I found a stack of old Detroit teen magazines from the 1950s not that long ago and was blown away by the prices in the fashion section: $49 Mackinaw coats and $19 chambray shirts and $47 leather boots. It occurred to me that despite inflation, sixty years ago parents paid the same thing for kids' clothes that today's parents pay for that garbage they sell at Old Navy. Then it occurred to me that not only were those clothes made by American workers, but they were also made to last, both in quality and style. The clothes at H&M and Old Navy are practically disposable after a single wearing.

I've been shopping at thrift stores my whole life, and I learned early on to look at the tags: not for brand information, but to figure out what the garment was made of and where it was made. The latter was usually the best indication of how old something was, and the fact that something decades old had made it through all those years always felt like a sign of its quality. I don't shop at thrift stores as much as I used to. With two kids it's hard, but more than anything all the shoddily-made, tacky, two-to-seven-year-old sweatshop crap from Old Navy has infected the racks at even my favorite thrift stores. I don't have the energy to wade through it anymore.

When I found the blog Archival Clothing through Reference Library, I became enamored with the idea of "shopping from the past": looking at decades-old catalogs and wishing I could order clothes from a time when they were made with quality materials for longevity by American workers. A recent guest post there linked to this collection of images from vintage Montgomery Ward catalogs and I couldn't believe how cool the clothes were at a store I grew up thinking was just slightly better than Zayre. Check out those guys in this photo at the top of this page. Those clothes are like the uniform of a superhero whose job it is to kick the ass of every GRUP in a $37 threadless t-shirt.

I know this is totally a nostalgia fest, but take a look at some of the other catalogs Lesli has featured on her site. Then slap yourself on the head for settling for the kind of crap we buy to cover our nakedness.

This blog is intended solely to share the things I come across that inspire me. If I have posted a copyrighted image, I have only done so to the extent necessary to comment upon or discuss it; I will always include a link to the original source of the image if that source is online or acknowledge the source if it is in print. If I have reproduced anything of yours here that is copyrighted and you want me to remove it, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will do so right away.