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Tag: L.L. Bean

Hunting, Fishing and Camping

First published in 1942 by Leon L. Bean, Hunting, Fishing and Camping is a classic outdoors manual full of howto’s and practical advice. Topics include how to hunt for different types of wildlife, safety, fly-fishing, and cooking out in the field. While it’s fairly old and not carefully edited, most of the information is still relevant and helpful.

Recent copies are easy to find for purchase (and it makes a great gift) but a version published in 1993 is also available for free viewing online. [Google Books]

From Chapter 22 – “You may have read or have heard that fly fishing is an art that requires expensive equipment and the mastery of many difficult tricks. Perhaps you have neglected this part of fishing because you have considered the sport hard to learn. But you certainly won’t learn to fly fish if you don’t try.”

His section on recommended clothing in chapter 12:

Shoes: One pair 12″ Leather Top Rubbers. I also take along a pair of 6 1/2″ Moccasins to wear on dry days on the ridges before snow comes.

Stockings: Two pairs knee-length heavy woolen and two pairs light woolen.

Underwear: Two union suits same as worn at home.

Pants: One pair medium weight all wool with knit or zipper bottom. Also wear from home your heaviest business suit. [?]

Coat: One medium weight, all wool, red and black with game pocket in back.

Shirt: Two medium weight, all wool; one to be red plaid in case you go out to drag in deer without coat.

Cap: A reversible red on one side for deer hunting and brown on the other side for duck hunting.

Gloves: One pair of light weight woolen with leather strips on fingers.

Handkerchiefs: Six red bandanas. Do not use white in woods. I also recommend colored toilet paper.

Miscellaneous: One pair heavy suspenders, one heavy belt, one very light weight sweater or wind breaker, one silk rain shirt, one pajama suit, two towels, a few toilet articles, and one pair slippers. Coming from a long hunt change to slippers and light stockings. This is important to keep feet in best condition.

I believe the “leather top rubbers” would later become the Bean Boot, but I’m not sure what he meant by “heaviest business suit”.


Old Is New Again

Apparently TIME magazine has a public archive of old articles on their website and it was fun searching through them for familiar topics:

The Call of the Wilderness

Manhattanites in plaid flannel shirts and crepe-soled leather boots are hiking down Fifth Avenue. Students in goose-down vests and baggy sweatpants are trekking through Harvard Square. Dudes in lumber jackets are hanging out in Beverly Hills. Few of these folks have a clue how to swing a fly rod or an ax. But they do know that outdoor gear designed for the backwoods has come in from the cold for wear everywhere.

That was written in 1976, but reads like it could have been from yesterday.

Here Comes the Preppie Look, written in 1980. The quote from the Cable Car Clothiers manager is great.

Out with the baggy jeans, the chinoiserie, the gypsy queen regalia. In with the snappy blue blazers and tweed hacking jackets, button-down Oxford-cloth shirts and Shetland sweaters, khaki slacks and tartan skirts. This summer and fall, the fashion-conscious woman will be wearing exactly what the fashion-unconscious woman has been wearing for decades. It is currently labeled the Preppie Look, though the style has also been known as Ivy League, Town and Country, Brooks Brothers or—in England —County. Mother would approve…

…The vogue is not tied to any individual designer. Indeed, in some ways it represents a rebellion against duds that bear big-name labels. Says Armond Suacci, manager of Cable Car Clothiers in San Francisco: “Preppie people do not need designers because they already have taste in clothing.”

A Ralph Lauren piece from 1986 – Selling a Dream of Elegance and the Good Life. He was on the cover of that issue.

Fashion Designer Ralph Lauren grew up a long way from all the things he really admired: hand-tailored clothes, manor houses, sports cars, fine horses and manicured lawns. But call it a yearning process: as an outsider to that world, Bronx-born Lauren dreamed up his own brand of gentility and style. Now he has managed to create an image and a company that have nearly cornered the market for supplying today’s would-be Gatsbys. Shunning hipness and flamboyance, Lauren cultivates the up-and-coming customer’s appreciation for things and dreams that last.

