Old LL Bean catalogs can be really fun to flip through this time of year. To be sure, they print and mail out catalogs year-round, but it’s their rubber duck boots, handsewn moccasins, and heavy field coats that feel so representative of the company – and so quintessentially fall.
I’ve collected some of their catalogs throughout the years. Here’s one from 1959, which was printed just a short while after they first introduced their women’s wear collection. Like with most mail order catalogs (at those dealing with clothing), the women’s stuff is put at the front of the book, while menswear is placed at the back. Included in this one is also LL Bean’s outdoor gear spread throughout. I’ve skipped the women’s wear and outdoor supplies for the sake of brevity, but there are still plenty of menswear things to keep one amused. And impressively, fifty-five years later, also plenty of things I’d happily buy.
The whole Americana trend seems to have passed, as fewer and fewer menswear blogs talk about brands such as LL Bean. However, as the writer behind Heavy Tweed Jacket once wrote about this stuff (when he was still writing), they feel forever appealing because they have a sense of “genuineness” to them. Perhaps a little hokey, but also hard to deny.