New LLBean Signature Line

127.72 MHz

Elite Member
I'll confess to not being as well versed in the offerings of these companies as others here. I'm 29 and I'm still buying the ~$20 must-iron OCBDs that I bought from LE in high school, but I'm sure there are many items that have been discontinued over the years. I appreciate what you're saying, but I would never expect giant companies like LE or LLB to operate like Russell Moccasin and never change anything over 100 years.
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Your point is well taken. Everyone,...everything must change. (It's the one thing we can count on.!)

I'm actually happy you mentioned Russell. Ralph "Lefty" Fabricious and the entire staff at Russell make what I consider to be the finest hand made moccasins in the world. Now look up "Yukaten" boots and moccasins. Yuki Matsuta spent a few years working at Quoddy moccasins further refining his craft in hand made moccasin construction. Now he builds moccasins that look in so many ways like upscale Quoddys,.....Except they cost much more. He stresses the American made handcrafted aspect of his product and the Japanese are eating up everything he can turn out. No doubt they're great boots, shoes, and moccasins but they're no better than a handmade pair of Russells.

What is different is the marketing strategy. Create low volume, (kind of like the South African company De Beers has done with the non precious commodity of diamonds) and stress quality,....Yada yada yada.

Again, my point is that L.L. Bean already had a winning formula. They once sold many American handmade products. (Specifically the boots and moccasins) They do not need any Madison Avenue freaks from New York taking their money with a promise of taking the L.L. Bean mark upscale!

L.L. Bean only needs to return to their roots and sell high quality mostly American made products.
 

AlanC

Sartorial Sultan<br> Moderator, Trad Forum
The heritage tote looks pretty good. I wonder if its made in the USA. At that price I'd certainly hope so. (Just followed the link: 'Imported'--this seems to defeat the purpose of exploiting the Americana trend *sigh*).

Like most anything else you'll be able to raid the offerings for a few good pieces
 

127.72 MHz

Elite Member
Can someone explain why the new chinos my dad just bought from Bean are better made than my Bill's khakis?

I'm always looking for a better built Khaki at a better price than Bill's. If you get the chance to get a closeup on your dad's chinos I'd love to know the model.

My best,
 

Charles Dana

Honors Member
They were the really cheap ones from the front of the latest spring catalogue, $29.99 or somehting.


Doctor Damage appears to be referring to a new item: "Bean's 1912 Chinos." They are $29.50 and are available in two fits: Natural, which is relaxed in the hip and thighs, and "Standard," which, according to the LL Bean Spring catalogue, "sits lower on the waist." They have a plain front and on-seam front pockets. Colors: stone, red, navy, and khaki. I asked an LL Bean customer service representative about the rise of each model. She said that the Natural fit as a rise of 11.75 inches, while the Standard has an 11-inch rise.
 
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Mazama

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I can't say that I sympathize with the critical tone. It's not like LE or LLB are scrapping their regular offerings

Again I concur with 127.72 MHz and disagree with the above statement that "it's not like... LLB (is) scrapping their regular offerings."

As 127.72 MHz correctly notes LOTS of prior offerings have been purged from the LL Bean catalog.


Among items I previously bought and would buy again: saddle shoes in the same pebbled pigskin that Horween makes for NFL footballs (had a pair in college in the '70s); excellent woolen cavalry twill and whipcord trousers with leather pocket protectors (into the late '80s/early 90s); many others. I mean where's the "sandwich" knife for heaven's sake.

Just in the last year Bean dropped their flannel-lined Chamois shirt - a fantastic shirt-jac - and even dropped (unbelievable!) tartan flannel boxers.

Now I may be an old codger - Baby Boomer - but, Lord willing, I've still got 20+ years of retail buying ahead of me which is a lot of lost sales if Bean goes the route of Eddie Bauer (where I bought thousands of dollars of clothing and equipment before they went "mall rat" in the 1990s) and drops all the things I like to buy and will eventually replace.

Those of us who like traditional American outdoor clothing like to buy - why is this hard to understand? - actual traditional American outdoor clothing not some fashion designer's knockoffs that are "inspired by" the real thing. "Inspired by" whether in clothing, cuisine or movies is the kiss of death for most things that are worthwhile.

And as for the 60s traditional sizing per "Take Ivy" being "athletic", puleeeze... Believe me all that stuff was baggy, including the sweat suits that passed for athletic training gear . I know because I wore them then
 

chiamdream

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Guys, I wish I could walk into my local Volvo dealership and buy a new 240DL, but it ain't gonna happen. Just to clarify, I wasn't saying that these companies haven't dropped beloved items over the years, just that they haven't been systematically doing it for the express purpose of launching fashion-forward imprints somewhere down the line. Llbean.com isn't going to direct you to Llbeansignature.com come March. Anyway, that's the last I have to say about it - I hope that my suspicions that this line might be a catalyst for bringing back classic items prove true.
 

Cardinals5

Honors Member
Can someone explain why the new chinos my dad just bought from Bean are better made than my Bill's khakis?


DD - does this look like the model your Dad purchased?


They're the 1912 Chinos, Natural Fit, in 8.5 oz cloth (Bills Originals are also 8.5oz), straight-leg, flat front. These look promising for $29.50.


Okay, I just purchased a pair of the above 1912 Chinos (only long lengths available, which is fine since I'll add a beefy cuff) and I'll write a review when I receive them. If they're nearly as good as Bills this would be a great price.
 
