Ask a Trad Question & Get Answer: Quick Q&A

IrvingS

Starting Member
I couldn’t find much about the term “Cashmere Major.” It originally seems to have been a brand name apart from Alan Paine. In 1952, men’s clothiers were offering “Cashmere Major” v-neck pullover sweaters with a fabric content of 50% cashmere and 50% wool. In 1956, “Cashmere Major” sweaters were advertised as being made of 55% cashmere and 45% wool. The ads didn’t indicate if those sweaters were associated with Alan Paine.

Were they two unrelated companies, and then Alan Paine bought Cashmere Major? Or was Cashmere Major always a division of Alan Paine? I haven’t been able to determine that yet.

In any case, it appears as though “Cashmere Major” was nothing more than an arbitrary brand name; it wasn’t intended to imply anything about the quality or weight of the garment that the label was attached to.
HI, Thank you all so much. That makes sense that it might be a blend. I have some similar vintage 100% cashmere sweaters and they are much lighter and softer. This feels more like my vintage 70/30 cashmere/wool scarves. Should I assume this might be a pre 1960 Alan Paine label as material content was mandated by congress in the late 1950s(?) and my other vintage Alan Paine sweaters list material content? Reminds me of the Dan River and Galey and Lord fabrics: You have to be familiar with the era to know what they mean. I was hoping for an all cashmere sweater, but it still is nice, will be more than warm enough, probably will last longer than all cashmere, but is a bit heavier than my all cashmere ones.

I wish there was a more systematic web site for dating these labels. I know there is the "Fashion Guild" pages but they seem to have more women's labels and are incomplete, especially for men's labels.

By the way, I grew up in San Francisco, so I am always nostalgic for any old SF and Bay Area store labels.

Cheers!

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Rosarito

New Member
Gray (black and white) herringbone sport jacket… what pants/trousers? Every photo example I see online, even from retailers, show models wearing this item with blue jeans. I usually only wear it with jeans as well because I don’t love it with any of my others trousers. What are the go-to combinations for this type of jacket?
 

Vecchio Vespa

(aka TKI67)
Gray (black and white) herringbone sport jacket… what pants/trousers? Every photo example I see online, even from retailers, show models wearing this item with blue jeans. I usually only wear it with jeans as well because I don’t love it with any of my others trousers. What are the go-to combinations for this type of jacket?
I wear mine with grey tropical worsteds or flannels, depending on the temperature, if wearing a tie. For casual I wear it with khakis. In between I liked it with gabs.
 

Charles Dana

Honors Member
HI, Thank you all so much. That makes sense that it might be a blend. I have some similar vintage 100% cashmere sweaters and they are much lighter and softer. This feels more like my vintage 70/30 cashmere/wool scarves. Should I assume this might be a pre 1960 Alan Paine label as material content was mandated by congress in the late 1950s(?) and my other vintage Alan Paine sweaters list material content?
IrvingS—

I have more information about the term “Cashmere Major.”

It turns out that you were almost correct when you speculated whether the term “Cashmere Major” might denote “a majority cashmere blended with wool.”

“Cashmere Major” was neither a stand-alone sweater company nor a division of Alan Paine. Rather, “Cashmere Major” was a registered trademark belonging to Alan Paine.

As you suspected, it was the proprietary term that Alan Paine used when referring to its sweaters that were made of a cashmere/wool blend, though not necessarily a blend in which cashmere was the dominant fabric.

From a clothier’s advertisement in the New York Times dated September 16, 1962:

“Alan Paine sweaters are superbly fashioned of 100% pure cashmere, Cashmere Major®, lambswool, Shetland, vicuña, and luxurious 4-ply pure camelhair.”

Advertisements in the 1950s and early 1960s indicated that some Alan Paine sweaters were made of either a 50/50 or a 55/45 blend of cashmere and wool, with cashmere being the equal or the dominant fabric. Sometimes, but not always, these blended sweaters were designated by the term “Cashmere Major.” Other times they were simply called “Alan Paine sweaters,” with the blended fabric described in the ad copy.

(What confused me yesterday when I looked into the matter is that some clothiers’ ads mentioned “Cashmere Major” without any mention of Alan Paine. They’d say, “Cashmere Major sweaters are $22.50.” That gave me the impression that the term may have been a brand name. Further research has disabused me of that notion.)

