Posts Tagged ‘wolverine boots

12
Nov
12

Best Stores To Find Clothing Made in the USA

Clothingmadeinusablog lists their favorite places to find made in USA clothing.

We all know that finding clothing made in the United States can be very difficult. That is because only 2% of our clothes are manufactured in the U.S. in 2013. Therefore, it takes a plan in order to find these precious gems. Some tips can be gleened from my blog entry ‘Best Tips to Buying.’ One of the basic tips is that small independent stores are good bets because they do not have to buy in gigantic volumes and because of their independent nature, they are more likely than the chain store outlets to carry U.S made clothing. So visit your nearby independent clothing store and check the label.

Department Stores

Even the best department stores will carry only about 2% of American made clothing, mostly because they deal with great volumes of clothing. The worst of the department stores like Kohl’s will carry less than 0.001% American made. Overall from the best to worst goes like this: Nordstroms> Nordstroms Rack> Nieman Marcus> Barneys> Saks fifth Avenue> Bloomingdales> Macys> Dillards> Target> WalMart> Sears> JC Pennys> Kohls.

How Best To Use This Information

For this listing to have the most relevance for yourself, let me first describe, what I, personally, am looking for. First, the clothing must be made in the USA. Second, I prefer a well-constructed quality garment. Third, the item can be found at a brick and mortar store. Regarding the particular stores, I am listing stores that on an ordinary day should have certain amount of made in USA clothing. In this blog entry I tend to list more of the larger stores so that people across the United States can also utilize this list. Please be aware that many small independent stores may actually carry more made in USA clothing than many of the chains. Also, note, I live in Northern California, so not all chains extend across the United States, plus I live in a metropolitan area, so my number of choices may be much more abundant than if you live in a rural area or small town. My listing will be divided up by clothing garments. Based on the above, you can see whether my information is relevant to you.

Mens Clothing: Casual Pants

Some of the most common casual pants made in the USA are: Adriano Goldschmied (A/G), Citizens of Humanity, J. Brand, Paige, Postage At Nordstroms. Nieman Marcus: J.Brand, Rag & Bone (also found at Rag & Bone stores in New York City). Barney’s: Band of Outsiders and Thom Browne. If you are looking for less expensive casual pants, I would suggest American Apparel.

Dress Pants

Brands of dress pants (this is a very difficult item to find): Joseph Abboud, Riveira, Nuvo at Nordstrom’s Rack (if one is lucky).  There are fine dress pants available at Alan Edmonds as well as Bills Khakis. If one is lucky, one may find brand name of Fitzgerald or Madison, made in the USA, at Brooks Brothers. Hickey Freeman is a good choice for fine dress pants. Thom Browne can be found at Barneys. Nordstroms is now carrying Alex Maine pants and Hugo Boss pants (rarely) made in the US.

Jeans

Thank goodness, many brands of jeans are still made in the USA, but Wrangler and Lee no longer make any in the U.S. Levi’s still makes a limited amount in the US, they can be found in their flagship store (1155 Battery) in San Francisco. The United States makes great jeans, and especially the high quality selvedge jeans, see my link: selvedge jeans Made in the USA. Since there are so many brands of jeans to be found, my preference is going to Nordstroms Rack, they carry brands such as 7 For All Mankind, Paige Premium, A/G, Joe’s, and True Religion. One can also visit some outlet stores of True Religion and 7 For All Mankind. Blues Jean Bar also carries their own brands.

Dress Shirts

Dress Shirts brands made in the US are few, but there is  one new maker of American dress shirts. Best known for its great dress shoes, Allen Edmonds now makes dress shirts found in its stores or on-line. Other brands like Gitman Brothers can be found at small stores like Bill’s Khaki’s or Barney’s. Thom Browne, winner of my Best Dress Shirt in the United States, can be found at Barneys. Brooks Brothers carries Black Fleece but very few under its Brooks Brothers label. Robert Talbott shirts made in the USA (small amount of them are made in the US) can be found in Robert Talbott stores and outlets. If you happen to be in New York City, try and find Oxxford, makers of fine clothing since the 1916.

Casual Shirts

Casual shirts run the gamut of semi-dressy to T-shirt like design. For collared, long sleeved, buttoned up shirts, I like Freemans Sporting Club and Bill’s Khakis. For polo shirts, I prefer James Perse. Agave is another great brand of casual shirts. For T-shirts, there is a multitude to chose of brands to choose from. For T-shirts, I prefer to go to the Nordstroms Rack or Off 5th Avenue.

Underwear

Men’s underwear has a very small number of brands available. I prefer to go to American Apparel for this. Sometimes, I get lucky and find some REI underwear made in the US at REI. But my favorite is bgreen found at Eco Goods in Santa Cruz, CA. Otherwise, going on the internet and go to Flint and Tinder or Ramblers Way.

Socks

There are numerous brands of socks made in the United States. Just about all stores may have a few brands, even Walmart and Target, maybe not Kohl’s. For a listing of the various brands of socks, follow this link: socks.

Shoes

For athletic shoes, running, cross training, and tennis shoes, there is only one American brand that makes these shoes in the United States, it is New Balance. For dress shoes, there are a few choices, but my favorite is Allen Edmonds, there are more and more A.E. stores going across the United States all the time. Dress Boots – there are a few big names still around: Red Wing, Frye’s, and my favorite Wolverine, the 1000 mile design. Red Wings Boots can be found at their stores. Frye’s and Wolverine boots can be found at various different department stores and independent stores across the United States. For a list of shoes made in the U.S. follow this link: shoes.

