Before they were the Beach Boys, they were the Pendletones.

In the early 1960s, a group called The Pendletones adopted their name in honor of the surf uniform of the day: Pendleton shirts worn over tee shirts with khakis. The original lineup included brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine.

 The Pendletones soon changed their name to the Beach Boys . Even though only one member of the group had ever been on a surfboard, they sang about the California surfing scene; waves, sunshine, cars and girls. This might have been simple subject matter, but layered instrumentation and soaring harmonies made these songs anything but simple. Under the unique artistic leadership of Brian Wilson, the Beach Boys defined surf music. And though their name changed, their uniform didn’t. The band wore this blue and charcoal plaid shirt on the covers of 45s and LPs throughout the early 1960s.

The Beach Boys’ Pendleton shirts were part an existing trend. When surfing came to California in the late 1950s, surfers devised performance wear: swim trunks and plaid Pendleton shirts over a layer of Vaseline. Surfers wore the same shirts over light pants on the shore, and a fashion trend was born.

This look hit the radio airwaves courtesy of the Majorettes, whose song, “White Levis” became a number one hit in 1963. As the lyrics said, “My boyfriend’s always wearin’ white Levi’s…and his tennis shoes and his surfin’ hat and a big plaid Pendleton shirt.”  

That’s a Pendleton shirt  cover of that 45, even though they named the song after the pants. You can give it a listen here, and don’t be surprised if you start singing along.  But let’s get back to the shirt made so popular by the Beach Boys. 

In 2002, Pendleton celebrated eight decades of Pendleton shirts by bringing back iconic shirts from each decade. To celebrate the 1960s, we brought back the Board Shirt in the same plaid seen on all those record covers. We officially named it the Blue Beach Boys Plaid.

The shirt has stayed in the line ever since. We’ve used it in caps, hats, bags and jackets. It’s still made in the original 100% virgin Umatilla wool as it was back then, but we’ve interpreted it in rayon for campshirts and cotton for sleepwear.

We have done a few colorations of the plaid. Whether it’s in blue, coral,  rust or olive,  the pattern is easily recognizable.

Because of its strong ties to surfing history and culture, this pattern was used in key collaborations with Hurley and VANS in the late 2000s.

There is a discussion now and then in Pendleton’s Menswear division about which is our most enduring men’s item of all time. Some say it’s the Topster, the shirt jacket that defined collegiate wear in the 1950s and 60s. Some say it’s the Westerley cardigan worn by the Dude in “The Big Lebowski.” Others claim the honor for the Beach Boys Board Shirt.

This shirt is almost as beloved as the band that made it famous! It’s one of our top-sellers each year, regularly chosen by winners of the wool shirt giveaways we have on our Menswear Facebook page, and still worn by surfers, boarders, musicians, sons and fathers. The shirt is still going strong, and so are the Beach Boys. The band is currently out on tour, and they still love Pendleton.

20 thoughts on “Before they were the Beach Boys, they were the Pendletones.

  1. Pingback: ビーチボーイズとペンドルトン | Longhorn Imports

  2. Pingback: Pendleton Mill Tour, Projects & Dinners With Family | RV There Yet?

  3. Pingback: Love and Mercy – it’s a wrap! | Pendleton Woolen Mills

  4. Pingback: A Boy and His Plaid

  5. Pingback: ROXY x Pendleton. We <3 This. | Pendleton Woolen Mills

    • I think Al, a friend of Brian’s who played folk music was loosely associated with the Pendletones until he decided to go to dental school.

    • Finally someone else corrected this David Marks I believe is a cousin who lived across the street David’s father did not approve of him hanging out with the cousins ( I could be wrong about him being a cousin but from what I heard years ago he is a cousin), I believe it was said that the father thought they were to rowdy, David wrote a book and sent it to me autographed. Actually, all us surfer girls thought, David and Dennis were the cutest.

    • Nope. Al was the original. David replaced him when Al went to dental school. When Brian started skipping shows Al was brought back, and for a short time Al and David were both in the band. Then David started mouthing off and got kicked out by Murry Wilson, father of Brian, Dennis & Carl, and their original manager.

  6. Funny how everyone believes that Al Jardine is mysteriously in all those early Beach Boys pictures. In the meantime that baby face kid with the the Wilson family’s neighbor from across the street.blond comb over never gets mention. Oh, that must be David Marks,

    • Funny how everyone believes that Al Jardine is mysteriously in all those early Beach Boys pictures. In the meantime that baby face kid with the blond comb over never gets mentioned Oh, that must be David Marks, the Wilson family’s neighbor from across the street.

  7. Pingback: A Boy and His Plaid | thememoryforever

  8. Pingback: 10 Good Reasons to Wear Vintage Clothing – Comma Vintage: Blog

  9. Pingback: Why I’m obsessed with Pendleton blankets. - Abbi Williams

Leave a Reply to LK Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s