oxford in the last post is certainly a Gant model.

Gant The Hugger S/S Oxford in Original Bag

Gant The Hugger S/S Oxford in Original Bag

Legend has it that Sero was started by one of the Gant family after he fell out with his brother, and that makes sense as the two brands were head to head for a long time. Of course Gant is now an international Dad’s fashion emporium run by Swedes.

Wikipedia has this to say about Gant button downs in the 60s:

The 1960s

Gant dress shirts were de rigueur for American male students in the early and mid 1960s. The shirts were worn open-collar and without necktie, with the top button open to reveal the roll of the collar, except when the formality of an occasion demanded otherwise. The front of the shirt buttoned along a double-truck hem, a feature that became absolutely requisite for any brand targeted at adolescents and young men. Other manufacturers offered similar product, but only Sero, another premium-priced line, matched the Gant style, distinguishing its shirts solely by omission of the distinctive Gant loop at the top of the back pleat, and sometimes dispensing with the double pleat down the center back in favor of single pleats on the back shoulders. Sero was considered to be the only truly acceptable alternative to Gant in the youth market. All other brands, for whatever reason, clearly identified themselves as knockoffs by failing to precisely conform to the Gant cut. In 1964, Gant participated in the Madras craze, offering shirts in both the proprietary Gant cut and other styles. The Gant-cut Madras cloth shirts were the most prized.

And the baby opened up:

Gant The Hugger White Short Sleeve Oxford

Gant The Hugger White Short Sleeve Oxford

A few pin stains but nothing like you would expect on a 40 year old shirt.

60s Gant The Hugger Out of the Bag

60s Gant The Hugger Out of the Bag

Gant The Hugger With Original Tissue Paper

Gant The Hugger With Original Tissue Paper

Gant The Hugger Hannays Phoenix Scottsdale

Gant The Hugger Hannay's Phoenix Scottsdale

Gant Back Collar

Gant Back Collar

Coming soon! Vintage New Old Stock Button Downs Exposed!


Sorry Norman, I Said 'Sero' NOT 'Psycho'

So much encouraging feedback on forums like Film Noir Buff and Ask Andy means I will certainly be keeping up the regular posts. With Mrs Weejun’s camera this weekend I will take some snaps of some of the NOS vintage OCBDs that I’ve been picking up from a secret US stash (fortunately my size – unfortunately limited in number), including Sero, Gant, The Natural and others.

Oh the joy of opening a new packet Sero ‘The Purist’ (in light green no less) with all those little paper tags and cellophane collar clips and REAL pins (not plastic clips).

My source had an older brother that couldn’t go past a shirt sale in the 60s without buying more than he needed. 40 years later out of the attic they come…

I should do one of those ‘unwrapping my new ipod box fresh’ style vids that tech geeks do on You Tube, but I fear it may incite the wrong crowd like this one for weejuns here

whoops, what have I got myself involved in?!

Weejun Wearer of the Week

Part One in an occasional, but hopefully weekly series where I post images of loafer lovers from the past. Whether they are Weejuns or not..

Very Young Debbie Reynolds Wearing Weejuns 1950

Very Young Debbie Reynolds Wearing Weejuns 1950

The Weejun Takes Off!

Just a quick early morning post to say thanks to everyone who has visited this new blog in the couple of days since launch. The traffic and response has been amazing and of course leads me to be even more enthusiastic to maintain it and keep sharing the knowledge, stories and questions built up over 30 years of seeking, buying  and wearing Americana.

The Weejun

Bass Weejuns vs J.M. Weston – Who Wins the NY Times Shoe-tout?

Bad puns aside, having worn both the Bass Weejun and the J.M. Weston loafer over the years I do think that comparing the two, one an unlined moccassin construction handsewn loafer and the other a bench made channel stitched goodyear welted number, a bit like comparing an Alfa Romeo Duetto with a Mercedes SL – it depends what you need on the day – but this New York Times article is more revealing than most…

The $63 Bass Weejun

The $63 Bass Weejun

The $545 J.M. Weston loafer

The $545 J.M. Weston loafer

Deconstructing the myth…

The Outsole: For a supposed professor he doesn’t seem to be able to point out clearly that one has a lockstitched and glued sole (weejun) whilst the other has a goodyear welted sole.