I wasn’t able to find any mention of “Cashmere Major” in Alan Paine’s advertisements after September 16, 1962. (I’m not saying there weren’t any—just that I couldn’t find any.)

It appears, then, as though your sweater might be a pre-1963 item. And if what you said about disclosing fabric content on the labels is correct, I guess you might have a pre-1960 garment.
 
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Fading Fast

Connoisseur
Gray (black and white) herringbone sport jacket… what pants/trousers? Every photo example I see online, even from retailers, show models wearing this item with blue jeans. I usually only wear it with jeans as well because I don’t love it with any of my others trousers. What are the go-to combinations for this type of jacket?

You're asking about my favorite sport coat - I have several versions.

Yes it goes with jeans, but also with chinos and, as others have noted above, grey dress trousers. Also noted above, some thought has to be given as to the tone and darkness of the grey trousers versus the grey herringbone jacket, but no "rule" can be given as a "grey" herringbone jacket can be very light to very dark and everything in between.

As opposed to @Vecchio Vespa, whose opinion I greatly respect, I like it with cords, especially wide wale (chunky) cords as I think the textures work well together.

I have worn a grey herringbone sport coat as my go-to sport coat for three decades now and find, with the obvious exceptions, it goes with most trousers. I love taking it on vacation as I can dress it down with jeans or casual chinos or up with creased chinos or dress trousers.
 

never behind

Super Member
You're asking about my favorite sport coat - I have several versions.

Yes it goes with jeans, but also with chinos and, as others have noted above, grey dress trousers. Also noted above, some thought has to be given as to the tone and darkness of the grey trousers versus the grey herringbone jacket, but no "rule" can be given as a "grey" herringbone jacket can be very light to very dark and everything in between.

As opposed to @Vecchio Vespa, whose opinion I greatly respect, I like it with cords, especially wide wale (chunky) cords as I think the textures work well together.

I have worn a grey herringbone sport coat as my go-to sport coat for three decades now and find, with the obvious exceptions, it goes with most trousers. I love taking it on vacation as I can dress it down with jeans or casual chinos or up with creased chinos or dress trousers.
I’ve worn mine with moleskins and thought it paired well. Not a great pic but an idea of what it looks like.

https://askandyaboutclothes.com/community/threads/what-are-you-wearing-today-2-0.238564/post-1965265
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur

Vecchio Vespa

(aka TKI67)
Nice outfit, it looks good. The weight of the moleskins looks good with the Tweed.

For no reason whatsoever, I've never owned a pair of moleskin pants. It's one of the Trad items I've never bought and I don't really know why.
Me either. I am also rethinking heavier cords and herringbone. It might be a great way to pair olive or moss with the grey.
 

Charles Dana

Honors Member
I have a few tattersall shirts in my collection. What types of ties can I wear? Are neat florals safe to pair?
When in doubt, play it safe: Go with solid silk knit or wool ties—dark green, burgundy, dark blue, for example—whichever color will complement the colors of the shirt you’ve selected for the day.

Also consider silk ties with a hunting motif—ones that have a widely-spaced pattern of pheasants or geese or dogs, etc. You might want to avoid an image of a dog carrying a dead duck in its mouth. That might be a bit fashion forward.

You asked about neat florals. I don’t know. You should make sure that the scale of the tie’s pattern and the scale of the horizontal and vertical lines on the shirt are not similar. Neat florals paired with the shirt could look busy, but I’d need to see photos of the ties and shirts to be sure.
 

phzanella

Starting Member
Any tips on buying used suits? Do you gents buy the jackets separately and try to pair up orphaned trousers? Seems like I can find jackets in 40R, but never any matched trousers in 32x32 on ebay.
 

ThomGault

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Do you gents buy the jackets separately and try to pair up orphaned trousers?
No. The parts of a suit need to match perfectly. A suit jacket is not a blazer and generally shouldn't be worn with odd trousers; it will also be nearly impossible to find exactly matching trousers. If you want a suit, buy a suit. If you want a sport coat/blazer, buy a sport coat/blazer.

If you buy a used suit, be aware that it may have been altered for a previous owner, and therefore will likely need further alterations to fit you well. Additionally, previous alterations may make further alterations more difficult/impossible. E.g., if trousers were originally waist size X, and were previously altered to X-3, you probably couldn't further alter them to X-3-3, and you won't necessarily discover this problem until you take the trousers to a tailor.
 
