09 April 2010

Off My Back: Honesty In Chamois





I've been an Orvis customer for 30 plus years. My favorite moleskin trousers in hunter green are from the early 90's. They came in handy on the 50 minute winter commute from Lake Bluff to Chicago on the Metra. They could just sneak by with a shirt, tie and blazer. But with this shirt you were talking casual Friday. It has only improved with age and rates as my favorite hang over shirt.

To this day the Orvis cut is generous. This medium fits...as long as I have a salad for lunch. A burger and a Guinness? Forget it. And even though NYC hit 91 degrees yesterday - I have this Orvis flannel in my Beretta sights.

For me, Orvis is the real deal. Has been. Hopefully continues to be. Imitators of Orvis are hoping they can steal the authenticity but they always miss the boat. Some of that stems from their models in winter clothes and coats and heavy shoes without socks. That would be a fad and a bad one at that. There's also a calculating insincerity that comes from peddling what doesn't interest you.

Some of the younger folks I've met in the last year do get it and have a real love for this kind of kit. Their passion runs deep. They ask about the early 1980s the same way I ask folks about the early 1960s and the way those folks love the 1930s. It's that nostalgia for something all of us have never had but long for. I suppose a two year old today will be asking you about J Crew 30 years from now. Looking at my consumption of alcohol and tobacco in the last 30 years - - I'm guessing I'll miss it.

22 comments:

L.A.S said...

Orvis is the real deal and anyone who doesn't know this, well, probably doesn't need to.

M.Lane said...

Orvis is the best. Just going into an Orvis store is a great experience!

ML
mlanesepic.blogspot.com

Laguna Beach Trad said...

Great post Tintin. Big fan of Orvis here. It doesn't get enough love in Tradland for some reason.

Scott said...

Damn man, that last line was kind of heavy.

TRAWETS NILTGEOV said...

The only Orvis clothing item I own is a wading jacket. It's great, though, and I've had it for 10 years.

But I will vouch for their service when it comes to fishing. Can't recall how many times I went into the Peachtree store for a new fly-line and had a salesman push a new reel, line, leader on me. They always load it up w/ backing, tie on the line (nail knot be damned.), and even throw in an extra leader all while pimping fly choices for local streams.

JMW said...

My hubby has been a long-time Orvis fan. He's into fly-fishing, so Orvis is the place to go. And, I bought his Barbour coat from Orvis - great establishment.

Anonymous said...

Tintin,
What you need is the male equivalent of the "Yummie Tummie" to wear under your shirt (go on, google it, you know you want to), then you can get the entree. And the beer. If you decide to don Spanx for Men, feel free to have dessert as well. D

Family Man said...

The plaid shirt you linked to is nice. But that "fun" shirt in your post? Where's the fun in dressing like a clown? And I mean that literally: it reminds me of motley.

Seriously: what's the appeal?

tintin said...

Family Man- The appeal? Fun.

heavy tweed jacket said...

Tintin, 'My land' (as my Grandmother would say), that is an monarch among chamois shirts. Reminds me of that A&F "fun" field jacket from the 70s. I had one grey Orvis chamois shirt from the mid-80s that finally wore out at the end of the 90s. You know you're right about the size, that Orvis shirt was roomier than the Bean chamois shirts I had in the same size.

Family Man said...

Different definitions of fun. I can live with that.

Anonymous said...

Any a you 'mpertinent young whipper-snappers remember when Orvis had only the one store in Manchester, VT and a brief, simple catalogue?

Half the togs were Cambrian Flyfishers "Ratcatcher" brand from one "Dig" Diggory's outfit, with an address of "The Old Vicarage" in Llangwhatchamacallit, Wales. Since moved to England www.ratcather.com

And a good portion of the proffered fishing gear was from www.house-of-hardy.com in Alnwick, England (An-ick)

Eh, waja say, Eh, Eh? Bat'ry must be ded.

Ta'er

David V said...

Why is it that the only Orvis catalogs we get are the woman's?

brohammas said...

Got to hand it to you; you like what you like.
I see those large panel solid colors and all I can think of is early 90's Garth Brooks albums and Harlequins rugby jerseys. I never liked either...
But thats the beauty of it; I don't have to like it. It is yours and hats off to you for sticking with it. Isnt that what personal or even classic style is about? Having your taste no matter what trolling blog stalkers or whimsical fashionistas say?
Do your thing man!

ADG said...

You can't wear that no moe my man. Give it up. Give it to me.

Chimney Cupboard said...

When we drive through Manchester I alway say "That's the original Orvis" to my wife as we drive by the still there building. I am a full time antiques dealer, forty years, doing a show today. It's 5:15 AM and I put my Orvis tweed in the truck an hour ago. Their whole has stood by me with no special attention for my whole life.

Laguna Beach Trad said...

I can see wearing this shirt with a pair of khakis and Weejuns (no socks) on a Saturday afternoon in the spring.

heavy tweed jacket said...

I must be losing my mind. I thought I posted a comment. I must be really rusty at this. Anyway, I remember writing something about having an Orvis chamois shirt in the mid-80s that finally got pitched in the late 90s. The sizing was more generous than LL Bean's chamois in a comparable size. This is a patriarch among chamois shirts.

tintin said...

HTJ-
You're not losing your mind but blogger may be losing comments. Probs last few days w/posting comments.

ADG- Seeing you're a 27" sleeve length you may have probs with this.

brohammas- Garth Brooks?! Maybe I will give this to ADG.

Having lived out west, there's a diff between the Orvis fun shirt and Garth Brook's shirting. Perhaps subtle to the untrained eye but huge to the sartorial obsessed. Double Snap pockets with front and back yokes give the latter away as Goat Roper attire. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Chimney- Thanks for your comment. I like your blog and we need to talk. I'm looking for some certain ephemera.

tintin said...

Tater-
You are the best. I can't hear anymore either. I'm looking for a horn to stick in my ear or an iPhone app to cure the problem.

Family Man said...

ADG likes it? Better burn it--and all evidence that you ever owned it.

Tickled Pink And Green said...

I've been an Orvis fan for years too. Thankfully I live right by one. I got their catalog in the mail for the longest time and then suddenly a year or so ago it stopped. (economy?)...Then just last week I got one in the mail again. Weird!