Pendleton 49er

I love, love, love vintage - well everything.  My mom purchased a reproduction Pendleton 49er jacket a couple years ago that I love (reproduction in that the company produced them again to look exactly like the orginal 50's version).  Today I scored at the thrift store and mom found me an orginal 1950's Pendleton 49er jacket!

It looks just like this one I found on Ebay:

So I did some research and found out a little history on the '49er jacket.  On another ebay auction found here, an employee of Pendleton wrote:
 "Dear buy-n-bye777, I work for Pendleton, and am currently working on a personal project tracking the evolution of Pendleton labels, in an effort to better date vintage products. While the gold on white label dates back to the 1949 introduction of the 49er jacket & other women's clothing, the Woolmark logo on your label first appeared in 1964. Your label appears to lack the ® registered trademark symbol, which means this 49er dates between 1964-1967. The other subtle indication that this doesn't date to the 50s is the noticeably narrower lapel and collar points ... about 1/2 the width of 50s jackets."

I found that the label like mine:
Was the one the employee was referring to.  Super cool.

I ran into this post on the Pendleton website about the '49er jacket's history.

In 1949, when market research identified an opportunity for sportswear for women, Pendleton entered the market with their first women’s line. This was a test offering of classic skirts, jackets and shirt, to test exactly how the American woman would react to a branded line of virgin wool sportswear. The positive response was resounding, but no one could have predicted the enormous success of a single garment introduced that year.
Says Linda Parker, head of Pendleton Communications, “The first women’s line in 1949 was composed of five items.  It is amazing to me that out of such a limited initial offering that the 49′er would develop such an immediate following and reputation.”  The jacket referred to both the year of its introduction, and the California Gold Rush, in a nod to Pendleton’s Western roots.
The designer was Berte Wiechmann, a young woman who came to Pendleton from Jantzen,  another iconic Portland apparel company. Miss Wiechmann sewed the original samples herself, taking styling particulars from the Pendleton men’s shirt. The 49’er jacket featured discreet tucking at the yoke, and two bias-cut patch pockets near the hem. The boxy cut showcased Pendleton’s famous plaids, and larger iridescent shell buttonssoftened the look.
Miss Weichmann was very particular about these buttons. She insisted on a special black shell from Australia and Tahiti, supplied by J. Carnucci & Sons, NJ.
In 1956 alone, Pendleton would use $150,000.00 worth of these buttons.
In the years of its prime (1949-1961), over a million Pendleton 49’ers were sold to American women. And it continues to sell well now, after re-introduction in the early 2000s. 

I paid $4 for mine.  It would have cost around $15 in the 1950's, about $142 in todays standards.  New "reproduction" 49ers sell for $178.  I think I got a steal!


laurareid said...

Wow, that's an interesting history.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for that post. I knew I had 2 Pendleton jackets. I knew my grandmother had made one of them, but thought the other was authentic, however, after looking at it I saw it had a different label in it. I knew I had something with that original label in it and thought it must have been in one of the several wool shirts I have that were my dad's. Imagine my surprise when I went to find them and realized one of them was not a shirt of my dad's, but indeed a jacket that belonged to my mother, with that original gold on white label. I squeeled with excitement! Never would have known the history without reading your post. Thank you again!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...