Monday, December 28, 2009


A small part of the jackets and chore coats collection.Goes from the 1910's to the 50's.Can't get enough of that indigo feel and patina...
WW2 army shades :OD3,OD7 and HBT..........
Another shot of "the vault" showing some others denim lover's favorites ........

Why oh why,have i found myself buying over and over the same kind of vintage!?? Is this a quest for the perfect item,or am i just an obsessive compulsive buyer!? I just think ,that over the years ,my taste for vintage has evolved.In fact i went from your hardcore over the top rockabilly craziest patterns wearing fan ,to an easier going be-bop lovin' hep cat .... Nowadays i sort of fluctuate between mixing styles on lazy days and full early 20th century attire,depending the mood that is......

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


The original 1953 US NAVY VA 155 patch .....
In 1959 changes in the patch's design were made: a rocker,baring the squadron's name and two stripes behind the skull were added ....
Who's Smitty !!?.......
The 50's N4.....

Straight from the vault, another N4 jacket.Even if identical in every detail to a regulation ww2 one,this jacket is most likely from the late 50's early 60's .i was able,more or less accurately,to date this piece as its squadron was very active during the Korean and vietnam conflicts .I will spare you the details but basically this famous US NAVY attack squadron[ VA 155 ]was activated in 1948 the "skull and cobra" baring patch, was first approved in 1953 and transformed to the actual one,as seen on the above jacket,in 1959.As the N4 was superseded by the A2 in the 60's this places our discovery in the later part of the 50's.....One would like to think it was worn by a pilot right !?? well !! it was most likely by a NAVY "deck ape"

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Detail of the riveted leather....
I wish i had the original lock to go with ......
Back of the bag showing RAF stencils......
Front view revealing the plastic covered "tag holder".......
HERMES canvas and leather Birkin bag strangely similar ....

I've recently acquired this great "tote bag". After a quick research,i've been able to confirm what i've suspected from the beginning: It was a ww1 to early ww2 ROYAL AIR FORCE bag.It might have been used to carry some "secret documents" [as opposed to regular mail], as it features an heavy brass lock pad to secure its content.The leather parts are strongly riveted to the heavy canvas covered with RAF stencils.It's fun to compare this,hundred and something years old bag ,with an Hermes one.Was the famous French brand inspired by it or what !?...I'll let you be the judge.

Monday, November 30, 2009


Barthelemy Spertino 1953 in Algiers.....

On my mother's side of the family Barthelemy Mathias Pierre Spertino ,my grandfather,son of a proud Italian immigrant has always been more of a "dapper Dan" kinda guy than a "mauvais garcon",as his idols were more like Clark Gable and Jean Sablon than Jean Gabin .Speaking of Jean Sablon,the first french crooner and perhaps the original "velvet fog",i've always thought he was its spitting image .... you'll be the judge [check the above video]

Monday, November 23, 2009


Algiers 1930 my grandfather Michel Segui and friends at work straight out of a Chaplin's movie
The Apache ,was the style "en vogue" among men in the first part of the 20th century.Thanks in part,to actors such as Jean Gabin the bad boy of his time .Apaches were Parisian hoodlums, living of gambling,prostitution and petty thefts.They spent most of their time in cafes and "bal musette"where they found easy preys [read women].Their "tools of the trade"were switch blades,brass knuckles and small custom made pocket revolvers.Their uniform,a large colorful and slightly tilted cap,a neckerchief and a sailor's shirt or tank top .....and,i've almost forgotten "le clop" [ the very important cigarette].
Around 1939 in Tunisia with the 4TH Zouaves regiment .He was one of only 2 surviving soldiers, as his entire battalion was,after fierce fighting,decimated by the German .

Today's post will mostly be about pictures ,as they speak by themselves......right !? Thanks to my dad,i was able to get my hands on some great pictures of my grandfather in Algiers back in 1930 .Typical style of the "everyday people" back then and quite stylish nowadays i might say.

