The Dude Cardigan Abides.

(Edited 11.10.14) For information on the 2014 Original Westerley re-issue, see this post or purchase here.

OriginalWesterley

There are plenty of Right Then, Right Now garments in Pendleton’s history, but by far, our most famous sweater was immortalized in the cult classic, “The Big Lebowski.”

This Coen brothers film was released to low to middling success in 1998, but quietly grew into a cult favorite. No one can quite pinpoint why. Was it Donny’s clueless questions?  The dream sequence scored by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition? (click here to see a young Kenny Rogers perform the song on a giant psychadelic bed, click here for a nice homage version with movie stills) Was it Walter’s chin-strap beard? Or perhaps the German nihilists?

Well, it was all of these, but most of all, we think it was The Sweater.

Jeff Bridges wore his own clothes for this role, and though there were several sweaters hand-knitted as back-ups, he preferred wearing his original Pendleton. As the Dude, he staggers in and out of trouble, wearing alternately sweats, shorts, pajama pants, a bathrobe, t-shirts and…

…his sweater.

The original Pendleton cardigan debuted in 1974 as the Westerley.

We took inspiration from the beautiful hand-knitted Cowichan sweaters of the Pacific Northwest tribes, but ours were machine-knitted by Winona Knitting Mills of Minnesota. Here’s a little U.S.A. manufacturing history for you…Winona Mills was a two-facility company, owned by the Woodworth family. They were one of the very few knitters in the US who could do a 2gg knit. A 2gg knit is basically outerwear. You could wear it in a monsoon, and you’d stay warm and cozy.

The vintage Westerley is a 3gg knit, and it is WARM. We offered the Westerley in the western, outdoor and casual lines over the years. If your tag has a white background, it was part of the Western line. The blue labels are in the outdoor and casual lines. While down in the archives researching, I counted at least eight colorations, but that was just when I stopped counting. There are probably more.

The colors went all over the place, but the zip front, ring pull and shawl color stayed the same.

We have a few versions of this sweater in our archives, but when Kyle Anderson contacted us to see if we wanted his, we were delighted to accept it. Here it is, not quite mint but then again, neither is the Dude’s.

According to Kyle, the original owner, it was worn once. It’s in beautiful shape, it’s a great coloration, and best of all, it’s an XL so it will actually fit our modern size-large forms. Eventually, we hope this garment this will go on permanent display, but until then we’ve put this sweater to work in photo shoots and fashion shows beacuse  2011 marks the year we released a tribute version of the cardigan.

We don’t call it the Westerly anymore. We call it the Dude.  This is a heavyweight sweater, designed to keep you warm no matter where you’re doing your Achieving. It’s available at our stores and our website. We didn’t exactly replicate the original.  We wanted to preserve the value of the vintage sweaters that sell on eBay to Achievers everywhere.

The phenomenon that is “The Big Lebowski” continues. There are books devoted to the lore of Lebowski. All over the country, Lebowskifests draw crowds of Achievers, troupes of dancing bowling pins, and character look-alikes. You can buy stuffed animals, action figures and, of course, sweaters new or sweaters old.

The Dude abides. And so does his sweater.

87 thoughts on “The Dude Cardigan Abides.

  1. Yes Please! This is my favorite movie. It was forever stamped into my head at age 17 that there are movies that most people just “don’t get”, when my girlfriend at the time wanted to walk out of the film due to her boredom watching it. This movie is not boring and is smart…like Pendleton. Smart clothes for smart people that abide, indeed.

  2. Will the sweater be making a comeback for the fall of 2012. Unfortunately this is the first I’m hearing of it and missed out. Would love to own one. Thanks Chris

  3. Is it true, the sweater is coming back in 2013? Same color and design, just like the Dudes? I was joyed when I found out the Dudes sweater was Pendleton. My family has been wearing Pendleton wool since the 70’s here in Portland Or. We love the stuff, having one of these sweaters will make me so happy! I just wish we could pre-order now. Thanks for bringing it back.

  4. Ah I’m so excited for a re-release! This is my boyfriend’s FAVORITE FAVORITE movie. I will have to keep an eye open for a pre-order date so I can snag one up for birthday or Christmas or something.

  5. Have the same problem , my husband will turn 40 this year and we’ve set out to get a real Dudde for e real dude…. Help need one delivered to the Netherlands…

  6. Pingback: Filmgarb.com | The Dude's Cardigan

  7. Pingback: The Westerley is back, Dude. | Pendleton Woolen Mills

  8. What kitting technique was used to create the color transitions & patterns in The Dude’s sweater? The patterns and comments I’ve found online all say fair isle was used, but based on looking at actual Pendleton sweaters I don’t believe it for a second. Any advice for a knitter?