Sports Jackets

Sports jackets are one of the articles of clothing that the United States are still one of the best at manufacturing. Many times companies have sent their manufacturing to China, just to bring it back because of poor manufacturing. The major makers of sports jackets can be found at Nordstroms, Nordstroms Rack, lesser amounts at Macy’s, Bloomingdales and Dillards. The brands include: Hart-Schauffner-Marx, Hickey Freeman, Joseph Abboud. Brooks Brothers also carries a couple of lines of brands.

Women’s Clothing

Tops & Blouses

There are many U.S. made brands in many department stores. Many brands can be found in independent stores. In some department stores, some of the US made clothing is grouped into one area. Best bets: independent stores. For department stores: Nordstroms, Nordstroms Rack, Bloomingdale, Macy’s. Much less is found in Walmart, Target, Sears, J.C. Penneys (nearly zero). The worst is Kohls. NiemanMarcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Barneys may have a better selection of the more expensive and higher quality tops and dresses. The very, very discount stores Marshalls, Ross, T.J. Maxx and Burlington Coat Factory are overall poor choices to find U.S. made clothes. If I had to chose a best store to find clothing made in the US for women, I would chose Micheal Stars.

Jeans

There is an even greater selection of jeans for women than there is for men. For this reason, I would suggest one of the Department Discount stores like Nordstroms Rack. The brands most often seen are Hudson, Paige, Not Your Daughters Jeans, Joe’s, 7 For All Mankind, and True Religion. Outlet stores of the makers of jeans like 7 For All Mankind and True Religion are also good choices to find U.S. made jeans, but not Lucky Jeans nor Levi’s (unless you go to the flagship store). Don’t forget to try the smaller independent stores as well which carry many other brands.

Underwear

Underwear made in the USA for women, like underwear for men, are in very short supply. The list is limited. Hanky Panky can be found at Nordstroms. American Apparel is always a good source of just about all types of clothing and they are always made in the United States. For other brands of underwear, please follow the link: underwear made in the USA.

Socks

There are multiple makers of socks made in the US. Most stores will carry some US made socks. see my blog entry on socks for the almost 100 brands of socks made in the USA.

Shoes

New Balance is the only US made brand that makes athletic shoes, but, fortunately, they make many different models. For dress shoes, the selection is actually pretty sparse. Hands down the best choice is Nordstroms with its brands of: Athena, Callisto, Dezario, Icon, Jack Rogers, Munro, and Onex. For a full list of US made shoes, follow this link: Shoes Made in the U.S.

Buying Clothing via the Internet

There are hundreds of companies that sell only through the internet. I have a blog entry with many links to find those garments Made in the USA at Listing of Brands of Clothing Made in the USA via Internet. Some of my favorites are Flint and Tinder and American Giant. Updated December 10, 2013

“Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.” – Bo Derek

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21
Sep
12

My First Year Search for Clothing Made in the USA

The main purpose for my blog: clothingmadeinusablog was to see if I could find enough clothing made in non-slave labor countries or preferably made in the USA to complete an entire wardrobe. I have been looking for a little over a year and I believe that I have been very successful. In this blog entry, I will list the clothing I have bought over the past 15 months. There are a few times that I did buy clothing from slave labor countries. Sometimes, there were no other choices, but other times I could have gone without – usually items that had my favorite team or favorite band’s logo on it. This coming year, I will not buy these items if they are not made in the USA – I can definitely go without.

My closet with non slave labor clothing

The Inventory

As you may have noticed if you have visited my website previously that I like to publish lists. So, below, I will list my purchases over the past 15 months by types of clothing , adding the brand name and country of manufacture.

Dress Shirts

  1. Breuer x 2, Italy
  2. Brooks Brothers x3, USA
  3. Equilibrio, Italy
  4. Eton, Sweden
  5. Hamilton x 2, USA
  6. Haupt, Germany
  7. Hickey Freeman, Italy
  8. Hickey Freeman, Peru
  9. Hlaska x 3, USA
  10. Ike Behar x 5, USA
  11. Ike Behar x 2, Italy
  12. Oxxford, USA
  13. Robert Talbott x 4, USA
  14. Truzzi, Italy
  15. Zara, Spain

Remaining 3 Versace shirts, Turkey. Goal: No definite immediate needs.

Casual Shirts

  1. Bill’s Khakis x 2, USA
  2. Blues Jean Bar, USA
  3. Brioni, Italy
  4. Brooks Brothers, USA
  5. Flat Head & Co, Japan
  6. Freemans Sporting Club x 4, USA
  7. Hickey Freeman, Italy
  8. Hlaska x 4, USA
  9. J. Lawrence Khaki, USA
  10. Just Cavalli, Italy
  11. Magestic, USA
  12. Marine Layer, USA
  13. Rag and Bone, USA
  14. Ralph Lauren, India (Funny story, I found this RRL (retro Ralph Lauren) shirt, made in USA, in a medium, but it was a little large, so they went in the back of the store and found a small, and wrapped it up. However, when I got home, I noticed that the small was made in India and I wasn’t going all the way back to San Francisco to return it).

Remaining: 4 imported casual shirts. Goal: Maybe another high quality Italian shirt.

