C&I Magazine’s Spring Fashion Issue

Spring is getting here, we hope, and Cowboys & Indians is making us look fantastic in their latest Spring Fashion Issue.

Denim

 

 Our women’s Denim Shirt with an adorable afghan skirt!

Shell

 

Our Mixed Media Shell makes a perfect first layer.

Frontier

 

Everyone loves our Frontier shirt.

Canyon

 

Our original High Grade Westernwear wool shirt, the Canyon.

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We always love to see what C&I does with Pendleton! Here’s one of our favorite shoots from a few years ago.

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Apr_Cowboys&Indians_MWShirt_Spread2So go get your Spring on! It’s about time, yes?

The Original Westerley: Dude, it’s finally back.

ColoradoManager&signYou may know it as The Dude’s cardigan or the Big Lebowski sweater, but we debuted the Westerley cardigan in 1974 as part of our High Grade Westernwear line.

Original History

The Westerley drew inspiration from beautiful Cowichan sweaters that are hand-knit by Pacific Northwest tribes. Our version was machine-knitted by Winona Knitting Mills of Minnesota, a two-facility company owned by the Woodworth family. Winona Mills was one of the very few USA knitting mills who offered a 2gg knit, a term meaning only two knit stitches per inch. A 2gg sweater is heavy enough to work as outerwear. As the long-time leader of our menswear division expressed it, “You could wear it in a monsoon, and you’d stay warm.”

The vintage Westerley was knit in 3gg, and it was almost as impressive as the 2gg for thickness and warmth. The Westerley was one cozy sweater. We offered it in the western, outdoor and casual lines for over ten years. Over its run of production, the zip front, ring zipper pull and shawl collar stayed the same, as did the Greek key-inspired pattern. Archival visits show that the Westerley’s color variations are surprisingly wide.

The sweater went out of production in the 1980s, but found the limelight in the early 2000s, thanks to an obscure movie that didn’t stay obscure.

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 pinpoint the exact reason why. Was it Donny’s clueless questions? Walter’s chin-strap beard? The German nihilists? The dream sequence scored by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition?

Well, it was probably a grand confluence of all of these important factors, plus the masterful turn taken by Jeff Bridges as The Dude. He staggers in and out of trouble, wearing alternately sweats, shorts, pajama pants, a bathrobe, a purple t-shirt and a battered Westerley cardigan.

Jeff Bridges wore his own clothes for this role, and though there were two sweaters hand-knitted as back-ups, he preferred wearing his personal Pendleton Westerley.

“The Big Lebowski” continues to grow as a cultural phenomenon. It’s not a movie anymore, it’s a lifestyle. Its fans, the Achievers, have conventions and their own documentary. And as the movie’s audience has grown, so has the demand for a re-creation of The Dude’s sweater.

The First Revivals

Pendleton’s first run at reproducing the “Big Lebowski sweater” came in the Fall of 2011. The Dude Cardigan was not an exact replica. It had the weight and coloration of the original Westerley, with a slightly different knit pattern and a leather zipper pull. This homage sweater generated an enormous amount of publicity, especially because the sweater worn by Jeff Bridges in the movie was going to auction that same year. The provenance of the auction sweater came into question and it was withdrawn from auction. Pendleton’s version sold out almost immediately.

New Dude

In Fall 2013, we brought back the sweater in the original 3gg knit under the Westerley name. We went to the archives, and settled on two versions: a cream with red and black pattern, and a desert brown version with navy and gold pattern.

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We offered the Westerley in another archival coloration in charcoal and blue early in the fall of 2014.  These were all great Westerleys. They were archivally accurate, beautifully made and selling well to fans of traditional menswear. We stand behind these Westerleys!

But this was not the sweater the Achievers wanted, and the Achievers would not be denied.

The Original Westerley

Well, it’s here. We have researched the archives and studied the movie to capture the coloration as best we can for our newest version, known as The Original Westerley.

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This is 100% lambswool in 3gg knit, and it’s ready to take you through your next monsoon, or maybe to your next Lebowskifest. We’ve even restored the ring zipper pull, to which we’ve attached a small bowling pin keychain. We think it really pulls the sweater together.

The Dude abides. And so does his sweater. Come see us in our stores (see Ben, the manager of our Colorado store, above), or order online before they’re gone.

 

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

ed. note: Happy Summer! This post originally ran a few years ago, but with the weather like it is, we hope you’ll enjoy it again today.

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.

Burnside Street/Burnside Shirt

At Pendleton, we have so much local lore to draw on when naming products. We all agreed that the Burnside was a perfect name for this Fall’s new cotton shirt! What else would we name it? It was a perfect name, the perfect name! But then it occurred to us that not every one lives in Portland. So here’s a little background.

Burnside Avenue runs from east to west in Portland, crossing the Willamette River with one of Portland’s original bridges. The best-known stretch on the west side of the river, where Burnside was originally known as “B Street,” is part of Northwest Portland’s Alphabet District. In the 1800s, before the bridge was built, this was a wild part of town. B Street was home to bars, card rooms, and other nefarious businesses that made it a less-than-respectable part of town. The street name was changed to Burnside after David W. Burnside, a Portland merchant, in the late 1860s, but it took more than a new moniker to alter the neighborhood. It took traffic.

Yes, traffic! The bridge, the streetcar and then the demands of the automobile turned Burnside into one of Portland’s more heavily traveled avenues. When the 205 freeway was cut through, Burnside even got some on-ramps (one block off Burnside). Burnside served as one of the boundaries of what Portlanders called “close-in Northwest,” an industrial area adjacent to the river.

image courtesy of vintageportland.wordpress.com

It was home to rail yards, breweries and warehouses. But by the late 1980s, the breweries had closed, and the rail yard had relocated its giant concrete turntable to SE Portland. Change was coming.

Today, Burnside bounds the Pearl District, a prosperous mixed-use neighborhood full of lofts, studios, galleries, restaurants and shopping. But Burnside’s gritty charms remain. You can see it in Powell’s, the City of Books housed in an amalgamation of warehouses joined together to make a square city block of books.  You can also see some original Burnside in Everyday Music, another vast emporium housed in converted industrial spaces. And you can see it in the work of the McMenamin brothers, Portland entrepreneurs who restored an ancient dance hall with a famous floating wooden dance floor and opened the Crystal Ballroom with Ringler’s Pub underneath.

Pendleton’s HQ sits where the Pearl District meets Portland’s Old Town, on NW Broadway, just east of the North Park Blocks. Burnside Avenue is only two blocks away. It continues to carry foot, bus, car and bike traffic through a part of Portland where the newness of the Pearl District rubs shoulders with history, and it carries it all comfortably. What better name could we find for a 100% cotton flannel shirt, peached on both sides of the fabric for softness, bar tacked for strength, and made in the kinds of plaids that say Pendleton?

That’s right. We called it the Burnside shirt, and we hope you like it.

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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.

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