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Doctor Damage

Connoisseur
Cardinals5 said:
DD - does this look like the model your Dad purchased?

They're the 1912 Chinos, Natural Fit, in 8.5 oz cloth (Bills Originals are also 8.5oz), straight-leg, flat front. These look promising for $29.50.


Okay, I just purchased a pair of the above 1912 Chinos (only long lengths available, which is fine since I'll add a beefy cuff) and I'll write a review when I receive them. If they're nearly as good as Bills this would be a great price.
That price sounds right and that is the new model - must be them. I didn't realize the cloth weight was the same as Bills. Anyway, Bean bolts their clothing together as good (or better) than anyone. Folks might lament the demise of their favourite model from 1984, but the fact is that you can spend a lot more and get less than with Bean.
 

Doctor Damage

Connoisseur
Mazama said:
As 127.72 MHz correctly notes LOTS of prior offerings have been purged from the LL Bean catalog.
Those may have been "prior" items but they probably weren't "popular" items. If customers had been buying said items in great quantities, Bean - which is after all a commercial business operation - would have kept those items in their catalogue. Poor sales will kill a product faster than anything. It's not 1984 anymore. Tastes change, even if they don't around here, and companies have to change with them. Unless you'd like to pay Alden prices (and price increases) for your Bean gear?
 

chiamdream

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I wish I'd put this down before. I KNEW this line was our best chance at a higher-quality blucher moc.

https://sartoriallyinclined.blogspot.com/2010/02/first-look-ll-bean-signature-footwear.html

4450LL_TOTH_3647.jpg
 

Cardinals5

Honors Member
Thanks for grabbing that pic of the new Bean models.

I think I'll be getting the Eastport Handsewn Blucher Moc Suede - I'm liking the idea of casual suede bluchers (or should I get the Ranger :confused:).
 

xcubbies

Super Member
In Search of LL Bean, by M.R. Montgomery

Interesting exchange. I recently read the a/m book, which is now quite outdated, but still of interest. Montgomery, who use to be the outdoor sports writer for the Boston Globe, writes about LL, how he came up with the hunting boot and went on to develop the company. The book is fascinating when explaining the Maine hunting scene at the beginning of the 20th Century, where the wealthy came to their Maine camps. These were Bean's clients, not the typical Maine resident who hunted in his work clothing. Montgomery writes about how the catalogue business was developed, and later the philosophical debates about where the company should go as the company expanded well beyond the original clientelle of hunters. Ultimately it was decided that the greatest portential was with selling to women.
The book came out in the 1980s and Montgomery could never have anticipated the current debate and the distance the company has come from its origin. I no longer buy about 90% of my clothing there, but if you go to the hunting and fishing sections in the Freeport store you'll find that the departments are extensive and the sales staff knowledgeable and helpful. Unlike 90 years ago, now the company is in competition with Cabelas, which is just down 95, the Kittery Trading Post and various independent shops that sell fishing gear.
It's curious to see how perspectives change, with talk above of the new models-originally the catalogues just carried photographs of the items, and the items were ordered with forms that referred not to item numbers but the page on which the item appeared in the catalogue, and talk about the fit of clothing for buff city folks.
 
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Youngster

Senior Member
I'm a bit worried. Most of the items available as of now are imported. I would happily pay a markup for a made in the USA barn coat, or other such iconic item. As of now however, this collection just looks like J. Crew. And I like J. Crew, but there is only room for one J. Crew. And unfortunately, since J. Crew has had such explosive success in the last few years, there is already a legion of imitators, not the least of which is the new Lands End Canvas.
If Bean does not have some really serious clothes in this collection they are sunk. It's probably to late for them to get much of that young hip market share and god knows that the old stalwarts won't be buying more expensive versions of the same stuff.
I just want better quality, USA made versions of the plain Khakis and button-ups that they sell for 30 dollars normally. Is that too much to ask?
 

dshell

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
The heritage tote looks pretty good. I wonder if its made in the USA. At that price I'd certainly hope so. (Just followed the link: 'Imported'--this seems to defeat the purpose of exploiting the Americana trend *sigh*).

Like most anything else you'll be able to raid the offerings for a few good pieces


I received mine yesterday. The tote is made in china. I phoned LL Bean to make sure that I wasn't missing something. Quite sad that there is even an embossed signature on a tote now made in china. I hate to join the line of naysayers, but at that price, it really does seem unreasonable.
 

Trip English

Honors Member
I also think it's a missed opportunity. LE Canvas is very plain and relatively inexpensive and in that regard it's riding in J.Crew's slipstream. I also have never thought about LE as a company with a particularly storied heritage beyond quality & service.

LLB Signature seemed like a good opportunity to open up the old catalogs and start bringing back select classics and inventing new ones with quality and provenance as the primary story.

The more that's released the more it really does seem like all flash and no substance without even low pricing to recommend it.
 

Youngster

Senior Member
This really does expose the real problem with the Americana trend. Companies see that guys like Micheal Williams are promoting this heritage look and they have all jumped on the bandwagon while missing everything important about it. I know that ACL is a divisive subject, at least the guy cares about "Made in America." The idea that companies can sell an "American" look while outsourcing all the jobs to China makes me so mad. I just wish that bloggers would call them out on this more often, and I'd say that they have a responsibility to do so.
 
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