|Getting the right fit was more direct when you sent in a tracing of your foot, as I did for the pair on the right back in 1977.|
1. I was thinking of buying a pair of the classic L.L. Bean boots for the winter; I haven't owned any before. I generally wear a size 8 1/2 shoe, and the catalog says if you wear a half size to go a size down for the boots. Have you/anyone you know found this to be accurate? Thank you.
I have found them to be all over the place with their sizing and it depends on which style you are ordering . Certainly their advice was on target when I purchased my 10" Gore-Tex/Thinsulate boots. I usually wear a 9½ so I ordered the 9 and they were perfect. This was not the case with the Rubber Mocs. They were much too small and only after four iterations did I settle on a size that frankly, still isn't right. I also tried a size 9 in the Wool-Lined Zip Boot but that too was much too small, so I am now in the process of ordering the 10.
2. Hi Muffy, I hope this email finds you well. I need your knowledgeable assistance for finding the right item. I have been looking for a quality leather weekend duffle bag for some time but I haven't had any luck. It is increasingly hard to find companies that make simple quality fine leather products. I need a nice leather bag for traveling on weekends or as a nice carry-on bag. The only catch is that I really don't want to spend much more than $300, so we're not talking Ghurka here!
I have yet to come across a high quality leather duffle bag at a reasonable price. One of the nicest ones I have found (but at almost $1,000.00) is from Lotuff & Clegg. They are made in Massachusetts, and are beautiful, especially in Tan or Chestnut. I think $300.00 can buy a high quality US-made canvas/twill bag from places like Filson.
|Barbour Bedale Wax in Navy|
My first thought is a Barbour waxed cotton jacket, either the Bedale or the Beaufort. (The Bedale is a bit shorter.) I have found mine to be superb at blocking the wind, and with the addition of a liner it serves a good cold weather jacket. Although I have both the olive and the navy (and really cannot say which I prefer), I would think that the navy might have an ever so slightly "dressier" appearance for the conferences to which you refer. Another option that comes to mind is a wool duffle coat. Gloverall makes the quintessential version but there are others as well.
|Vermont Originals Hat|
4. Hi Muffy, I was looking at the newest L.L.Bean catalog that just arrived and noticed a new item, Birdseye hats. And I was wondering, do you think that they are as good as the sweaters? I am looking for a hat that is really warm and will last for many years. Thanks in advance for anything you might come up with.
I gave this item a bit more scrutiny, prompting a call to L.L. Bean for more information. Whenever I see phrases like “inspired by our popular sweaters” and "imported" (without a specific country listed) used by companies, I tend to look a little more closely. The “popular sweaters” are for me a must-have item and worth the price tag of $129.00. They are thick, warm and made in Norway. The hats, however, are made in China. And although they were unable to give me a fabric weight, they appear to be thinner. In my opinion, at roughly 30% of the cost of the sweater, they are not worth the price. Reading the L.L. Bean catalog these days is like reviewing a contract - where, for example, "from our archives" often enought means "modern interpretations" made in China.
Instead I would take a look at a hat from Vermont Originals. For the same amount of money you get a thick, warm hat, handcrafted on small looms in Vermont kitchens by local knitters and home sewers. I have worn Vermont Originals for years, and funnily enough, purchased my first one at the Freeport L.L. Bean store, back when they still sold items from branded vendors made in New England.
|As of today, I am still wearing my summer khakis; I prefer a longer inseam when I switch to wearing socks (here with Bear, a Maremma Sheepdog).|
We all wear khakis year round, but I think it should depend on hue, fabric weight, and weave. For men, a lighter Khaki or Stone would be more preferable in the warmer months especially in a lighter weave like a poplin.
6. Ivy Style's Christian Chensvold wrote: I was just on your site looking at your cotton cable knits. So 'fess up: How many sweaters total?
Here is the count:
- Ralph Lauren cotton cable - 43
- Ralph Lauren lambswool - 14
- L.L. Bean Ragg Wool - 14
- L.L. Bean Birdseye - 27
- Lilly Pulitzer - 14
- Aran and Misc. - 25