Seven Decades of Women’s Style with Pendleton

A Seven Decade Celebration

We celebrated seventy years of classic Pendleton style for women on September 9, 2019 at our downtown Portland store. A fantastic time was had by all.

Interior of Pendleton store with row of mannequins wearing vintage Pendleton women's clothing

This Fall’s women’s line has a capsule of archive-inspired pieces, so we brought out the original garments and some other favorites to show how good design is timeless–and a lot of fun.

People were transfixed by the details.

customer in Pendleton store reading placard describing pendleton vintage clothing

customer in Pendleton store wearing white gloves as she inspects the hem of a Pendleton vintage skirt

Special Treats

The catering was excellent! We want to thank Delilah’s Catering for getting into the spirit of the party and helping us design a menu that reflected the best of decades past. We also hope guests enjoyed the special cocktail developed just for us–“The 49’er”, of course!

refreshments at party in Pendleton store: deviled eggs, petit fours, fruit skewers, paper plates, serving tongs

vintage pendleton ad of woman on bicycle placard with hole in face area where customers can put their own faces

We were delighted to see people wearing vintage Pendleton pieces and caught photos of a few, including this beautiful reversible skirt in tartan red and cream.

woman in red Pendleton skirt studies vintage pendleton clothing at pendleton store party, including 2009 Opening Ceremony coat

Lindy Dancers Cut Loose

This plaid wool western shirt on one of the Lindy Society Dancers is a classic. And we think the navy plaid skirt is Pendleton, too!

Linday Hop dancers dancing on sidewalk in front of pendleton store, one woman, two men

The Portland Lindy Society dancers set the tone of the evening. Their swing music put everyone in the mood to celebrate.

Lindy Hop dancers on sidewalk in front of Pendleton store, dancing, one woman, one man

crowd of people inside Pendleton store at party

customers studying Pendleton vintage clothing at pendleton store

Food, gifts, dancers, cocktails and music. What more could you ask for? Thank you to everyone who joined in the fun and made this a success.

Here’s to seventy more!

round seal that marks celebration of pendleton womenswear's 70th anniversay, includes "celebrating pendleton womenswear 70 years of style - 1949 - 2019

It’s a Pendleton party! Come Join us this Friday, 9/6/19!

Seven Decades

Fall 2019 marks seven decades of style from Pendleton. And we are having a party!

The event details are here: Seven Decades of Style party

You can also register at Eventbrite: Pendleton party, Seven Decades of Style

08_2019_PAW_70th_Anniversary_V3.inddWe can’t wait to share the archive inspirations for this year – vintage clothes are encouraged, so put on your ’49er, bring a friend and have a blast.

 

See you there!

70 Years of Pendleton Womenswear – WOVEN magazine

cover of Pendleton magazine with actress Anita page in a Pendleton blanket coat circa 1930

We are celebrating seven decades of Pendleton Womenswear with a spectacular issue of WOVEN. Follow along the timeline of style and history, from from poodle skirts to power suits. You’ll love this look back at the styles, ads, and happenings of the day from 1949 through 2019. You’ll also get a sneak peak at the special collection for this fall, with garments drawn from our archives, like this coat on the back cover.

woman wearing hat and wool blanket coat by Pendleton

Read it online here: WOVEN – 70 years of Women’s Fashion

 

Happy Mother’s Day from Pendleton Woolen Mills

A mother wearing a Pendleton scarf and hat, with her 2 year old daughter in a sun dappled orchard

Cassy Berry – @cassyberryphoto

To All the Mothers

To brand new mothers who are finding their way, and mothers who have this motherhood thing all figured out-

A mother and her baby son seated on a Pendletn Camp blanket, on a wooden dock by a still lake.

Cassey Lennon – @eyeamsun

To mothers-to-be, and mothers remembered-

A mother and her young toddler daughter sit on a Pendleton Weavers Series blanket , on dry grass near a red rock hill.

@merzydotes and @cosmic.american

For all your days and nights of work, worry, joy and laughter; we say thank-you, and we wish you the best.

Happy Mother’s Day.

 Pendleton gifts for Mother’s Day

April Showers and Pendleton Rainwear

A woman wearing a Pendleton rain slicker walks her dog in a mossy, ferny forest.

Pacific Northwest Rainy Days

The Pacific Northwest is famous for rainy spring weather, and this year is no exception. But a little moisture (or a lot) doesn’t stop us from getting out and about—which calls for rainwear!

A woman wearing a Pendleton rain slicker walks two Husky dogs in a mossy, ferny forest.

Women’s Rainwear

Pendleton’s signature rainwear is engineered to keep you comfortable, with fabrics that join the water-resistance of polyurethane with the breathability of cotton, and seam-seal technology. From the hood to the snaps, our coats are designed to stay dry.

A woman in jeans and red Pendleton rain boots steps over some wet, mossy bracken, with her red dog.

Pendleton Rain Boots

When it’s time to hit the trail, slip on some Pendleton rain boots! Padded for comfort and support, dry for any weather.

Kristen_Frasca_PendletonBoot_10_2017_F17-(21)

We have plaids, jacquard-inspired tonal patterns, and National Park boots in three heights. With the right Pendleton rain jacket and a pair of Pendleton rain boots, you’re ready to take on the wettest spring.

