First things first, lets be happy that it is still cold outside and we can take full advantage of wearing all of our favorite winter goods. This catalog from 1969 is the convergence of two of my favorite things: nostalgic ephemera and L.L. Bean. This booklet features some choice goods, along with a cover shot of a hunter about strike down Bambi. Safe to say that 2010 Bean is not going to be using cover art like this – but some of these goods are a bit less controversial and have been much more long lasting. That Flotation Jacket sure does look familiar.
Also of note are the two color pages of Bean Boots. All of the shoes featured below look really nice and are surprisingly (or not surprisingly) consistent with what we are seeing from designers these days. And speaking of deer hunting, this catalog is from about the exact time period that the movie of the same name was set. So this is pretty much what I would have been wearing in 1969, if I was alive back then. I suppose I will just have to settle for eBay as my time machine…
Comments on “The Deer Hunter | L.L. Bean c.1969”
Best post so far.
Dear L.L Bean,
Please remake the “Maine Engineering Shoe.”. I’ll be first in line for the release. Even a small price increase from $15.50 will be acceptable.
They currently sell an engineering boot. Slightly different feel to the leather, I’d guess, but still a great boot nonetheless.
I’ve seen those…but they lack a certain “je ne sais quoi” that I can’t quite put my finger on? Must be the difference in leathers.The current one feels more like a “Redwing for L.L Bean” boot…..oh wait…..
That catalog shows me they did (and still are doing) a hell of a lot right. Thanks for sharing.
Sean: It is actually made by Chippewa, but I’d welcome a RW x LLB collaboration.
The Country Walkers are the absolute ace. I’d kill for a chunky oxford that didn’t cost 3 bills and a trip to Japan.
Dear Oh Just Great,
Fear not! Plug into Google, “DieHard Oxford” and the first search result (should be from Sears) will net you a decent Oxford weighing in at about $55. There’s also a “Contractor Oxford” available from Duluth Trading Co., USA-made for about $130, I believe.
If only the bean boots still cost only $20!
Love L.L. Bean. Been shopping from them for more than 20 years. Still have my 20-year-old Maine Hunting Shoes. I can’t wait for their new Signature line, debuting in March.
floatation jacket up on ebay now….
If only everything in their current catalog didn’t say ‘Imported’ in the description…
Those blankets would be about $220 in 2009 $’s. A lot of scratch to dump on a blanket back in the day.
I remember this cover. I’ve really been sad to see LL Bean turn into a normal retailer and lose the country life feel. Declasse, that’s for sure. The products aren’t what they used to be either.
I wrote them when they stopped labeling boots as Maine Hunting Shoes. Now it’s “Bean Boots.” I can’t believe it’s not a concession to anti-hunting feeling. They wrote me back and said they renamed them because that’s what people call them. If that’s true, what a sad comment on the power of polling.
I had a pair of the Ranger Oxfords, bought at a tent sale in the mid-1980s and they were the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever owned. I’ve been trying all sorts of alternatives hoping to find something similar, without luck. Had a pair of the Maine Guide Shoes when I was in the Peace Corps and, uncharacterisically, they ripped at the stitching while they were still quite new. It was impossible to return them to Bean from Central Africa. Otherwise, many good memories.
Actually LLB sells both “Bean Boots” and the “Maine Hunting Shoe” there are some slight differences in the materials and construction.
Jack, good looks on that “DieHard Oxford” search. thanks so much. -m
Does anyone know how the classic Maine hunting shoes run size wise.. large or small. I’m pretty much a straight 9.5 but i heard they run a half size big.. anyone? thanks -m
Nice. I’ve got a 1948 catalog I’ve been meaning to scan, but it’s not in glorious color like this one. And aren’t chamois shirts due for a return? Maybe not “extra full” and deer-drag-worthy.
Here’s what I saw…
“Chuck Ripper” is the artist.
The Hunter is not wearing gloves, or a thermal hat.
His hunting jacket looks tailored.
…and here’s what I thought.
“Why the fuck is everything camo nowadays? I have made a life-long vow against wearing camo while hunting. Now, a pair of camo BDU’s out to a nice dinner with a blue blazer and a pink lacoste shirt and some gucci loafers, a-ok!”
“Deer (Venison) is America’s meat, and has fed many a hungry family for thousands of years. Here’s my current favorite example of “humanizing” animals…
…”a Ted Nugent interview conducted by British journalist Robert Chalmers, for the The Independent on Sunday…
RC-“What do these deer think when they see you coming?” I ask him. ‘Here comes the nice guy who puts out our dinner?’ or ‘There’s the man that shot my brother?'”
TN-“I don’t think they are capable of either of those thoughts, you limey asshole. They’re only interested in three things: the best place to eat, having sex, and how quickly they can run away. Much like the French.”
“What ever happened to the good ol’ days.”
..and Happy New Year!
Matt — here’s the fit guide — but I would also read the reviews on the site to get a feel for customer’s actual experience…
L.L.Bean Boot Fit Information
The fit of the L.L.Bean Boot is generous to allow for insulation in cold weather.
To wear with light or midweight socks: If you wear a whole size, order one size down from your normal size. If you wear a half size, order one and a half sizes down.
Example: If you wear either a 9 or a 9Â½, order a size 8.
To wear with heavyweight socks: If you wear a whole size, order your normal size. If you wear a half size, order the next whole size down.
Example: If you wear either a 9 or a 9Â½, order a size 9.
Maine hunting shoes/bean boots run really big (but not as big w/ thinsulate in them). I normally wear a 11.5-12, but the bean boots I bought were a size 10. I’ve since returned them because water was leaking into the rubber sole (not the leather upper that I waterproofed myself).
