Mar 06, 2013

Preppies, Hippies, and Bikers

Turns out, there was a store on old Route 1...

Turns out, there was a store on old Route 1 in Massachusetts that managed to successfully cater to all three seemingly divergent groups. This tartan blazer, found recently at a thrift shop for $5.99, led me down a path to find this out:


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 A real knockout, though I should probably wait until next holiday season to wear it. Nicely woven wool in very vibrant colors with brass buttons. I've become pretty good by now at dating old clothes, but this one is tough. My inclination is to sat 1960s, but the two button darted front makes me think its later than that. No matter, it's a great jacket whenever it may have been made.

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Ah! Austin Hill. That's quaint. Internet homework turned up nothing on this brand, but it was made in USA, another indicator of it's likely age, sadly.

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Here's the funny part. The Deerskin Trading Post no longer exists. I think it closed some time in the 90s. My wife and I both have memories of it being the sort of place that sold biker fashions. This sort of thing was quite popular in Eastern Massachusetts back in the 80s and 90s, especially North of Boston, where this place was. Think leather vests and engineer boots for men, and really awful high waisted, acid wash jeans for women. Certainly not things like a tartan blazer.

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When I asked my parents about it, they had a memory more of a place that sold native American stuff to hippies back in the late 60s and early 70s, things like popover shirts with rawhide lacing at the neck, knee high moccasin boots, and lots of fringe, turquoise and silver. Certainly not tartan blazers.

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Poking around a bit led me to find this old mail order catalog from the early 1960s, over at the Hagley digital archive. Careful when you click that link, it will consume half your day. Here we see a version of Deerskin Trading Post that reminds me a little more of old school L.L. Bean.

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This was a place that sold fine driving gloves for ladies,

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as well as some pretty current looking hand-sewn moccasins. Call this old school New England, I guess.

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Something for the kids...

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something for the house chef...

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and something to do with your sons Cub Scout troop when it's your turn to host.

Suddenly it doesn't seem so incongruous that this place once sold a tartan blazer for Dad. Nor does it seem so incongruous that it would evolve to appeal to hippies and later, bikers. Too bad they couldn't have stuck it out a little longer. They might have made a killing in the days of the combined preppy revival, rise of the urban lumberjack, and heritage Americana obsession, all of it in Massachusetts no less. Can't you just see this on A Continuous Lean? At the very least, it would probably have been a pretty cool place to shop.

p.s. new stuff in the Shop.

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tagged tartan, blazer, history