A woman stands on a grassy point, looking out over a bay. She is wearing a Pendleton rain slicker.

Check out more jacket styles here:   Pendleton Outerwear

Three women pose in the studio, wearing Pendleton rain slickers.

And see all the boot styles here: Pendleton Rain Boots

 

Photo credits:

Shots 1, 2, 5: Danielle Visco for Zoom Zoom Creative

Shots 3, 4: Kristen Frasca, @kristenfrasca 

Willow Inspiration – soft, flexible, and surprisingly sturdy

Four Pendleton cotton bed blankets hang on hooks against a white wall.

It’s been a long, late winter, and we are ready for Spring with cotton, silk, and patterns that remind us of growth and harmony.

Willow Inspiration

Weaving baskets from willow has long been associated with tribes of the American Southwest. Basketry among Native American’s varies by region because of the materials available. In the Northeast, weavers work with sweet grass or ash splints. In the Southeast, baskets are made with bundled pine needles or rivercane. Northwestern tribes use the abundant cedar bark, spruce roots, and grasses of the region. Tribes of the Southwest use sumac or willow wood.

This is a living art form, very much in practice. This video portrays a contemporary basket maker, Margaret Acosta. In the museum shots, watch for a vintage Pendleton blanket on the wall!

 

Willow Basket Blankets

Our Willow Basket cotton blankets, inspired by the intricate beauty of handcrafted baskets, are woven  for us in Germany from 100% certified organic cotton. Why Germany? Well, we are masters weavers of wool. For cotton blankets, we turned to the experts in Germany to find the quality we wanted.

Ultrasoft, lightweight and woven of the finest yarns, our cotton blankets are made with the same quality and care as our world-class wool. This exclusive pattern is woven in soft hues to match any room. Machine-washable organic cotton is certified socially and environmentally responsible by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). See them here: Willow Basket Blanket

Pendleton cotton bed blanket

If you love the Willow Basket pattern, you can also check out Mojave Twill and Yuma Star, two more beautiful organic cotton blanket patterns.

Silk gets Willowy

The lacy woven patterns of willow baskets also inspired a silk fabric for our Women’s line this spring – Willow Creek.

 

WW_WC_Silk_Dress

 

 

Magic Wash Merino is magical.

A brunette woman sits crosslegged on the ground. She is wearing a dark red sweater, jeans, and black boots.

By the end of January, we’re all looking forward to warmer days. What do you wear when you’re tired of winter clothes, ready to transition into Spring, but still need warmth?

Magic Wash Merino

Magic Wash Merino knits feature the luxe, silky hand of knitted merino, in a range of colors that look to the season ahead. The crewneck (above) features some very cool neck detailing, ribbed trim, and raglan sleeves. See all the colors here: Magic Wash Merino Crew

What is the Magic?

It’s a special treatment that makes each garment unique. These sweaters are hand-dyed for unique variations in color, transforming each piece into a one-of-a-kind find, with unique shading along necklines, seams and hems.

A woman with bountiful brunette curls stands with hands hooked in the back of her jeans pockets. She is wearing a brighter red sweater with short sleeves.

Look closely at this pullover–it has the cutest (faux) pocket ever, and a relaxed hem to keep it easy to wear. Our design team thought a lot about the sleeve length to get it just right. See all the colors here: Magic Wash Merino Pullover

Why Merino?

Merino is one of our favorite luxury yarns, thanks to its sheen, airy lightness, and comfort. That’s right – you can layer for warmth and/or fashion, but this wool feels wonderful next to your skin. So slip on the V-Neck, and enjoy the silky, thermo-regulating comfort of pure merino wool. See all the colors here: Magic Wash Merino V-neck

A woman with long brown hair and blue eyes stands before a white background, her hands held in front of her stomach. She is wearing a plum colored sweater and jeans.

Merino Sheep

If you’d like to learn more about Merino sheep and what makes their wool so special, we suggest this page: Merino Sheep Info.  They are a special breed, carefully husbanded over centuries to create this outstanding wool. Plus, they’re handsome, and they know it.

A very wooly merino sheep with curling horns and a very overgrown coat makes eye contact with the camera.

And speaking of handsome, we have men’s pieces too: Men’s Magic Wash Merino

The Pendleton ’49er for Fall 2018

Quality Never Goes Out of Style

The Pendleton 49’er is a perfect illustration of the adage that quality never goes out of style.

A young woman sits on some wooden steps, wearing a Pendleton 49'er wool shirt jacket.

This American classic is still going strong after more than sixty years. But where did it come from?

A vintage Pendleton ad that shows a variety of Pendleton wool plaid pieces, including the Pendleton 49'er jacket.

49’er History

The answer starts with the changes for women in World War II, when American women proclaimed, “We can do it.” This iconic WWII image was used in countless posters and bond drives during WWII. A serious woman dressed for hard work with her hair in a kerchief, the image still fixes us today, gazing out at onlookers over a flexed bicep.

The Rosie the Riveter poster from WWII, with the caption "We Can Do It!" A woman on the assembly line flexes her arm to show her strength.

