Women’s casual wear look to Old West, classic work clothes

Los Angeles Times

If you walked the floor of the recent Magic and Project fashion industry trade shows, you probably noticed two major themes for fall 2011 casual wear: the Old West and a continuing interest in classic American work wear.

The worn-in, vintage look of work wear has been extremely popular for men for several seasons, especially with the revival and hipsterization of labels such as Pendleton and Woolrich. Now that look is marching into fall for women’s accessories, unisex knits and denim.

Bright prints à la Pendleton seem to be everywhere. L.A.-based bag designer Natsuko Hagiwara of the line Me & Arrow is doing a collection of bags and wallets made from new and vintage fabrics that evoke an old wool blanket sort of feel. Pendleton is also hot on the accessories trail with iPad covers in signature bright, blanket fabrics.

The Old West is coming across the strongest in outerwear. In addition to Pendleton’s wide range of jackets — a light-washed denim jacket with a patterned yoke from the men’s fall line received a strong response from buyers — junior and young contemporary lines such as the Orange County-based BB Dakota and Jack brands drew heavily from the Old West and Southwest prints for their fall coat selection.


An 80-year-old Canadian company, Granted, showed heavy, hand-knit wool jackets that incorporate Native American details such as images of dream catchers and eagles.

Another company, called the West Is Dead, is launching its menswear line for fall 2011 and has focused its entire brand on the American West and work wear. The creative directors find inspiration in vintage clothing and incorporate details from authentic industrial work wear into the jeans, barn jackets and cotton knit shirts. Even the brand’s cold-weather gloves are modeled after construction worker-style gloves.

Meanwhile, denim brands such as J Brand, 7 for All Mankind and G-Star Raw are tapping into an aviator-inspired look for their fall 2011 collections.

There were plenty of cargo pockets, cropped lengths, slouchy silhouettes and colors like olive, dusty dark purple, burgundy and khaki. Most denim companies are also incorporating plenty of non-denim fabrics such as twill and fleece into their fall collections — so get ready for a lot of twill cropped pants in an array of muted colors.


7 for All Mankind, for example, showed styles titled the “Flight Pant” and the “Amelia Pant,” both heavily influenced by the vintage aviator look. G-Star Raw exhibited plenty of slouchy flight-suit-style pants, executed with the company’s edgy aesthetic. And J Brand showed a skinny, twill pant with cargo-style pockets called the Earhart.

Come fall, get ready to channel your inner Amelia.