The Insole: Being a genuine moccassin the Weejun doesn’t need a full leather insock. By contrast if the Weston didn’t have one you’d soon know about it with nasty toe blisters

The Vamp: This is where the poor modern day Weejun is let down badly. The Bass shoe was never made with the best quality leather but these days comes in a nasty shiny coated leather (see the Weejun Colour Hack for how to remove this) whereas the Weston gets its French Calf from one of the best (and last) great tanneries in Europe.

The Winner?: There isn’t $482 difference in comfort though as any Weejun and Weston owning dude will tell you!

The Weejun Colour Hack – Stop Clowning Around!

The Toffee Apple Finish on US Made Weejuns Had to Go - See How It Turns Out Below...

The Toffee Apple Finish on US Made Weejuns Had to Go - See How It Turns Out Below...

I bagged this pair of original USA made Weejuns on Ebay recently. After many times looking at the images I really wasn’t sure if I wanted a pair that had this antiqued look, much less one that had been so super polished, but they looked in excellent condition and after all US made pairs in your own size are hard to come by, so I took the plunge seeing as nearly all US Ebay auctions end when Mr & Mrs Weejun are tucked up for the duration I got the sniper out and set it to make sure I won. I was a bit surprised to see they had gone up to $30 to win, simply because they had been listed the week before at $19.99 and no one (including me who fell asleep as did my laptop whilst waiting for the auction end) bothered to bid.

Still the seller was cool and shipped them quickly. I was off to work in Italy for a week and when I got back, the shoes had arrived (along with an excellent pair of black Dexter beefroll pennies that I picked up the same evening for a mere £12). Horror of horrors – what to do? The shoes were in great shape but looked as if they were made from toffee apples (candy apples to you folks on the other side). Mrs Weejun laughed at yet another Ebay disaster. But I held firm because I had a secret weapon. The Weejun Colour Hack as described by one of the fellow shoe nuts on the Ask Andy Trad Forum, writing under the moniker of Continental Fop.

Following Mr Fop’s sage advice I duly stripped off the sugar candy coating with rubbing alcohol (surgical spirit from Boots the Chemist) and a scotchbrite pan scourer. Unfortunately, being of an impatient persuasion although I did find the Fop’s preferred Chocolate Fiebling’s Shoe Dye on EBay UK, I picked one up a bottle of Punch medium brown from the local how-can-it-possibly-survive-selling-only -laces-and-polish shoe repair emporium and gave the now bright matt red shoes two or three liberal coats of brown overlay. A massive dolloping of Boston Leather Cream later and I now have what passes for a well cared for 40 year old pair of Weejuns that don’t look like they were made for a clown’s weekend off.

The holy grail may well be Wilton made Weejuns, but I have to say the leather and making (of the uppers at least) on my modern black Weejuns is far superior to crappy leather used on these late model US ones.

Am still searching for that elusive mint N734 in proper oxblood instead of blackcurrent they now sell. Anyone wth a pair in 10 or 10.5D or wider just email me for a swift profit.

Check out the now vintage finish below…

Weejuns Now Looking Happier Thanks to Weejun Colour Hack

Weejuns Now Looking Happier Thanks to Weejun Colour Hack

Welcome to the Weejun

Welcome The Weejun. Long overdue and many months in gestation, The Weejun will be my attempt to make sense of my last thirty years or so obsession with Americana, driven by movies, music and of course classic clothing.

That isn’t to say there haven’t been (or still are) touches of European influence along the way (Weston Chasses, Persol 714s etc).

I’m also going to pull up some nice bits I come across on ebay, not just so you can buy them (if you get there in time), but also as an ongoing record of those classic elements of Americana style.

Music and movies will make their appearance too, along with reminiscences of earlier days when if you saw someone on the streets of London wearing a pair of Weejuns, or carrying a Chico Hamilton Quintet LP you just had to stop and say hello…

Comments and stories welcome!

The Weejun

February 2009