Sweatshirt

  1. AKWA, USA
  2. Bobby Jones, Peru

Polo Shirts

  1. Agave, USA
  2. American Apparel, USA
  3. Crosswinds x 2, USA
  4. Gypsy, USA
  5. Hickey Freeman x 3, Italy
  6. James Perse, USA
  7. Marine Layer, USA
  8. Threads 4 Thought, USA
  9. Van Glory x 2, USA

Remaining: 17 imported shirts, 2 from Italy. Goal: Slowly replace all imported polos, most likely with Agave polos.

Hawaiian Shirts

  1. Ali’i Fashions, USA
  2. Disney Parks, USA
  3. Hilo Hatties, USA
  4. Iolani, USA
  5. Jacqueline on Kauai, USA
  6. Kahala x3, USA
  7. KY’s, USA
  8. Mokulele Farms, USA
  9. Penney’s (vintage 1960 shirt), Japan
  10. Tori Richard x 5, USA
  11. Two Palms

Remaining: Arii, Tahiti; Gear (Logo: Silver Oak Winery), China; Gold (Logo: Mario Andretti Winery), China; Hilo Hatties, USA; Jade Fashions, USA; Tommy Bahama x 4, China; Tori Richard, China x 2, USA x 1. Goal: Continue to avoid Tommy Bahama, and get rid of them. Get rid of Silver Oak Winery shirt, Buy more well designed US made Hawaiian shirts, maybe two or three.

T Shirts

  1. American Apparel
  2. Anvil (Logo), Nicaragua
  3. Chaser 88, USA
  4. English Laundry x 2, USA
  5. Ezekiel, USA
  6. Farm Tactics, USA
  7. Go Barefoot, USA
  8. Gramicci, USA
  9. Green Label, USA
  10. Howe, USA
  11. Junk Food x 7, USA
  12. No Enemy, USA
  13. O’Neill, USA
  14. Quicksilver, USA
  15. R44, USA
  16. Red Jacket, USA
  17. Retro x 2, USA
  18. Royal Apparel x 3, USA
  19. Teddy The Dog, USA
  20. Unknown label (Kauai Logo), USA
  21. Versace, Italy
  22. Wet Cement, USA
  23. Yesterdays x 2

Remaining: 35 T shirts. Goal: Good for now.

Dress Pants

  1. Emile Lafaurie x 2, Portugal
  2. Giorgio Armani, Italy
  3. Joseph Abboud x 3, USA
  4. Nuvo, USA
  5. Ralph Lauren x 2, Canada
  6. Riviera x 2, USA

Remaining: Armani Collezioni, Turkey; Claiborne, Mexico; George, Indonesia; Kenneth Cole, Vietnam. Goal: Replacing all the old imported dress pants. Need another pair of dress black pants.

Casual Pants

  1. Adriano Goldschmied, USA
  2. Armani Collezioni, Romania
  3. Citizens of Humanity x 2, USA
  4. Ernest Sewn, USA
  5. J. Brand, USA
  6. Paige, USA
  7. Postage, USA
  8. Rag and Bone, USA
  9. True Religion, USA


Remaining: Ashworth, India; Calvin Klein, China; IZOD, Bangladesh; North Face, India; Office Gentleman, China; Tommy Bahama, China. Goal: Replacing all imported casual pants with ones made in USA.

Jeans

  1. Levi Strauss, USA
  2. Rag & Bone, USA
  3. Raleigh Denim, USA
  4. 7 For All Mankind, USA

Remaining: 1 pair of Gap remake of retro 1969 jeans, China. Goal: Probably no new jeans, will hold on to Gap jeans for heavy outdoor work.

Shoes

  1. Allen Edmonds, Black dress, USA
  2. Allen Edmonds, boat shoes, Dominican Republic ( I was not happy when I found out they were not made in the US)
  3. Bacco Bucci, Brown casual, Italy
  4. Brunomagli, Oxford dress, Italy
  5. Eduardo G., Brown casual, Portugal
  6. Mercanti Fiorentini, Brown casual x 2 pairs, Italy
  7. Mercanti Fiorentini, Black casual, Italy
  8. Mercanti Fiorentini, Black dress, Italy
  9. MikeKonos, Brown suede, Italy
  10. Wolverine 1000 mile, Brown casual, USA
  11. Wolverine 1000 mile, Black Boots, USA

Remaining: Bostonian, Black Dress, Italy; Mercanti Fiorenti, Black dress, Italy; Polo, Rain boots, China. Goal: More USA shoes, less Italian and and definitely no Chinese shoes.

Athletic Shoes (I had purchased two pairs of imported tennis shoes before I found that New Balance makes US made tennis shoes)

  1. Adidas, Tennis Shoes, China
  2. Asics, Gel-Nimbus II, China
  3. New Balance, Running shoes x 3 pair, USA
  4. New Balance, Cross Trainer, USA
  5. New Balance, Tennis, USA
  6. New Balance, Training, USA
  7. New Balance, Black Training, USA
  8. Nike Air Max, Tennis Shoe, China

Remaining: Brooks, Running Shoe, China; Keen, Trail Sandal, Dominican Republic; New Balance, Black trainers, USA; Timberland, Hiking shoe, Vietnam. Goal: Replace old running shoes with New Balance US made running shoes. Possibly looking for US made hiking shoe.

Golf Shoes

  1. Allen Edmonds, Black 1-up, USA
  2. Nike, golf shoes, China

Remaining : 6 pairs of imported golf shoes;.Goal: Since Allen Edmonds is the only U.S. maker of golf shoes, I plan to but one or two more pair depending on how much golf I play.