  9. Pingback: The Dude Resides: The 11 Most Lebowski-Friendly Cities | Estately Blog

  10. Pingback: Portland: A Lebowski-friendly city | KOIN.com

  11. Good day to you,

    Would it be possible to ship overseas for a large order?

    Also, will the cardigan be available in navy again any time soon?

    I hope your day is treating you well!

  12. Well, I dig your style too, man. Got the whole cowboy thing goin’. But when are you going to replicate the Dude’s sweater, man. Like in the original Dude colors? With the original design pattern? That’s what the people and the Little Lebowski Urban Achievers want, man. Also, my rug was stolen.

  13. I just bought an original – exactly the same as the one shown above donated by Kyle – from an american vintage clothing store in Bristol, UK. They were selling it for £35 and clearly had no idea what they had on their hands!! He’s my favourite movie character of all time and I can t believe I just stumbled across it!!

  14. I’m so glad I found your blog. And, I am so excited because as a clothing designer working with old wool sweaters and “upcycling” them, I often stop in Thrift Stores to poke around and see what I can find. Well, on Monday, I was driving in the middle of nowhere, Utah and stopped at their local Thrift Store. I happened to this this vintage men’s cardigan on a rack, and though it wasn’t what I was looking for for my project, I luckily went back and picked it up. There was just something about it, (and it was a Pendleton) and looked so vintage that I new I needed to buy it.
    So, I spent a (I hope you are sitting down) a whopping $8.00 for it and brought it home. After researching online today, I realized what a score I have on my hands. It is in perfect condition and looks like it has never been worn. The only thing it is missing is the ring zipper pull……do you know if I could purchase just the zipper pull from Pendleton? Otherwise it is in mint condition. Score!

  15. Pingback: The Big Lebowski Costume Thread - Page 13

  16. Hey dudes, a few questions…Are you going to reissue the Dude tribute?
    As to the original Westerly in The Dude’s colours, I saw your answer re: not wanting to devalue the Feebay market, but, concerning the various knock-offs, are any of them licensed by Pendleton? Is a license required? I refer specifically to the one sold by 80’s Tees.com.

      • No problemo, my wooly compadre, I would most surely like a timely heads-up on that happenstance on the email web thingy here, on account of how you folks change your fashion more frequently than I change my underpants.

    • We don’t have a preorder thing going yet, but I’d like to invite you to sign up for our emails (www.pendleton-usa.com, go to the bottom of the home page). Though you will get many emails that don’t pertain to you (seasonless wool separates for the ladies, etc) before you leave the email list in dismay, we WILL be making a lot of noise about the cardigan in October and November, I believe. It’s the best way to know what’s happening.

    • The Dude cardigan was a 2011 homage sweater. We don’t usually release production figures unless we are talking about a special limited edition. If you’re talking about all the iterations of the Westerley cardigan, it’s been produced in many colors over many seasons (including 2012 and 2013) in much greater numbers than The Dude Cardigan was.

  17. I find it fascinating that this blog is filled with fans of the original color and print – all willing to BUY ONE if made available. What is Pendleton’s response to not making an item that there is a clear demand for?

      • Yay!! I just happened to find this post, and was disappointed that it is a few years old. I am so thrilled the cardigan will be available again soon! Is there an email list I can subscribe to to be notified when it’s available for pre-order? I would hate to miss it, it looks like they sold out quick last time. Thanks!

    • The best way to get information on the Original Westerley (Dude) is to sign up for our email list (www.pendleton-usa.com at the bottom of the home page). We will be talking about it later this fall. And you will be IN THE KNOW.

  18. Pingback: The Original Westerley: Dude, it’s finally back. | Pendleton Woolen Mills

  19. what is the sizing like on these cardigans? It appears that it is one of those ribbed-patterns that is prone to stretch a bit. Are these true to size or do they run big? Also what, if any, differences will be present in this next iteration of “dude/Westerly” cardigans compared to the last few ones (2012/13) I ask this because you mention “we have plans for an authentic re-issue soon”. Is this AUTHENTIC re-issue more like the original or is it the same as the last few re-issues.

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  21. Hi, I was the luckiest dude on Christmas day to receive a genuine Pendleton “dude” cardigan. It fits really well, can tell that it has been made with care but I have a question…. There is a small iridescent button on the inside of the collar when folded over. However, nevermind found the tiny loop on the other side of the collar. Great work guys!

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