17 August, 2010

A Vintage Pendleton Houndstooth skirt suit

As regular readers would know, I absolutely love houndstooth - the classic black and white pattern that has been used for eons in fashion. Although houndstooth skirts are fairly easy to get online, I have always found it a difficult to find a houndstooth skirt suit (they are very sought after and often go for quite a lot on ebay and etsy). So I was very happy when I found this lovely 1960's Pendleton suit on etsy a few months ago.

I bought the suit from 'Dear Golden Vintage' who is a very good seller on etsy (see here for a link to her etsy shop). She has very good quality items at reasonable prices - highly recommended.

It was such a good investment because I have absolutely worn it to death this winter (and of course being vintage it doesn't look worn to death at all!). Look at this close up of the wonderful fabric, what a classic design . . .

The 'Pendleton' label

I must say I had never really heard of 'Pendleton' before, but it seems to quite a famous US woollen company. It is so-called because the mill and company are situated in Pendleton, a town in Oregon.

This woollen company started up in 1909 with the manufacture of blankets and over time has diversified into other areas, including the creation of mens and women's clothing. It began to manufacture women's clothes in 1949 with the release of a woollen jacket that became so popular it is known as the '49er jacket'. The 49er jacket was developed over the years into different incarnations and colours, as can be seen from this 1957 ad . . .

I have to say I am not a fan of plaid and you should be warned that a lot of the Pendleton suits online do seem to be plaid, but if you keep on looking, you should find something a little less, well . . .  plaidish (!)

I was also interested to see, from their website, that Pendleton is what they call a 'vertically integrated company', which means they basically perform each step in the manufacturing process - they dye, spin and weave the wool and then manufacture that wool into suits. That control over the whole process is probably why their clothes are of such good quality.

The Pendleton Mill and Company still functions today and from the look of their website it looks as if they make beautiful clothes (although nothing contemporary can be as good as vintage in my book!).

I hope you enjoyed that insight into one of America's very interesting clothing companies and good luck with buying your very own houndstooth suit!


  1. great post - i love that you included the Pendleton info. here in the states Pendleton enjoys an excellent reputation, especially whereas vintage is concerned. so your houndstooth wool suit is very much made by the best wool suiting company i can think of and likely will never ever wear out!

    i am so happy you love it and wear it all the time, suits are hard to sell and i was glad to see that awesome one go to a great home!

  2. Oh, yes, a Pedelton suit is to die for! They have always been excellant quality!
    About 20 years ago I ourchased a Pendelton shirt for The Mister and it set me back $85 US! Hate to think what they are now! I do find them periodically at the thrift store, but mostly they are threadbare..but I have gotten lucky in finding a few :)

  3. I have a beautiful wool Houndstooth tailored jacket that my mother wore in the 50's. It has 2 pockets on each side and gold buttons. She did buy form Pendelton Woolens but the label has been taken out of it. I would be happy to send pictures offline if you are interested in it.

  4. I am trying to source an Australian size 16 Houndstooth skirt. Not sure what that is in the US - I think it's a 12 or 14?? If anyone finds one in a larger size I'd be interested. I can't find my tapemeasure!