A profile on L.L. Bean (the man himself) in 1962 – What No One Else Has As Good As

Wives v. Boots. Founder and autocratic boss of this Down-East Abercrombie & Fitch is L. L. (for Leon Leonwood) Bean, 90, a crusty Yankee who is more woodsman than businessman. Bean still works vigorously each day in a glassed-in office amidst the production line, is proud of the fact that he has bagged 35 deer in his lifetime. (“That’s a lot of deer, son. You can get only one a year, you know.”) He personally edits each entry in the Bean mail-order catalogue, and his spare, disarming style has been used in advertising textbooks as exemplary of what direct-mail selling should be. Sample: “Most hunters and fishermen smoke. For a long time we searched for an outstanding pipe. This pipe is the result.”

Some other interesting pieces:
The Brick-Red Look
Back to Braces
The Regimental Tie

Chamois Cloth Shirts

The chamois cloth shirt has been a longtime favorite among outdoorsmen – made from soft sueded cotton (think flannel), they are ideal for layering in cold weather and are about as warm as wool. Just don’t get them wet. Some newer ones for consideration this season:

An LL Bean chamois cloth shirt in the Signature line catalog. Their copy says that it was first introduced in 1933, but I’ve seen references that state that LL Bean first introduced chamois cloth shirts around 1927-28 – perhaps they’re referring to a particular version of the shirt? The design has supposedly not changed much over the years.

Update: Here’s an explanation on the difference in years (click on the chamois cloth shirt image).

Made of thick brushed cotton to mimic the supple feel of chamois leather, ”Bean’s Leatherette Shirt” first appeared in a Fall 1927 catalog. Five years later it returned as the Chamois Cloth Shirt, and as Leon Leonwood told his customers, ”This is the shirt I personally use on all my hunting and fishing trips.”

In the coming decades L.L.Bean would introduce dozens of chamois shirts, varying the styling and colors slightly to keep up with changing times. This model harks back to the original.

So, same shirt, but with a different name.

J.Crew’s new version in their utility shirt cut, it’s much better fitting if you’re not looking for an overshirt.

Old magazine ads for chamois cloth shirts – just about all outdoor clothing companies made them.


New Moccasins from L.L. Bean

More info on Sartorially Inclined. The navy suede versions are going to be a hit.


L.L. Bean’s Norwegian Sweater

LL Bean is set to reintroduce its older Norwegian fisherman’s sweater within a few weeks, and I’m sure that the Americana crowd in NYC will be sporting them not long after. If you purchase one, please only do it because you like the sweater and not because it’s some supposed Ivy League icon (it wasn’t even popular until the Preppy Handbook was published in 1980 – you guys realize that it was written as a joke and not an official guide on how to dress, right?). And yes, wearing one will make you look as goofy as the people you’ve seen wearing them in the old pictures online.

Update: I’ve been told that LL Bean is now selling the sweater by phone (800-441-5713), cost is $129.

If you don’t want to wait for LL Bean’s sweater, Woolrich has its own version in the John Rich and Bros. collection this season which you can buy now at Barneys.

Woolrich Norwegian Sweater

L.L. Bean Signature

According to this piece in the NYT today, Alex Carleton of Rogues Gallery will be helping L.L. Bean out with a new low cost line with better silhouettes.  The first pieces will be available in Spring 2010. I’m looking forward to how this will turn out, and I really like that they’re not trying to do another Woolrich Woolen Mills:

Chris Vickers, a vice president in charge of L. L. Bean Signature, said the prices have not been determined but that you can expect a woven shirt to cost $50 to $70 and a sport jacket about $200. The biggest difference from the classic sportswear will be a fit that is closer to the body.

“We’re not looking to be sold at Colette,” Mr. Carleton said, referring to the avant-garde fashion emporium in Paris. “This is for modern, everyday dressing. My goal is not to challenge you. My goal is to make your life better.”

LL Bean Signature
Website: http://www.llbean.com/llbeansignature/

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