Tom and Kate are Back. No, not THAT Tom and Kate

December 2nd, 2009

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Ramblers Way. All opinions are 100% mine.

If you have read this blog for quite some time, you know that second to being a promoter of vintage fashion, I am a huge fan of clothing that is either sustainable in some way or made domestically. Vintage clothing involves a bit of recycling, but also creating clothing where the maker is employing local people and being gentle with their resources is also of great interest.

ramblersway3.jpgRamblers Way is a small company in Maine that produces basic worsted wool clothing.In fact, the founders of Ramblers Way might be familiar names.  Tom and Kate Chappell, founders of Tom’s of Maine, are the friendly faces that represent the company.  In other words, they have a little bit of experience in launching successful companies. In 2006, they sold a majority share of Tom’s of Maine to Colgate.  In 2007, they began to set up the sheep farm.  At right is a photo of farmer Dave Norman and a friend.  Or, should I say, a valued employee of Ramblers Way with his friend Dave Norman.  I wondered if they were retiring at that point, but my curiosity has now been satisfied.  They are just off on another adventure, developing another product line that is designed with sustainability in mind.

ramblersway2.jpg Ramblers Way produces long and short sleeved shirts, long johns, and briefs for the men and women.  The pieces are in a natural blond color, which is the color of the wool when it has not been bleached or dyed.  The wool comes from the Ramblers Way farm, as well as several other family sheep farms throughout the United States.  In fact, they pride themselves on not only making their products in the United States, but all components are made in the US as well. From the shearing, carding, weaving, knitting processes to even the buttons and thread, nothing is sourced from or manufactured overseas.

As far as the items, they are exactly what they have set out to be. They do not make coats and suits like another famous American wool clothing maker, Pendleton, but rather stick to the very basics. Although the shirts look clean and neat by themselves, the clothing is really more perfect for wearing in lieu of a cotton T-Shirt. If you are always grabbing for a long sleeve to stick under a sweatshirt or flannel shirt on a dreary day, it is definitely for you. I found that the price point for particularly mens and ladies briefs to be on the high side ($47-65), especially considering that there was no color choice. However, worsted wool fabric has a natural “recovery” element and they will last many years longer than their cotton counterparts. When you look at the clothing prices, you really need to take that into account. They “don’t make things like they used to,” but perhaps Ramblers Way does.

What caught my attention was the claim that it “repels moisture and odors through natural wool fiber. Go days without washing, dries quickly, and stay warm even when wet.” Well, I hope you do wash it. However, when one is camping or in a similar situation, it is good to know it will hold up. Then, it made me think of the old fashioned bathing suits. Suits in the 1920s were in fact wool. I always thought that bathers would be a bit itchy and hot. If the wool was anything like this superfine spun wool, I bet they were really just fine, and their suit held its shape over the years. The suits that survive certainly have.

If someone handed me an armful of cash, I would probably stock up on a bunch of basics.  For my family, the men’s crossneck shirt and ladies scoop neck top would be at the top of the list.  The ladies scoop neck is low enough to be able to wear under buttoned or V-neck shirts without covering up a necklace, but it remains to be seen if it the material is substantial enough to be worn alone without bra straps showing through.  The men’s crossneck looks like it could be worn alone, and not just as a layer, which would be handy when the weather just can’t make up its mind.

As of this writing, I do not know of any stores that carry Ramblers Way, but you can  shop at Ramblers Way online.  In fact, if you normally have issues with wool and find that it itches, you may want to request a fabric sample on the site to test it out.

You were probably afraid from the title that this was all going to be about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.  I am sorry to disappoint you, or perhaps you are relieved, but this is a TomKat free zone.

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