Socks

  1. Hanes (10 pair, white crew), USA
  2. Maggie’s Socks (6 pair, white, recycled), USA
  3. Nike (5 pair, black crew), USA
  4. Nike (7 pair, white crew), USA
  5. On the Tee (golf socks), USA
  6. Pearl Izumi (2 pair, bicycle socks), USA
  7. Polo (purple socks), Japan
  8. Wigwam (insulated socks), USA
  9. Wilson (tennis socks), USA
  10. unknown name with SF Giants Logo, USA
  11. unknown name with SJ Sharks Logo, USA

Remaining 4 pairs of knee high socks to go with golf knickers – made unknown, 1 pair of triathlon socks, possibly US made, and one pair of dress purple designed socks, maker unknown. Goal: to replace Knicker socks with US made knicker socks if possible.

Shorts

  1. Bill’s Khaki’s x 2, USA

Remaining 4 pairs of imported shorts. Goal: Replace all imported shorts with US made, might have to be  with more Bill’s Khakis or by the internet.

Underwear

  1. American Apparel (5 pair, different colors), USA
  2. Bamboosa, USA
  3. bgreen (3 pair), USA
  4. Patagonia, USA
  5. REI (3 pair), USA
  6. Tommy John, USA

Still remaining – Bike, compression shorts USA; Jock straps x2, Thailand; Grinch Boxers (gift) Cambodia. Goal: replace old with new as appropriate, preferably with bgreen (organic).

Undershirt

  1. Agave x 2, USA
  2. American Apparel x 4, USA
  3. Brooklyn Motors, USA
  4. Freemans Sporting Club x 2, USA
  5. Tommy John, USA

Belts

  1. A.J. Skins, Black crocodile dress, USA
  2. Allen Edmonds, Black casual, USA
  3. Allen Edmonds, Brown casual, USA
  4. Canterbury, Brown casual, USA
  5. Hlaska, Brown casual, USA
  6. Leejin, Brown casual, USA
  7. Lejon Tulliani, Black dress, USA
  8. Martin Dingman, Brown/Black dress, USA
  9. Martin Dingman, brown dress x2, USA
  10. Martin Dingman brown crocodile print, USA
  11. Tory Burch, Black casual, USA
  12. Tulliani, Black casual, USA
  13. Unknown, Black dress, Italy

Remaining: all old belts are gone except for a money belt by Design Go, unknown manufacture country. Goal: None.

Hats

  1. Bailey of Hollywood, Black straw, USA
  2. Brooks Brothers, Golf beret, Italy
  3. Dorfman Pacific Company, Bowler, USA
  4. Stetson, Beret, Germany

Remaining: 1 logo hat (SF Giants) by Red Jacket, Korea. Goal: none

Baseball Caps  (very difficult to find made in USA item)

  1. Ahead Vintage (Logo which says “Allen Edmonds est 1922 MAde in USA”), Bangladesh
  2. Old Time Hockey (Logo: San Jose Sharks), Bangladesh
  3. Port & Company (Logo: Williams Selyem Winery), China
  4. Unionwear (Logo: Barack Obama 2012), USA
  5. Unknown (Logo: Oakland A’s), China

Remaining 5 baseball caps made in USA, 9 logo baseball caps, imported, 3 runners wash and wear caps, imported: Goal: no more buying of Logo caps unless made in USA, may have to buy US made caps on-line which is difficult because you can’t try them on before purchasing.

Coats

  1. Levi’s Denim Jacket, USA
  2. Remy Leather Jacket, USA
  3. Woolrich Winter Jacket, USA

Remaining 6 imported coats. Goal – Replace imported coats with US made coats.

Sports Jackets

  1. Ermenegildo Zegna, Italy
  2. Joseph Abboud, USA
  3. Lanvin, USA
  4. Ralph Lauren, Canada

Remaining 2 imported sports Coats. Goal: No immediate needs.

Suits

No new suits purchased. Remaining suits: Versace suits x 2, Italy; Hugo Boss, USA; 3 imported suits. Goal: Possible replacing black suit with made in USA black suit.

Ties

  1. Armani Collezioni x 2, Italy
  2. Barbara Blank, USA
  3. Di Cravatte, USA
  4. Italo Ferretti, Italy
  5. Lochcarron, Scotland
  6. Michael Kensinger, USA
  7. Mosher’s Ltd. (AMA Logo), Unknown
  8. Robert Talbott Carmel x 2, USA
  9. Vesi (Cleveland Clinic Logo), China
  10. Vineyard Vines, USA

Remaining: 40 ties, mix of U.S., Italy and imported; Goal: no definite need to fill.

Conclusion

As you can see there are lots of US made clothing out there, and I bought a lot of it. My wardrobe is pretty much complete. All I need is a few odds and ends, here and there. But overall, I feel I have been successful in getting to my goal of a non slave-labor wardrobe. If you have any questions as to where I purchased any item, I would be happy to let you know.

12
May
12

Agave Polo Shirts at On The Fly

Agave Denimsmith – Free Shipping on all Agave Denimsmith Clothing. On The Fly, now offers one of my favorite made in USA clothing brands, Agave, which has just started making polo shirts. On the Fly is located in the financial district of San Francisco, 1 Embaradero Center. It has many American brands of clothing like Agave, Bill’s Khaki’s, Gitman Brothers, Martin Dingman, W. Kleinberg, and Wolverine 1,000 mile boots. It also offers many cool accessories for the gentlemen.