She was a symbol of women stepping up to fill the need for factory workers during wartime, but she was also part of the emergence of one of Pendleton’s most enduring items of womenswear: the 49’er jacket.

Pendleton’s success with men’s shirts had happened twenty years earlier, but during WWII, men were not the only people enjoying distinctive plaids and ombres in pure virgin wool. Women began to borrow men’s work shirts for both work and warmth. It’s possible that by wearing their husband’s shirts, women kept the memories of their husbands, fiancés and brothers close, though many undoubtedly needed some serious work wear that was simply not available for women at the time. Whatever the reason, women loved Pendleton shirts.

In 1949, when market research identified an opportunity for sportswear for women, Pendleton entered the market with their first women’s line. This was a test offering of classic skirts, jackets and shirt, to test exactly how the American woman would react to a branded line of virgin wool sportswear. The positive response was resounding, but no one could have predicted the enormous success of a single garment introduced that year.

Says Linda Parker, head of Pendleton Communications, “The first women’s line in 1949 was composed of five items.  It is amazing to me that out of such a limited initial offering that the ’49er would develop such an immediate following and reputation.”  The jacket referred to both the year of its introduction, and the California Gold Rush, in a nod to Pendleton’s Western roots.

The designer was Berte Wiechmann, a young woman who came to Pendleton from Jantzen,  another iconic Portland apparel company. Miss Wiechmann sewed the original samples herself, taking styling particulars from the Pendleton men’s shirt. The ’49er jacket featured discreet tucking at the yoke, and two bias-cut patch pockets near the hem. The boxy cut showcased Pendleton’s famous plaids, and larger iridescent shell buttons softened the look.

Miss Weichmann was very particular about these buttons. She insisted on a special black shell from Australia and Tahiti, supplied by J. Carnucci & Sons, NJ.

In 1956 alone, Pendleton would use $150,000.00 worth of these buttons.

Yes. You read that correctly. One hundred and fifty thousand dollars worth of buttons alone, in 1956.

The desirability of the ’49er was immediate, despite the introductory retail price range of $14.95 to $17.95. Says Parker, “We have many testimonials of how young women saved their babysitting and strawberry-picking money in order to buy a ’49er.  Women everywhere had it on their wish list of gifts.” The first consumer was the collegiate girl, who were in the grips of a menswear inspired trend. The ’49er was perfect over a white cotton dress shirt over “trews,” narrow wool pants.

The first print ad for the ’49er ad was done by Fred Love in 1950. A college girl in a MacLamond tartan ’49er pretends to ignore the cartoonish interest of the college boy behind her, snug and stylish in her ’49er. Love continued to illustrate the ads through 1951, when famed illustrator Ted Rand took over the job of communicating the Pendleton ’49er with ads that are still iconically beautiful. He changed the focus from the teenager to the woman, and incorporated elements of the Western landscape when he could.

The first Pendleton ad for Womenswear featured a drawing of a "college coed" in her Pendleton plaid pieces, with the caption, "Stunning News - Pendleton Add-a-piece Casuals."

The ’49er’s simple, casual styling continued to be a perfect fit for the emerging suburban lifestyle of post-war America. During the post-war years, it served as one of the easiest solutions for outerwear over all the Baby Boom baby bumps. Parker explains, “I personally think that Ted Rand shares some of the kudos for making the ’49er a household name with his inspired illustrations.”

An Artistic Genius

A classic vintage ad for Pendleton sportswear from 1952, featuring a Pendleton 49'er jacket, art by Ted Rand.

Another classic vintage ad for Pendleton sportswear from 1957, featuring a Pendleton 49'er jacket, art by Ted Rand.

Ted Rand began illustrating Pendleton ads in 1953. His elegant women and echoes of the Western landscape moved the jacket from the campus to the suburbs, where it became the staple of a woman’s wardrobe. The popularity soared and knock-offs abounded, to the point where the company had to seek legal protection of the design. Yes, the ’49er is a patented jacket!

From the Archives

The earliest ’49er in the Pendleton archives is a red, yellow and chartreuse version owned by Mrs. Sarah Brourink, who sent it to our archives in the year 2000 after wearing it for 51 years. Here is a vintage example in the exact plaid.

The original Pendleto 49'er jacket in a bright block plaid.

In the years of its prime (1949-1961), over a million Pendleton ’49ers were sold to American women. And it continues to sell well now, after re-introduction in the early 2000s. Collectors still chase after the originals, and beautiful examples can be seen on elated bloggers. Our re-issues do extremely well whenever they are included in a Fall or Holiday line.  Whether in the arresting brights of a bold Buchanan tartan, or the shaded colors of a subtle ombre plaid, the silhouette is still unmistakable. Still made of 100% virgin wool woven in our USA mills, the ’49er works dressed up with a skirt and a belt, or dressed down with jeans. Like a good wool men’s shirt, it serves as a go-to second layer for the backyard or the office.

Fashion is fleeting, but style endures.

The Pendleton 49’er is a perfect illustration of that.

A young model wears heans and a Pendleton 49'er jacket.

Check out the 49’er here: Pendleton 49’er jacket