Monday, November 9, 2009

THE SIMPLER THE BETTER....Talking about work boots

Ads from a post war sears catalogues.Surplus were plentiful so prices were lowered.....
Nice pair of horsehide work boots with cork sole .A classic look brought back to life by brands such as Redwing and Lonewolf with an insane price tag .I'd rather hunt for a good pair of vintage.

ways been a fan of simplicity and this goes for footwear too .Nothing speaks to me like a beautiful pair of work boots looking good with either, a pair of denims ,cords, chinos or even wool pants .That's why,while on the prowl,i always favor straight lines and colors .today's post will feature one of my favorite pair of horsehide 40's boots .They have that timeless style that still inspires today's designers .Rationing was probably the biggest influence on wartime footwear in the United States Britain and France. The U.S. government at the time conserved leather and rubber among other precious materials for the war effort. The fashion industry was then asked to promote styles that would remain in fashion for a long time, releasing factory space for wartime endeavours. Basically shoppers were"told" to buy high quality clothing and shoes of simple and versatile styles that would last the duration of the war.With the rationing brought upon by the war only leather not suitable for army boots were used for civilian shoe manufacture. Canvas and heavy cottons began to be used for uppers too . Cork and cord were used to make soles mixed with recycled rubber.In Britain clothes were rationed from 1941 to1949 and rubber soles were banned in 1942. In the United States, people were limited to two new pairs of shoes a year. The soles were thinner, and for sports shoes soles were made of plastic or reclaimed rubber. In occupied France, leather shoes could not even be purchased. All shoes were wooden-soled, with uppers of string or fabric.Lucky us the wooden soles were to be "articulated" to ease the pain.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Just found this picture of a 1918 cutter's tag ,sewn on a ww1 dead stock jumper .As i've previously mentioned there was ,to my knowledge,no "official marking" of any kind prior to the late 30's on any US navy enlisted men's clothing. so i guess this is a rare example right !!??

Monday, November 2, 2009

FLAPPERS AND SAILORS....A seaman's scrapbook

The sailor's scrapbook ,untouched ,just the way it was found.............
His sweet heart !??

Gotta love the 20's Louise Brooks hair style.........
Sam's got your back .......nothing has changed.

Nice rendition of the old pea coat.......
Sailors and flappers........

Let's stray away,for once ,from our usual topic: The vintage clothes...Any how ,you'll find today's post in some ways connected of course .While on my weekly hunting trip at my favorite flea market,i try not to limit myself and just look for specific items.Old papers,books ,photos,you name it, i dig them all.That's how,few years ago while emptying an old cardboard box, i came upon this small "note book".It was coming apart and covered with dust and "cheese clothe like" fabric.A sailor's scrapbook from the mid 20's ,that's what it was.A slice of a seaman's life in the 20's.A glance at an overlooked era of what was life in the navy back then.Your average "flea market scrapbook" is all about valentines ,victorian cut outs,or even movie stars.This one is mostly about cartoons and sailor's poetry .....Unusual indeed

Sunday, October 25, 2009

GENERIC VS BRAND NAMES ...Depression era's work clothes generic buttons

Here's a standard selection of metal buttons from the depression era.Often found on light weight denim clothes[overalls, shirts or jackets] .What we nowadays ,call "cat's eye buttons " were called back then "fish eye buttons".
Celluloid ,bakelite or plastic these were commonly found shapes and colors on 20's/30's work clothes.
Your perfect combo for a chambray shirt .....bakelite ,bone or even wood ,you've got them all......
The standard style for your beloved chinos.A khaki's favorite .
A "dressier" alternative for khaki and olive drab shades .Perfect for your span-am or ww1 impression .
These buttons were often found on old 20's /30's hutting jackets
An original "bachelor" button fron the 30's ...Read the 1934's Sears ad bellow

Sign of the times,or just pure coincidence!!?? The great depression is"back with a vengeance".Speakeasies ,bangs, flappers and distressed looks are in demand,back in our streets and on the racks of trendy stores.Brands such as RRL ,post o'alls ,engineered garments to say the least,are without mercy copying their forerunners.So it's not surprising to see anything remotely old nowadays,advertised on EBAY as being from the 20's/30's.As a follow up to my former post on the subject,i've decided to showcase some of the most often encountered [brand less] generic buttons from that era .Hoping that'll help you not to be taken for a ride ,when hunting for the real deal at your local flea market......good luck !!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


The essence of cool i'd say.Paul and steve were the ultimate cats no doubt about it.From the moment i've seen this picture ,i've always wanted to get my hands on one of these....go figure!!This picture was taken in 1956 by Sanford Roth during the filming of "somebody up there likes me" a movie about the famous boxer Rocky Graziano.It will put Paul Newman on the map and make him an instant star.