The illustrated catalogue cover is charming.
Love those old catalogs. That sportsman bag is awesome.
I did a post a while back on the Maine Hunting Shoe I just wanted to share with you guys. An old photo retrospective of the boot. The notes from L.L. are pretty awesome if you enlarge the pictures. He calls guys out for not sending him letters back and buying his boots.
The 10″ Bean Boot with thinsulate run a full size large as their website says, planned to wear them in the dead of winter with a couple of pair of socks. So I ordered as they say the same size as your foot … if I did it again I would probably order a half a size smaller so I didn’t have that extra 1/4″ with two pairs of socks that i currently have. That being said even with my thinner merrell hiking sock (resulting in the boot being a little over a half a size too large), I can walk in these all day without any rubbing, no blisters despite logging in 5 miles the other day and they are incredibly comfortable. I have only owned mine 3 weeks and the boots have proved to be everything everyone claims they could be.
Excellent post, I love these old catalogs and the engineer boot looks fantastic (I notice the tread is vastly different than the current engineer boot they are offering).
Thanks so much for the input and words of wisdom! I truly appreciate it. -matt
Wow, AMAZING scans!
I love that hunting shoe.
Browsing LL Bean’s site, the maritime windbreaker looks like a nice homage to the flotation jacket. White with the red/blue detail is fantastic.
Doug – I actually called Bean beacuse I wanted to the know the difference between the maine hunting shoe and the bean boot other than the price (the MHS is a tad more expensive) and they couldn’t tell me why. The construction and materials are exactly the same on each.
I found one of those LL Bean Hudson blankets at a flea market a few years ago – paid the 1969 price. V. v. happy about it.
These are great scans. Though some people in the comments have been suggesting that the overall quality of Bean’s goods have been in decline, I feel that they still produce products of greater durability and quality than most. And you often can’t beat the price.
For what it’s worth, I think my Dad still has the same pair of Maine Hunting Shoes (what I now call Bean Boots) from the early 70s – pretty incredible.
You bust your ass and develop a brand. So succesful your reputation precedes you. You charge a fair price and then you die. Your grandson fiddles with everything and caps if off with T.Q.M. in the late 80’s. Without doubt the most fucked up way of doing business ever devised.
Today, there is one objective at LLB. To sell to the hordes. And to identify people stupid enough to pay a premium for hype called Signature.
The book Leon wrote is amazingly honest and I recommend it to anyone who still loves this company despite the fact that it could fuck up an anvil with a rotten banana. Amazing service though and they cheerfully take back anything which, if my experience is any example, they have lots of practice at.
You’re all ridiculous. LL Bean’s goods are still very high quality, especially considering the price point.
jason – A sample of quality: Camp Mocs made by Quoddy (in the 80’s and 90’s) vs Camp Mocs made today in EL Salvador? That’s quality vs crap and I don’t care how cheap it is.
Make sure to take a look at LLB’s new Signature Line debuting this March. The First few items are actually up for pre-order already.
They are doing some really incredible stuff with this new line, including an renewed interest in the return to tradition that a lot of people mentioned. Alex Carleton (of Rogue’s Gallery, Portland) is the lead designer and has some really spectacular concepts. One of the major themes of this new line is taking sartorial quotes from archived Bean items that have been popular in the past. From what i’ve seen, it’s going to be a really unique update of this unbelievable classic brand, offering some great new stuff without straying far from their traditional, timeless style. I’m a big Bean fan.
Make sure and check this stuff out, I think it’s going to be great.
Tintin – just because something’s not made in the USA does note make it crap. Sorry to burst your bubble.
CHC – thanks for the dated news
jason-this is a blog, don’t get so bent out of shape by the friendly banter; although we’re all extraordinarily impressed by your clear expertise in the realm of ephemera like this.
Jason – Bean used Quoddy to make the Camp Mocc for years. I assume they went to off shore manuf in El Slavador to make more $. I may be wrong. You should check out the difference. And while I hate to assume you wouldn’t know of Bean’s quality back in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s – – my point was most people in the US do not recognise quality hence the entire garment industry has left the US while the profit margins have soared. You didn’t burst my bubble – LL Bean did.
Tin – The reason LL Bean abandoned manufacturers like Quoddy and domestic production was not to create a higher profit margin, but to maintain affordable pricing. I have a pair of Quoddy oxfords (same style as the LL Bean bluchers you speak of), and while the quality is great, it comes at a very high price point ($250/pair). I’ve worn them a decent amount over the past 6 months, and already stitching is beginning to come loose/fray, and the leather has not retained its initial luster/suppleness.
I remember going through the LL Bean catalog with my grandma and grandpa. Then, they would remark on how expensive it was. Thinking like that led to Walmart easily invading small towns. But, my grandpa did order things, one time a par of shoes. He wore them twice, put them back in the box. 7 years later he decided to return them. They took them back, no problem. Can’t wait for the LL Bean Signature line to be revealed!
Jason- Leon was happy with a profit margin of 37 %. What do you think the LLB margin is today? a)100%? B)200%? C)400%?
You got an issue with your Q’s you should send ’em back asap.
The Hudson’s Bay Co blankets are still for sale and start at $275Cdn for twin size: http://store.hbc.com/hudson-s-bay-company-collection/catgifts-cathbccollection-p1.html
My grandparents still use their HBC four-point which they received as a wedding gift in the 1950s.
Love the cover of this vintage catalogue!
all i want to know is, where do i get my plaid wool hunting pants like on the cover?!
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