Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Pendleton 49er Jackets

One of my favourite things about running Minimum Mouse is that we're always learning. You never know what you might find when buying vintage clothing, and whenever we have something in stock that is a little interesting and unusual I try to do a quick bit of research to find out more. We both have history degrees, so we've always been drawn to the story behind the clothes. So when this cute little jacket arrived in a box with some checked shirts that we had purchased from a wholesaler, I was quite excited. Pendleton is a popular brand anyway, but this jacket was interesting to me because of its unusual design. The fabric is pretty much just like a shirt, but the style is definitely a jacket, and I couldn't decide at all when it dates from. The label and buttons looked pretty old but the style didn't strike me as particularly old, being loose cut and with wide lapels. It was time to investigate further!

After a bit of looking on Ebay and Etsy, I discovered it was a 49er jacket, and was possibly from the 1950's. A bit of Googling took me to Jo Waterhouse's great vintage blog, Objects of my Affection. She has written a very detailed account of the history of these jackets and the little details to look for, and it would appear that this one is most likely a 1950's one, with the classic large pearly buttons, two front pockets, padded shoulders and small pleats running parallel to the shoulder seams. She also linked to the Vintage Fashion Guild's label resource for Pendleton, which was also very helpful.

So, it just goes to show, that while it is always a bit of fun solving the mystery of pieces like this, it really helps that there are so many vintage enthusiasts and experts online who are ready to share their knowledge. It certainly makes our job a whole lot easier and much more enjoyable!

Our Pendleton 49er jacket is now available to buy in our Ebay shop.

The pretty pearlised buttons, added by Pendleton to make the jackets look softer and more feminine.

The label of our jacket, from the 1960's onwards they contained the wool symbol, so ours is an early one.
According to the Pendleton blog, the 49er jacket came about because women during wartime had found themselves borrowing men's work shirts for their new, demanding wartime jobs, Pendleton recognised an opportunity to create a line of sportswear for women. The first collection, launched in 1949, consisted of 5 items, and the 49er jacket was an immediate hit, with stories of girls saving up their babysitting money to buy one. The jacket was designed by Berte Weichmann, and she used the classic Pendleton men's shirt as a base, giving the jacket a boxy cut which looked superb in Pendleton's classic plaids, and added the large iridescent shell buttons to soften the look.

I think they have a really timeless look, they're very versatile and look great in that classic 1940's casual style with trousers, or belted with a pencil skirt as shown in some Pendleton advertising below. But really they make a great casual light jacket whatever style or era you favour.

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