OL' SALTY the saga of one N1 deck jacket ....Navy-ism part4

"Ol' salty" on a San Francisco's dock.I've found it at a local flea market.
The stencil tells its story,that is if you know how to read them.Here we have a real ww2 N1 who's owner was a crew member onboard the USS SPERRY [ AS12] .The ship was launched in december of 1941 in California.The AS12 was a submarine tender .Tenders were ships able to support,supply and even fix submarines at sea,as the were equipped with workshops.In that case,the jacket's owner was assigned to USS 227 ,aka DARTER.The DARTER was a submarine launched on june 1943 .It sank 3 Japanese ships during its 1944 campaign,but was grounded on a reef ,while pursuing a damaged Japanese cruiser.Efforts to get the submarine off the shoal failed so it was abandoned to the elements .
Frontal view of a "clean" N1.The contract # on the tag,tells us it's from around september 1944.I've been asked many times what the NXSX prefix means .Well!! i'll try to make it simple... N-is for naval.XS-is the designation for the bureau of supplies and accounts.The bureau that oversees all contracting bureaus ,such as,Aeronautics,Ordonance and so on ....The last designation represents the cognizant bureau which account is X represents the bureau of supplies and accounts .In this case NXSX means the bureau of supplies and accounts awarded itself a it !!?
Was harry in the navy !!?? Close up of the special cord fabric .
Gotta love the patina .

Today's post showcases 2 examples of the same jacket : the N1 US navy deck jacket .As the longest serving jacket in US navy history,the N1 is probably the most beloved and copied piece of clothing,maybe second only to the pea coat.The N1 jacket first appeared in 1944 and is the result of numerous changes and lessons learned from 2 years of warfare under the most challenging conditions.The result is a perfect piece of garment, perhaps the ultimate cold weather jacket .the N1 served navy men up until the 60's,when stock were exhausted and it was superseded by the A-2.Needless to say that the older it gets the better it looks,as wear and tears ad to its character. Just look at the 2 jackets pictured above .Both are from ww2 .One is almost dead stock from the early part of 1944 and the other "has been there and done that".

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

IT'S THE N4 .......the ww2 us navy field jacket .navy-ism part 3

On the beaches of Normandy in june 1944 .beach battalion's personnel wearing their self customized jackets ,helmets and overalls.......
The N4 us navy field jacket with its special white stencil in the back
Front view of the standard factory applied usn stencil
The N4 is darker and cut slimmer than the M41 .No epaulets and back straps.
ww2 conmar zipper
What's left of the original tag ........

Today i'll talk about the N4 us navy field jacket,you know...... the jacket every wanna be expert calls the navy m41 by lack of information.Well!! today's post will feature a special N4 from ww2.i started to collect in the early eighties and back then only strove to get items in the best condition main source was the Clignancourt fleamarket in Paris where this jacket was found.that day i was on the look out for a descent M41 but didn't get a "clean" one because they were even back then hard to get.So i've decided to settle for the NAVY version even if there was a stencil in the back. back in the days i was ,stupid me, passing on anything with writings, stencils ,drawings and so on .i should have known better right !?anyway that day i've changed my mind ... lucky me .after few years of collecting and reading i've discovered the significance of the markings on the back of the jacket .back in june 1944 in order to have navy shore parties not being mistaken for their army counter parts on the beaches of Normandy ,Navy personnel, were asked to mark all of their gears with a wide USN .So asap ,helmets and jackets were self customized and as a result variations were plentiful as can be.Today though they are as rare as can be .Real us navy d day items are rare and i'll cherish that trove as long as i can .

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Just a quick post as i could not resist to share that newly acquired picture of a pipe smocking sailor proudly wearing his 1943 deck jacket .....

Monday, October 5, 2009


As promissed to my friend Gregg,here's a little addition to the former post .we will prove here,that not all navy buttons were created equals. if you need to restore a vintage navy uniform,you need to be aware of this .Differences in materials and designs,even if not obvious to most of us,do exist.Pictured above,from left to right, is a small sample of them.The first one,from civil war area,is made of rubber.In 1839 Goodyear,secured a patent for vulcanisation.It was a process using extreme heat and sulfur along with hard rubber to form the final product.Details were often crude .The second button,dates from ww1 and was made of celluloid .It was a material created at first as a substitute for ivory or wood .Celluloid buttons first appeared around 1897 and can nowadays,be widely seen featured in old SEARS and ROEBUCK catalogues .These buttons were extremely fragile and often break.Look how thin and detailed the anchor is on that example. Last ,but not least, the first stage of the button we all know .This button dates from the early part of ww2 and is made of bakelite .Bakelite became very popular and stylish about the 40's and 50's and is easily detectable as it produces a fresh worm feel,as opposed to plastic .Later,during the war ,plastic will be the final material of choice.