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.
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.