07
Mar
12

Shoes Made in the USA and Listing

Mainpoint: Clothingmadeinusablog searches for shoes made in the U.S.A. Plus, some fun facts about shoe history and fashion.

Unlike socks, shoes have a long history involving fashion. It is thought that shoes may have been mankind’s first clothing/clothing accessory. Most think shoes were invented for the protection of the feet. But I feel it was probably really done for fashion. Try to imagine, there, in the Garden of Eden, Eve finds these large leafy fronds and attaches them to her feet – Tah, dah! The first shoes. And what does Eve do next? She has to show Adam her new invention. So, she goes up to Adam, in her new green coverings, totally naked, except for the shoes, and says, “So, what do you think?” Adam slowly looks up and down at her and then replies, because he lives in paradise, “Those shoes just compliment the color of your eyes so well”. But what if he kept going on and on: “Those shoes are just so fantastic, maybe we need a little bag to go with it, and maybe a little mascara around the eyes and maybe a little sash …” – maybe their might not have ended up becoming the parents to the world. Then, a couple, in a later time, would take their place in history, Ethel and Frederich. Poor Ethel and Frederich. In a parallel universe they would have been considered the mother and father to all humanity. It also makes me think, how many false starts were there before Adam and Eve? Was there an Adam and Steve? Maybe it wasn’t humans that were the first choice. Maybe it was sponges. Two sponges – both bisexual – continuing to produce generation after generation, when after a couple million years, the Lord gets bored and then comes some other new characters, like aardvarks, and then, opossums, and then, humans.

But, I digress. Back to Adam and Eve, without Steve. So, there they were (in paradise) – Adam and Eve – living, enjoying, not being bothered by nosy neighbors, and admiring Eve’s new leafy shoes – when all of a sudden, things changed. The clothing industry, symbolized by a snake, sends a subtly poisonous gift, an apple – which symbolizes media advertising (infomercials, fashion magazines, television ads) which causes both Adam and Eve to be unsatisfied with their life and embarrassed by their bodies and therefore, they start wearing cheap clothes from China and buying Bowflex-like contraptions. And bam, here we are in present day.

History

No coma-inducing, snooze-fest of an article is complete without an incredibly long and irrelevant history. So, let us start our arduous trek.Study author, Erik Trinkaus, a paleoanthropologist and Chinese co-author, Hong Shang published in the July 2008 issue of The Journal of Archaelogical Science that Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis), which walked the earth 25,000 to 80,000 years ago, had differences in size and strength of their middle toe bones as one might see when one wears shoes consistently.Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Sorry, fell asleep. Where was I? Oh, yes. National Geographic found a pair of well-preserved leather shoes in Armenia in 2010, thought to be from 3500 BC. And zzz, but sandals, zzz, are even older, zzz. So, shoes have been around for a while.

Pointed Shoes and Other Fun Facts (Excerpts from Big Site of Amazing Facts)

All discussions of shoes are completely void if this question isn’t asked: “Where did pointy shoes come from?” Pointy shoes were the height of fashion in the twelfth century. It was started by a Frenchman (naturally), the count of Anjou who wished to hide his deformed feet.Fashionable shoes were soon so long that their toes had to be stuffed to prevent the wearer from constantly tripping over the ends, and at one point in history, the points of the shoes had to be fastened to the wearer’s leg just below the knee. The clergy objected vehemently to the fashion, claiming that the long-pointed shoes prevented the faithful from kneeling in church. In many communities, shoe-point length was eventually limited by law to about two inches. (Fashion fascists).

High Heels

In the sixteen century, aristocratic French women began wearing high-heeled shoes so steep that the well-heeled wearer was literally standing on her toes when she wore them, which made walking very difficult. This fashion also passed on to the Venetians who eventually outlawed the too high-heels, because of the high death rate resulting from ladies tripping and falling to their deaths. (Fashion fascists). High heels were also in fashion for men at the court of Louis XIV, because of the King’s desire to hide his diminutive stature.

Wide Shoes

Henry VIII (I am, I am) initiated the vogue for wide-tied shoes in England. The wide shoes were thought to be developed because of the King’s gout-ridden feet. Gout can make the feet very painful and very swollen, and in severe cases cause bony deformities, zzz. Sorry. The shoes grew to such widths that sometimes the shoes were wider than then they were long. Shoes became so comically wide that Parliament passed a law limiting the width of a shoe to six inches. (Fashion fascists).

Shoe Sizes

So how did we come up with shoe sizes? Good question. The English King, Edward II, decreed in 1324 that an inch was equal to three average-sized barleycorns laid end to end. I guess there was nothing more consistent than the size of barleycorns. And he further decreed that the normal shoe was declared to measure thirty-nine barleycorns (probably measuring one of his own shoes no doubt.) And from this, thirty-nine barleycorn size, he designated this to be “13” (the shoe size), most likely deriving this by using this new fangled “inch” thing. It must be remembered that at this point in time when something needed to be measured you used your foot (a foot equals a foot, which is 12 inches). Apparently, there was no contradiction that a regular shoe, which is really the foot, was 13 inches. In the United States and England the way you derive the shoe size is by starting with the standard 13 inch or 39 barleycorn shoe. To add or subtract a full shoe size you add or subtract (appropriately) one barleycorn or 1/3 of an inch. A half size would be 1/6 of an inch. To make the difficult conversion from American shoe size to English shoe size, you follow this formula: U.S. shoe size minus one equals U.K. shoe size. There, now you can buy Chinese shoes in England.

