Abercrombie & Fitch, Von Lengerke & Antoine, 1930s – 1950s

I recently acquired some Christmas catalogs from Von Lengerke & Antoine, the Chicago branch of Abercrombie and Fitch.  I already had some summer catalogs from the store, but these are full of gifts and woolens.  The covers are really nice, with winter scenes that spread across both sides.

The catalogs range from 1939 to 1954.   Because Abercrombie & Fitch was a sporting goods store, the clothing styles change very slowly, with many items being offered for up to five years before being updated.  This is especially true during the war years.

Click to enlarge

The offerings during WWII were geared more toward the servicemen and less toward the sportsman.   There were gifts for members of every branch of the service.

Abercrombie & Fitch not only had goods manufactured with their own label, they also sold other quality products.  This men’s Pendleton shirt is from the 1947 catalog, and cost $10.75.  That is about $110 in today’s dollar.  A new Pendleton wool shirt costs $115, so pretty much the same price.

The catalog offered carriage boots all through the war years.  Carriage boots actually date back to the days before the automobile, but this practical winter boot remained a favorite for many years.

Today red plaid thermos kits are quite easily found, but ones of this quality are rare.  Cocktails, coffee and sandwiches:  the necessities of vagabonds.

Scotch coolers are also common, but they are rarely in great condition.  People used them.  That is a bar case for someone with friends.

Sweaters were a big item in the catalogs, with many being made of cashmere in Scotland.  Note the “false eyelashes” on the Flirt.  Today if an item in a catalog is labeled “imported,” you can pretty much assume that means China.  There is no indication where the imported ski jacket and cap originate, but you can be sure that it was not China!

I love the Bottomless Bag.  It does not indicate the size, but if it weighs five pounds it must be pretty large.  I’ll take the tartan plaid.

A winter classic, it is hard to beat the sharpness of a Hudson’s Bay blanket jacket.  The $55 price tag translated to $465 in today’s dollar.  You can buy a new, very similar coat from the Hudson’s Bay Company for $695 Canadian, or $635 US.  Interestingly, their fabric is now made by Pendleton.


Filed under Proper Clothing

13 responses to “Abercrombie & Fitch, Von Lengerke & Antoine, 1930s – 1950s

  1. It’s always a joke to me when I read “imported” like it’s a big draw for an item. Imported never means what it use to, does it? But I dislike that they think, we, the consumer is stupid. Almost everyone knows imported means China or Malaysia etc. My grandparents use to have a Scotch cooler and it rested in between picnics on the floor between the kitchen and pantry and was often used as a little sitting spot for children with big ears! Loved your post!


  2. cp

    I own several of those plaid thermos kits, though none from Abercrombie & Fitch. Mine vary in size and color (one thermos or two, red plaid or blue plaid) and I love them all. They are really very practical and mine get used regularly.

    I really like that ‘Bottomless Bag’ and will be on the lookout now!

    Fun post!


  3. What a great shape to that bottomless bag. Looks so serviceable.


  4. I know we had one of those “scotch coolers” around the house in the 60s. I love that plaid pullover parka! I’ll need to put that in my “apres-ski” sewing bucket list. There are a number of things in that catalog that I would be buying online right now.


  5. Well, I want the utility jacket. Too bad it doesn’t come in orange.


  6. So fabulous! I love the bottomless bag, too (in plaid!). And the plaid ski jacket, though I don’t think I could get away with just cotton around here. (I’m also loving that naughty raccoon on the cover.) Um, and I’ll need one of the porta-bars, too.


  7. I’ll take the ski outfit and the Hudson Bay coat! xxx


  8. Such dreamy winter images and such dreamy winter wardrobe items! I had actually not heard of the term “carriage boots” before! I just called them overshoes…


  9. Love it! How fabulous is the portable bar case and I love the little short sleeve sweater.


  10. Ruth Beaty

    Any chance you can post bigger pictures of the page that has toilet kit? I’d really like to see it better!


  11. Layne

    I recently bought a vl&a point blanket coat from a consignment store, and I’m trying to figure out how old it is. Could you let me know which catalogue the photo you posted came from? Thank you 🙂


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