von lengerke & antoine


Abercrombie Adventures: Von Lengerke & Antoine, Winter 1954

We continue our Abercrombie Adventures series with something from Von Lengerke & Antoine, which was the Chicago outpost of Abercrombie & Fitch, acquired by the latter brand in the late ‘30s. These color pages are from a store catalog from the winter of 1954.

A few notable items:

  • The Pendleton “Topster,” a sort of shirt-jacket in classic Pendleton woolen patterns. These were manufactured for decades and decades, and you spot them at thrift stores from time to time. The price ($17.50) is the equivalent of about $150 in today’s dollars.
  • The Macintosh Reversible Knockabout Jacket is pitched as having been made “by one of the oldest and finest English manufacturers of rainwear.” That’s of course still the case with Macintosh, though you’re likely to find fewer reversible clothes on today’s racks. The price of $28.50 is just short of $250 in today’s dollars.
  • The Men’s Mount Everest Sweater is billed as having been “developed by Braemar of Scotland especially for the British Expedition that conquered Mt. Everest.” I love that everything in the A&F and VL&A catalogs are sourced from great manufacturers like Braemar. No corners cut here! About $150 in today’s money.
  • The English Folding Dog Beds are so f'ing cute that I want to eat them. Pretty pricey, though, at $285 in today’s money for mattress and bed.

Abercrombie Adventures: Christmas, 1959

I recently obtained a stash of Abercrombie & Fitch store catalogs from the 1950s. If you don’t know, A&F wasn’t always a teenybopper retailer famous for hating ugly people. It used to be a high-end sporting goods shop, with outlets in the major cities of the U.S.  I recently obtained some store catalogs from A&F and its Chicago sister store Von Lengerke & Antoine, and I thought I’d share some of the menswear therein.

This week’s catalog is from Christmas of 1959. As you can see, Viyella was a big product for A&F. Viyella was one of the first proprietary “tech” fabrics, a cotton-wool blend created in the 1890s. It’s soft enough to wear against your skin, but nonetheless warm and comfortable in cool weather. The shirts here aren’t cheap - $18.95 is the equivalent of about $150 today.

The more things change, the more they stay the same - one of the featured items is the Shetland sweater, which runs about $125 in today’s dollars. The one pictured above is almost identical to one my wife got me Christmas this year.

The only-in-1959 award could go to the ski mask or tasseled winter cap, both of which are pretty amazing, but I’m going to give it to the “Swiss Alpine,” a sort of combination sportshirt and sweater with “a suede finish.” Just like in the Alps. I guess.

One practical take-home from the photos: the near-universal suitability of a pair of gray flannel trousers. They go with every top, even the strange one, and look sharp in so doing. Still perfect for any man’s wardrobe.