If The Shoe Fits

It seems elementary that there would be a right shoe and a left shoe. But this didn’t actually happen until 1818. That is correct, everyone was living under the premise that one shoe fits both feet. And I bet the one who first came up with the idea was ridiculed incessantly. I can imagine in a small Italian town, there are a few shoe cobblers gathered together, and one comes up with this new Left foot, Right foot idea.”How are people gonna’ know which foot is which?” ” Are you gonna paint right and left onna top of their shoes?” ” Hey, you are inna shoe store, there’s this display, whicha shoe you gonna put out, the left or the right?” Gepetto, you are crazy, you should go back to making puppets.”

But the left and right shoe thing caught on. And they fit much better. Now, you have all sort of custom type shoes: wide, extra wide, extra, extra wide, one shoe a half size bigger, orthotics and plenty of extra linings and paddings with flare (Oh, my). Linings and Paddings with Flares (Oh my).

American Shoes

Up until the last 25-30 years, if you wanted to buy shoes, they were all manufactured here in the U.S., except for some very fancy, imported Italian shoes. There were all sorts of American shoe companies: Thom McAn, Florsheim, Hush Puppies, Pro Keds, Buster Brown, etc. Then, came homeland neglect and corporate greed and soon the shoes, the clothing and everything had been outsourced, and you wake up from the nightmare and say what has happened? It is time for a change. Here is a list of shoes still made in the United States, please note that in many companies, the amount of U.S. made shoes are the minority, so check the label. (Updated March 21, 2014).

Here is the list of U.S. made shoes:

  1. Alden
  2. Allen Edmonds
  3. American Apparel
  4. Ana Tech
  5. Athena
  6. Bass (rare)
  7. Brooks Brothers
  8. Callisto
  9. Capps
  10. Carolina
  11. Chippewa Boots
  12. Clinic
  13. Cordani
  14. Danner boots
  15. Dezario
  16. Double H Boots
  17. Eastland Boots
  18. En Shalla (undrest.com)
  19. Etik (undrest.com)
  20. Five Ten (climbing shoes only)
  21. Foot Thrills
  22. Frye Boots
  23. Gokey (Through Orvis)
  24. Helm
  25. Hoy Shoe
  26. Icon
  27. Jack Rogers
  28. Jerom C. Rousseau (undrest.com)
  29. Justin Boots (also owns Chippewa, Tony Lama & Nocona Boots)
  30. Kanin
  31. KB Footwear (formerly Knapp Brothers)
  32. Keen Boots (rare)
  33. Kenneth Cole (rare)
  34. Kork Ease
  35. la botte gardiane (undrest.com)
  36. Lia Bijou
  37. LL Bean
  38. Lucchese Boots
  39. Magdesians
  40. Munro
  41. Nanette Lapore
  42. Neil M
  43. New balance
  44. Nocona Boots
  45. ONEX
  46. Orvis
  47. Rag and Bone
  48. Ralph Lauren
  49. Red Wing Boots
  50. Rocky shoes (rare)
  51. SAS shoes
  52. Sbicca
  53. Schnee’s Boots
  54. Thorogood Boots
  55. TNB shoes
  56. Tony Lama Boots
  57. Vintage
  58. Vivanz
  59. Walk Over
  60. White’s Boots
  61. Wolverine Boots
  62. Woolrich (slippers)

On line only

  1. Abilene Boots
  2. A.F. Boots
  3. Aurora
  4. Belleville Boots
  5. Capps Boots
  6. CYDWOG Shoes
  7. Duluth Trading Co.
  8. Famolare
  9. Footskin Shoes & Boots
  10. Gypsy Soule
  11. Johansen Shoes (Capps)
  12. Karo
  13. Kiwi Sandals
  14. Klogs USA
  15. OG Industries
  16. Okabashi
  17. Palm Sandals
  18. Paul Bond Boots
  19. Quaddy Trail
  20. Rocky Boots
  21. Russell Moccasins
  22. Sage
  23. Soft Star Shoes
  24. SOM Footwear
  25. Tic Tac Toe
  26. Vivanz
  27. Wassakeag Moccasins
  28. West Coast Shoe Company
  29. Wilson Boots
  30. Yuketen Shoes

“You want to fall in love with a shoe, go ahead. A shoe can’t love you back, but, on the other hand, a shoe can’t hurt you too deeply either. And there are so many nice-looking shoes.” – Allen Sherman

17
Feb
12

Newslink: Orvis U.S. Patent Collection / Bringing Back US Made Clothing

Hands On | Orvis U.S. Patent Collection | A Continuous Lean.. Orvis has added USA made clothing to their stores since late fall, 2010. Orvis has added such companies as Taylor Supply, Grown and Sewn, Stronghold, Schott NYC, Filson, Temple Bags, Wolverine 1000 mile, Rising Sun, and Gitman, all US clothing manufacturers. Since that time, they have also added Fall River, Gokey shoes, Sandanona Boots, Danner boots, Canvas wagon and Churchill. Some of these will have their own labels, but some will be made under the Orvis name. I hope to see more of these products, when I visited the Santana Row store in San Jose, CA, in November, 2011,  I was disappointed in the relatively small number of U.S. made products. I hope that there will be a continued increase in these products, plus increased sales for Orvis.

Orvis has joined companies like Levi’s, L.L. Bean, Eddie Bauer, and Ralph Lauren that have brought “Made in the USA” clothing back to their stores.

06
Jan
12

Durability vs Fashion – Which one would you chose?

