While I enjoy the latest fads to walk down the run way, readers know we have a special place in the left breast pocket for vintage goods. Another love is products made right here in the USA. It is easy to find artisan made clothing and items from one-off independent designers, but every day staples get to be a challenge, especially if the T-shirts with “American” in their name, notably still made here, are out of your size range. Clothing, except for plus size pants, which can be made to specific measurements, is difficult to merely just make bigger. In other items, darts, pleats and the overall design must be reimagined.
Blouse House is one of the rare plus size clothiers that manufacture their garments in the US, offering a range of plus size tops, dresses and pants in sizes up to 7x. The styles are fairly conservative. You won’t see any body bearing pinup fashions here, but you will fine staples appropriate for the office as well as patterned tops and swimwear.
Fashion Tips for Sizes 3x and Up:
- Go up a size if the bust, waist or hips are too large for the garment measurements, even if the garment fits perfectly elsewhere. Take the garment in an inch or two at the areas of smaller measurement to avoid volumes of extra fabric. If it is the right measurements but the button pulls very slightly in the bust and the darts don’t lay at the right spot, the brassiere could be the wrong size rather than the shirt
- Plus size tunics are more forgiving in the bust and stomach. To carry off the look without looking like you are wearing a tent, the sleeves must be tailored to fit. Hem up cuffs, move a button, or even take the garment in at the shoulder seam. A detailed collar such as a mandarin collar often flatters more than a wide round neckline.
- Horizontal stripes are universally shunned, although a thin pinstripe that does not appear until the viewer is close does not distort the body. A bold woman can pull off wide bold stripes if it absolutely fits a flamboyant personality, but not on top AND bottom…that goes for anyone of any size.
- Even if you are plus sized, don’t fool yourself that you don’t have a basic body shape. Not all plus size women are apple shaped. Follow other fit recommendations for hourglass, apple or pear figures and look for those cuts. A tunic that hangs from the bust may equalize an apple figure or a very straight figure, but does not flatter an hourglass-shaped woman. To create shape, creatively use layers or belts or choose garments with a tailored waist.
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.
Ramblers 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.
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.designers, made in the usa, modern fashion | Comment (0)
Not all products require a country of origin label. However, those that do, including those under the jurisdiction of the Wool Products Labeling Act and the Textile Fiver Products Identification Act, are often a subject of this blog. I just received a newsletter form MadeByYankees and it hits upon the FTC standards for labeling an item Made in the USA:
Though many products do not require labeling‚ if a company chooses to label‚ they must adhere to the guidelines issued by the FTC. First and foremost if a product is labeled or advertised as Made in USA‚ either expressly or implied‚ it must be “all or virtually all” made in the USA. “ ‘All or virtually all’ means that all significant parts and processing that go into the product must be of U.S. origin. That is‚ the product should contain no — or negligible — foreign content.”3 This definition
seems simple enough but wait. Read on….
I did some more research on what “negligible foreign materials meant, and that took me back to the FTC wesbite HERE
In this analysis, raw materials(18) are neither automatically included nor automatically excluded in the evaluation of whether a product is all or virtually all made in the United States. Instead, whether a product whose other parts and processing are of U.S. origin would not be considered all or virtually all made in the United States because the product incorporated imported raw materials depends (as would be the case with any other input) on what percentage of the cost of the product the raw materials constitute and how far removed from the finished product the raw materials are.(19) Thus, were the gold in a gold ring, or the clay used to make a ceramic tile, imported, an unqualified “Made in USA” claim for the ring or tile would likely be inappropriate.(20) This is both because of the significant value the gold and the clay are likely to represent relative to the finished product and because the gold and the clay are only one step back from the finished articles and are integral components of those articles. By contrast, were the plastic in the plastic case of a clock radio that was otherwise all or virtually all made in the United States found to have been made from imported petroleum, the petroleum is far enough removed from, and an insignificant enough input into, the finished product that it would nonetheless likely be appropriate to label the clock radio with an unqualified U.S. origin claim.
So, when you see something with the Made in the USA label, you can be assured that it has for all intents and purposes, been made in America. There are, from time to time, violations in which the Federal Trade Commission monitors. In 1999, Abercrombie & Fitch was noted for its failure to list the country of origin for a wool product advertised in their catalog, and sold it in their store.
Historical Fact: Garments that were labeled Made in the USA beginning in 1996 must comply with FTC regulations. A variation on the label is a “Assembled in the USA” label which means the item was manufactured in the United States using parts of a foreign source, or a large amount of foreign materials.
Made in Usa, Japan label: There is also some confusion over a label that states “Made in Usa, Japan.” There is in fact a province or area called Usa in Japan. These garments started appearing in the United States in the 60s, imported from Japan. Usa is a real place that has been there for centuries but it has caused confusion.
When you are out and about, watch those labels. It will probably make you more conscious of just who is making your clothing, or exactly what is going into them, if you are attempting to support as many American made products as possible.fashion history, made in the usa | Comment (0)
Periodically, I get questions posed to me about how readers like to buy vintage and antique clothing, but for everyday basics, they prefer to purchase items that are made in the United States. Sometimes it is hard to find everything you need that fits that criteria. The ones that have it the toughest may be people that cannot fudge so much on the size. For example, there is specialty clothing out there, such as orthotics for shoes and maternity clothing. Sure, you can purchase very large sweatshirts for your wife or sister who is pregnant, but she can’t exactly wear them to a special occasion, or wear them to work if she is working through some of her pregnancy.
There is actually a company named Due Maternity who has a wide range of items, all made in the USA. There are many psychedelic and funky patterns that are groovy enough for the slightly retro gal. There is also something called the bella band which allows women to wear some of their existing pants that they just need to loosen the button on. It covers the waist area and smooths out and covers any undone buttons or zippers and supports the stomach as well. It is not something I would have ever thought was a consideration, and I have never heard of it, but it sounds like a real economical idea to get the most out of their clothes.
ladieswear, made in the usa | Comments (2)