Vintage Pendleton Shirts │ Dating and Wearing Vintage Pendleton Clothing │Perennial Vintage Supply

A image of three pendleton shirts laying flat
Vintage Pendleton Shirts
I told you I might write about vintage Pendleton Shirts later in the fall of this year.

Well, I lied. I came across three vintage Pendletons at my local thrift store while sourcing for my shop the other day, and thought hey... this is the perfect time to write about it, especially since they'll be listed in my shop today.

Pendleton Woolen Mills began in 1909, but the very beginnings of the company began in 1863. This is proof that anything worth doing - particularly doing it well - is going to take time. Good things take time, no matter what century you live in.

If you're looking to date a Pendleton, I'm going to be very general here. If there's a wool emblem on the label, it means the piece was made after 1963. If no wool emblem is on the label, it's pre-1963.

A pendleton label frome the 1980s
Vintage '80s Pendleton Label
The Vintage Fashion Guild gives a great little run down with photos of labels over the decades. I defer you to them, so I'm saved from having to post all the label pictures on this blog post. Not that I don't love their labels. I do. They bring me great joy.

Every time I see a blue label sticking out of the collars of men's shirts in thrift stores and estate sales, my heart starts racing.

I've sold about 150 Pendleton over the last 14 years. And I've sold Pendleton shirts from almost all the categories shown on the Vintage Fashion Guild's site, except for the first one shown from the 1920s-30s. 

Finding that label would be a dream!

But per the labels of the three I'm listing today, two are from the late '70s to early '80s, and one is from the late '90s to early 2000s (while they were still making them in the USA.)

As to the style of the shirts offered by Pendleton, there are a handful to choose from. Of the three here, two "trail shirts," this is the red one with the elbow pads, and the blue plaid, and there is the "lodge shirt" which is the one with a single pocket without a button. For more information about Pendleton wool shirts, click here and here.

A image of the Beach Boys wearing their Pendleton shirts
Photo Courtesy of Pinterest
The Pendleton "Board shirt" is the one the Beach Boys made famous. It's the style I've owned several of and, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful styles and cuts.

But, let's get down to the most important part: vintage Pendleton shirts are superior to their modern versions. The wool, the quality, and the type of wool were better, the way they were made was better, and the country in which the original Pendletons were manufactured in was better: the good ole US of A.

Modern Pendletons are beautiful. But the quality, in my opinion, isn't even close to their vintage cousin. They're more like a third cousin, twice removed.

Wearing vintage Pendleton is a special thing. There's nothing quite like them today, nor were there many other companies that produced these shirts back in the day.

A stack of three vintage pendleton shirts sitting on a dresser
Vintage Pendleton
Pendleton was the one who began the classic plaid wool shirt and they're still the company with the classic wool plaid shirt that people go to. Others like Woolrich (especially their vintage wool) did give a beautiful version of their own with their wool shirts and wool jac-shirts.

In fact, the Woolrich Company, per Wikipedia, was founded in 1830 by John Rich and Daniel McCormick. It is the oldest manufacturer of outdoor wear in the United States. The company was founded to manufacture fabric for the wives of hunters, loggers, and trappers."

But Pendleton brought his wool shirts to the masses in a way other folks hadn't. And they're still doing it today. 

If you can buy vintage Pendleton, I'd highly recommend it over their modern pieces. It may be nice to have both, but once you do, you'll see the quality differences immediately.

Like many collectors, when they see one in their size on Etsy or eBay, their quality and beauty are so perfect that they pick up as many vintage Pendleton's as they can. I often sell my vintage Pendletons to repeat buyers. And I get it. Every time I get a small vintage Pendleton in, I want to keep it for myself. I fit a man's small perfectly and try to rationalize why I need "just one more!"

Whether you like or dislike Pendelton's new shirts, we can all agree that vintage Pendleton shirts are the ones we'll be handing down to our kids. And I think that says everything you need to know.

Ladies, for decades Pendleton didn't make women's wool shirts. They had to wear the men's shirts. This is what women did back then. We wore the men's denim and wool and perhaps, wore it better than them. Today, Pendleton carries women's wool shirts. But, I'm so used to vintage men's Pendleton, that I'm now partial to and prefer it. Go figure.

Are you looking for a vintage Pendleton to own in your carefully curated vintage wardrobe? Well, you are in luck. I try to keep Pendletons in my shop year-round. They do sell out rather quickly, so my advice would be to make sure you know your measurements and look today!

Happy Pendleton hunting.

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