There has always been a dichotomy in regards to shoes. On the one side you have the practical, foot protecting and durable footwear for which it was traditionally designed for and, on the other side, you have the fashionable, bon vivant, and frivolous shoes that fill our numerous shopping centers and malls. It has been that way, for centuries, ever since shoes were transformed from simple leather foot coverings to became status symbols in the Royal European courts in the 1400’s,  with their pointed, curled up toes and added appendages. The same could be said of clothing as well.

Dress Before The Loss of Formality Era

Shoes have stayed that way – practical versus fashionable- up until the late 1960’s and early 1970’s in the United States, a period that I refer to as the Loss of Formality Era. Prior to this time, people had certain types of dress: 1) dressed up – good shoes, nice dress pants and oxford shirts or dresses for the ladies; 2) casual dress – hush puppy type shoes, fabric pants, buttoned shirt and dresses or nice blouse and fabric pants; and 3) work clothes – at that time, many people wore uniforms and work shoes, for hospitals it meant white hospital shoes, for construction, it meant steel toed construction boots, for farmers, it meant boots. Jeans were worn by farmers or when families were together in an informal setting – out of public view. Tennis shoes were only worn for physical education.

The shoes manufactured at that time were 90% American made. They were made for durability. They were made of fine leather, stitched together and/or nailed together on a wooden sole. They were expected to last for years. If they got scuffed, you polished them. If the laces frayed, you replaced the laces. If the stitching unraveled or the shoe started to come apart, you would take the shoe to a cobbler who could repair them.

There were fashionable shoes at that time as well. They were usually made in Italy or France. They also made of fine leather, fine stitched and could be repaired as well. But they were more delicate. They were not practical for environments full of rain or snow, unless you wore boots to work and changed into them once you were at work. They were designed to last for years, but only if great care was taken.

Dress After The Loss of Formality Era

With the cultural shift of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, clothing standards were relaxed and have continued to become more relaxed as time passes. Jeans, T-shirts and tennis shoes were not only okay for wear in public settings but, also, in schools. People find less and less reason to dress up, whether it is a concert, fine restaurant, church or a work setting. The loss of formality has changed our thinking about many things. Among them (non-clothing-wise), the things we have lost were: the respect of authority, the respect towards elders; the respect working one’s way up the ladder/seniority; traditional values regarding family; and loyalty towards anything. Clothing-wise, we no longer value the clothes that we wear. We abuse our clothes by constantly washing and drying them after briefly wearing them, since they are not made to last. Especially in today’s time, where 98% in slave labored produced. The clothes are made to fall apart, but who cares because they are so cheap. And you no longer have to iron these clothes because they have been impregnated with some possibly toxic chemical that makes them ‘permanent press’. Permanent Press used to be treated using Formaldehyde (a known carcinogen), but now, more often, the manufacturers use a derivative of Formaldehyde called Dimethylol dihroxyethylenurea, (DMDHEU), (unknown health effects). Clothes have become disposable which I suppose is the height of fashion. Get rid of all of “last season’s” clothes, so you can buy the newest “In” clothes. Fashion would like it if you wore a new wardrobe every time you went out. Fashion would like you to wear something only once, so you could buy something new more often. The clothing designers must change things every season, so that you will spend more money. The same thing applies to shoes. Shoes have become disposable. They are made with fabric, plastic and glue. If they do use leather it is so thin that it wouldn’t hold a stitch or a nail. There is no sense in taking these shoes to a cobbler. Now, there are three types of shoes: Durable, Fashionable and Disposable.

Fashion vs Durability

So, what is it going to be? Fashion or durability. It is your choice. Don’t let me influence your decision. But, as for me, I have chosen durability. I want durability in all that I wear, and it should be (sort of) in style. it doesn’t have to be direct from the model runways in Paris, but it can’t be a white collared, blue Oxford dress shirt either. As for men’s shoes, I have bought some very durable shoes and boots made by Wolverine, and made in the U.S.A. They are both from the 1000 mile collection. Another great American made shoe company is Allen Edmonds. Shoes made in Wisconsin since 1922. The are both fashionable and durable. They also make golf shoes. I purchased a pair of ‘1 up’ golf shoes in black. Allen Edmonds has hired an additional 120 employees since January, 2011, thanks to people supporting “Made in USA’. Another U.S. shoe company is Alden. I went to the Alden shoe store in San Francisco, CA last month. I was prepared to spend $300 on a pair of shoes,  however, that was not even enough. But, that wasn’t the disappointing thing. The selection wasn’t great for me personally. First, I don’t like slip on shoes, so that narrowed it down a bit. The one pair of shoes I did like, looked exactly like a pair of black Italian shoes I already have. So, maybe, sometime in the future, I may own some Aldens. At this time, if I can’t find American, I will buy Italian.

Taking Care of Clothes

In regards to clothing, American made clothing is very rarely Permanent Press, which means more care needs to be given. I have had to drastically alter the way I wear dress shirts. Now, I wear V neck T-shirts underneath the dress shirt. The reason for this, as in olden days, the T shirt protects the shirt for wear and tear and from underarm stains and smells. The reason for the V neck, is so you don’t see the tell tale T shirt collar underneath your dress shirt (for me growing up, exposed T shirt collars underneath your shirt meant Nerd).  I do not wash the shirt every time I wear it. But I do iron them after each wear. So, I have learned how to iron. I have had to take more clothes to the dry cleaners as well, especially dress pants usually after a couple of wears. If the accumulation of clothes that needs ironing is too much, I will take those to the dry cleaners just to be ironed. For jeans, I will wear them for months, unless very dirty before dry cleaning them (I have the original denim, no wash jeans, that still need breaking in.) What I have noticed with this change of practice away from washing and drying after each use is these clothes still look new, unlike the permanent press clothes that fade and gets pill balls and looks terrible after a couple of washings.

