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vintage Pendleton


The Pendleton 49er revisited

A few years ago I wrote about the Pendleton 49er jacket, and this is an update. People are always surprised at the variety of the plaids used for the jackets made by Pendleton, and the similar jackets by other makers. I get plenty of requests for specific favorite plaids, but almost every one I find is different from every other one I've found.

I have two 49er-style (not Pendleton label) jackets for sale right now, along with a 1955 McCall’s pattern, so you can sew your own! {click on images to view}

Here’s an update of the 2008 post I wrote about this iconic jacket, with additional photos, representing more 49er and 49er-style jackets I've found since. 

The last word in plaid: Pendleton 49er jackets

Recently I took stock of the vintage plaids I’ve come across for a photo set on Flickr, and realized that many of them were fine woolens from Pendleton.

I live so very near the home of Pendleton (Portland) that I am determined to have a field trip to check out Pendleton history first hand.

For now, here’s a parade of Pendleton 49er jackets, the great sporty basic that Pendleton started making in 1949...the company's very first article of clothing for women. It has been made ever since, with some variations.

The classic has flanged shoulders, a back yoke with gathers falling from the sides, roomy patch pockets with the plaid cut on the bias, big dark shell buttons, and long sleeves with buttoned cuffs. They are almost always plaid or tartan. A woman recently wrote me to say that her mother had sewn pockets in Pendleton 49ers until 1957. She was surprised to see a vintage jacket in purple and lime green plaid, asked her mother if that could possibly have been an original 49er color scheme, and her mother said yes! The variety was wonderful.

Pendleton still makes the jacket, now quite faithful to the original model. Here’s the Fall 2012 jacket:

Other companies made very similar jackets (I’ve seen Western Star, Spokane’s The Crescent department store, Penneys, White Stag, Game & Lake Original, “The Prospector” by Algene and the “Frisco Jac” by Minnesota Woolen Co. labels).

Jody of the Couture Allure Vintage Fashion blog posted a 1955 ad for the 49er and coordinating pieces at

and it really was a revelation to me that the jacket is shown belted in the ad. I love a belt with this jacket!

Here is an assortment of Pendleton 49ers (and some 49er-style jackets by other makers) I've sold in the past.


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Twice as nice: Vintage reversibles

I just listed this 1950s skirt in my Etsy shop...

...and got to thinking just how much I love something you can reverse. Although never what one would call commonplace, vintage fashion features much more that can be reversed (or in some other way converted) than is currently available. I guess people used to want more from their clothing!

Here's another of those ingenious reversible plaid skirts, the organization of the pleats giving different effects on the two sides. The zipper has a pull on both sides. This one was labeled Pendleton and probably dates from the early to mid 1960s:

Most frequently seen in my experience are reversible vintage coats. How handy to be able to go from a more exciting print to a more practical solid!

Apparently this is not just a phenomenon of the 50s and 60s, if this late 1930s cape is any indication:

I've also seen my share of reversible vintage Asian jackets:

This was probably the most unusual of my finds, a 1960s chartreuse and taupe wool dress and jacket, both reversible:

Then there are the assorted accessories, such as bags...

...and what isn't to appreciate about a dramatic stole that reverses from black to white?

What's the best reversible vintage item you've seen?

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