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Mike Petrik

Honors Member
Any tips on buying used suits? Do you gents buy the jackets separately and try to pair up orphaned trousers? Seems like I can find jackets in 40R, but never any matched trousers in 32x32 on ebay.
ThomGault is right. It is not possible to make a proper suit out of used separates.

On the other hand one can theoretically employ suit trousers as odd trousers and a suit jacket as a sport coat, but in most cases this is best left to gents who really know what they are doing. One exception is seersucker, where both the trousers and the jacket can be used as separates. In addition, solid suit trousers are usually easily serviceable as odd trousers. Finally, a solid navy suit jacket can be used in a pinch as an acceptable blazer, though well-dressed gents would consider this suboptimal. There are other exceptions, but in general one should be cautious about using suit trousers and jackets as odd trousers and sport coats.
 
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IrvingS

Starting Member
IrvingS—

I have more information about the term “Cashmere Major.”

It turns out that you were almost correct when you speculated whether the term “Cashmere Major” might denote “a majority cashmere blended with wool.”

“Cashmere Major” was neither a stand-alone sweater company nor a division of Alan Paine. Rather, “Cashmere Major” was a registered trademark belonging to Alan Paine.

As you suspected, it was the proprietary term that Alan Paine used when referring to its sweaters that were made of a cashmere/wool blend, though not necessarily a blend in which cashmere was the dominant fabric.

From a clothier’s advertisement in the New York Times dated September 16, 1962:

“Alan Paine sweaters are superbly fashioned of 100% pure cashmere, Cashmere Major®, lambswool, Shetland, vicuña, and luxurious 4-ply pure camelhair.”

Advertisements in the 1950s and early 1960s indicated that some Alan Paine sweaters were made of either a 50/50 or a 55/45 blend of cashmere and wool, with cashmere being the equal or the dominant fabric. Sometimes, but not always, these blended sweaters were designated by the term “Cashmere Major.” Other times they were simply called “Alan Paine sweaters,” with the blended fabric described in the ad copy.

(What confused me yesterday when I looked into the matter is that some clothiers’ ads mentioned “Cashmere Major” without any mention of Alan Paine. They’d say, “Cashmere Major sweaters are $22.50.” That gave me the impression that the term may have been a brand name. Further research has disabused me of that notion.)

I wasn’t able to find any mention of “Cashmere Major” in Alan Paine’s advertisements after September 16, 1962. (I’m not saying there weren’t any—just that I couldn’t find any.)

It appears, then, as though your sweater might be a pre-1963 item. And if what you said about disclosing fabric content on the labels is correct, I guess you might have a pre-1960 garment.
Thank you for all this great information. WOW!!!!

I wonder what type of wool it is blended with (not some weird version of polyester)? I wish there was a dedicated forum for discussing and cataloging these vintage labels and brands.

As for the sweater, it is nice and solid, well preserved, and nothing less than one would expect from a vintage Alan Paine. I own a number of vintage sweaters in shetland, alpaca, and cashmere, but I only have a few blends such as a couple of 1960s Towne and King sweater vests that are a blend of 85% lambswool and 15% kid mohair, a Penny's Towncraft Plus 50/50 wool/alpaca Cardigan (like the old Arnold Palmer Golf Sweaters), and an old Dick Van Dyke by Edgeworth 75/25 Mohair/Wool Cardigan. I probably would have passed up this wool/cashmere blend except for the fact of the old San Francisco Robert Kirk tag and the fact that I didn't have this color in any of my v necks. Still, as long as there is no polyester in it, I'm good to go.

Cheers!
 

ran23

Super Member
Take a look at SaveASuit on ebay, a non-profit. I got a Hickey Freeman there for less than $100. Just had to wait for my measurements to come up.
 

Vecchio Vespa

(aka TKI67)
I am not aware of any socks at that price point other than what you can find in "deal" stores, but the large department chains like Macy's will almost always have good stuff in the 3 for $20 range. As regards underwear the answer really depends on the sort you prefer. Ditto for belts. I am a big proponent of buying less stuff but of a high enough quality that it will really last. Most of my socks and underwear are close to ten years old. I love the belts from Eliza B/Leather Man. They are very solid and will not wear and tire quickly. Of course it helps to favor traditional clothing that does not go in or out of style,
 
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