In conclusion, you may have to pay more initially for U.S. made clothes and you will have to take more care of your clothes, but they will look much better for a longer period of time. These clothes should last for years. For shopaholics, switching to buying American made clothes could cause extreme withdrawal, because you do not have to shop as often. So, beware. Happy shopping.

“Fashion is something barbarous, for it produces innovation without reason and imitation without benefit.” – George Santayana

12
Dec
11

Favorite U.S. Stores #5 – Levi’s in San Francisco

Mainpoint – Levi Strauss, legendary clothing maker is making clothing made in U.S.A. again, finding it is more difficult. You need to go to the Corporate store in San Francisco.

I can not think of anything more American than blue jeans, when it comes to clothing. And when you think of blue jeans, there is no bigger name than Levi Strauss. They had been the leading maker of jeans for over a century, and are based in San Francisco. But then a some years back, Levi’s like everybody else started making their jeans elsewhere. It was up until very recently, that I had given up completely on Levi’s as a maker of U.S. made jeans. But, on March 2011, Levi’s put out a news blurb that they were going to start making jeans again “Made in the U.S.A.” (in a limited quantity). So, I searched and searched to find them.  All the Levi’s outlets didn’t have them and most salespeople had never even heard about them. On one trip, I went to the Levi’s store in the Valley Fair Mall in San Jose, CA  and the manager said they had one pair that was returned to them, but they did not sell them in the store. But, then she gave me some wonderful information: the corporate store in San Francisco sells the American made jeans!

The Corporate Store

So, I went to the corporate store at 1155 Battery Street, in San Francisco. It is right off the Embarcadero (a famous street in S.F.) and only a half mile from Fisherman’s Wharf, a famous tourist attraction. But before I could go shopping, I had to go to Fisherman’s Wharf for lunch, because it was Dungeness Crab season, which had just started two weeks ago. Within Fisherman’s Wharf, there is a slew of good restaurants anxiously ready to serve you fresh Dungeness Crab. I enjoyed a great lunch and then made my way to the corporate headquarters. The corporate headquarters is part of Levi’s Plaza. The plaza (or park/plaza) is a couple of blocks consisting of large buildings connected by brick walkways and a small park (a downtown oasis) across the street (looking towards the ocean), and on the other side, one can see stairs traversing a very steep and impressive hill that leads to Coit Tower (a SF landmark and a name that the French people just love). The Levi building is an impressive looking building about seven stories high, constructed with brick and glass with aggressive newer architecture seen in the 1990’s. As I entered the building, there were streams of people going into this glass building and going up the elevators to their respective offices, it was only because they all had to go through a security checkpoint that I decided that this was not the way to the store. I asked at the receptionist desk where the store was and they pointed me to a large glass cubicle inside a larger glass cubicle. This was the store.

The corporate store is a much smaller store than most outlets. It can be very busy on the weekends and it is kind of slow during mid-week. As I walked in, I was met almost immediately by a salesperson who asked if he could help me. I said that I was looking for American clothes. And not only did he know what I was talking about, he was able to show me a couple of styles of American made jeans for men and for women. Surprisingly, Levi’s sells denim jackets, made in U.S.A. The salesperson, also, showed me belts made by Tanner. One further surprise was some Outdoor wear – a joint effort between Filson and Levi’s. Furthermore, they carried a couple of boots, American made by Al’s Attires (fairly pricey – about the price of Wolverine 1000 mile boots). Another bit of information I learned is ‘Dockers’ is owned by Levi’s. There were some Dockers in the store and almost all of the Dockers are imported, except for a limited edition of a special T-shirt – made in the U.S. The salespeople were excellent. They were professional, yet friendly and quite knowledgeable (more knowledgeable than myself, I didn’t even know that ‘knowledgeable’ had an ‘e’ before ‘able’, thanks spellczech).

Shopping Spree

I put a sizable dent in my credit on this trip to Levi’s. The final tally: my wife found a two pair of jeans; I bought a pair of  “505” jeans, classic, straight leg jeans, I passed on the skinny jeans: and I purchased a denim jacket. I had not owned a denim jacket since high school in the late 1970’s, it seems like almost everything comes back in style if you wait long enough. These American jeans are manufactured in the very traditional denim. There are stiff, never been washed or broken in. The salesperson’s advice to break them in: wear the jeans for 6 months before washing them. When you wash them,  cold water, inside out, and hang them to dry, or dry clean them. The full retail price of the made in USA 505 jeans is $178, which is about $20 more than their good imported Levi’s jeans. However, on this day, there were giving $25 off any purchase over $150. So, I felt better, because it was a sale.

The Future of Levi’s

I asked about the success of the U.S. made Levi’s and the salesperson said that the items have been flying off the shelves. Noting their success, Levi’s has plans of making even more U.S. made products for 2012. That does seem to be the new trend, retro type clothing made in America, made by famous makers such as Levi’s, Ralph Lauren and Eddie Bauer.

“I have often said that I wish I had invented blue jeans: the most spectacular, the most practical, the most relaxed and non chalant. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity – all I hope for in my clothes.” – Yves Saint Laurent




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