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Hoo boy. We try our best to wax philosophical on here about important life instances when the situation so demands, but man. Moms? There’s not much we can say that you don’t already know. The woman birthed you, bathed you—and for many of you, babied you well into your 30s. The least you can do is buy her a present and give her a call (CALL YOUR MOM, FOR PETE’S SAKE) this Mother’s Day—which happens to be this Sunday, May 11. But you knew that already. Right?

Do you know what would really make her day, though? Digging up some old photos and reminiscing with her—as several of our Nordstrom HQ colleagues were kind enough to do here. Keep reading for our collection of throwback photos, plus gift tips for every kind of mom.

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Whoever coined the phrase “Never look back” clearly hadn’t heard of Grayers, a brand firmly rooted in the fact that inspiration is everywhere—especially in the past.

Keep reading to see the the vintage gems (from a 40-foot boat to a Japanese blanket) that sparked four key items for spring 2014—as selected, shot, and discussed by Grayers creative director Kenny Thomas.

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As proud as we are to have Nordstrom’s hometown of Seattle represented in this year’s Super Bowl, we have to admit: The Seahawks couldn’t ask for a more worthy adversary than the Denver Broncos and their legendary leader, 13-time Pro-Bowl quarterback Peyton Manning. Our favorite thing about Manning? Despite being extraordinarily competitive on the field, he happens to be totally hilarious when he’s off the clock.

Keep reading to see classic photos from throughout Peyton Manning’s illustrious football career—from the University of Tennessee Volunteers to the Indianapolis Colts to the Denver Broncos—plus our favorite clips of his other true calling: comedy.

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Reflecting on the rough weather thus far in 2014, and our New Year’s resolution to get some fresh air in spite of it, we decided to take a closer look at one of our favorite outdoor brands: The North Face.

You probably know that The North Face protects you from frigid conditions so that you can enjoy all manner of al fresco pursuits—from extreme sports to a corner-store beer run—in comfort and style. You might also guess that the brand has outfitted explorers, researchers, and daredevils on journeys to the furthest (and highest) reaches of the planet, from the Arctic Circle to Mount Everest. But did you know The North Face’s roots reach back to 1960s San Francisco, and that The Grateful Dead helped launch the brand’s first store?

Keep reading to learn more about The North Face’s nearly five-decade history of counterculture, innovation and environmentalism.

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With temperatures plummeting and our Snow Shop open for business, we can think of no better way to set the stage for ski season than to gaze upon the stunning, strange, retro-futuristic glory of perhaps our favorite piece of Nordstrom memorabilia of all time. Behold, WinterSki ’77-’78: Saga of Light.

Continue reading for more skis in space, naked people modeling eyewear, and cryptic quotations. (Sample: “We drifted, transported through the essence, nearly weightless.” Huh? Long live the late ’70s.)

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French singer, songwriter, poet, composer, artist, actor and director Serge Gainsbourg was kind of like the Kanye West of his time—you know, a creative genius. A jack of many trades. A genre-hopping musician, both in the spotlight and behind the scenes. His lyrics utilized styles of wordplay that would make most rappers (and even self-described word-nerd copy editors—we checked) scratch their heads. (Mondegreen? Spoonerism? Check Gainsbourg’s Wikipedia page for definitions.)

Gainsbourg also managed to sweep some of the best-known bombshells of the 1960s and ’70s off their feet. Check out his 1968 ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ duet with then-ladyfriend Brigitte Bardot above, for example. The song is based on a poem entitled The Trail’s End, written by Bonnie Parker herself just weeks before her Depression-era crime spree with Clyde Barrow came to a grisly end. Gainsbourg’s apparent fascination with American culture is interesting—especially as we find ourselves paying homage to all things French, with our limited-time French Fling Pop-In Shop. (And, as Monsieur West is zealously requesting croissants and collab’ing with minimalist French label A.P.C.)

Below, find some favorite photos of Gainsbourg and guests—all via the essential repository for all things vintage and jaw-dropping: The Impossible Cool.


Perhaps he was not classically handsome. And legend has it that he passed out drunk after taking Jane Birkin to some questionable venues on their first date. But what Gainsbourg lacked in other areas, he made up for in his keen ability to wear a suit like he was born in it. Check out those fitted shoulders, wide lapels, and devil-may-care shirt collar.


Brigitte Bardot, Gainsbourg’s partner in crime in the song above, cleaned up pretty nice, too.


…But who wore it best? Invented in England, perfected by the French—Gainsbourg makes a trench coat look almost as good as Bardot. Note his expert use of accessories: gloves, smoke, icy stare.


Not a bad run: After breaking up with Bardot, Gainsbourg rebounded with English singer/actress Jane Birkin—but’s that’s a whole other story. Here, he rocks the “jacket-as-cape” look about 40 years before the current crop of street-style stars attempted it.

 

SHOP: FRENCH FLING POP-IN SHOP
READ MORE: FRENCH-THEMED ARTICLES

Leave it to The Selvedge Yard—online repository of all things vintage, virile, and generally badass—to sum up today’s Fourth of July holiday in one perfect image. Visit The Selvedge Yard for more Marilyn Monroe, and check out our tribute to TSY, from last Independence Day, here.

Beware the bad kind of danger today—and cheers to the good kind.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard some amazing stories and seen some wild photos (ranging from ’70s comical to ’50s cool). All that’s left to do now is open some presents, rent Dad an all-day Schwarzenegger (or Kubrick—whatever he’s into) marathon from the local video store, and celebrate the men who taught us how to live, love, laugh, swim, ride motorcycles, get into and out of trouble, and grow mustaches.

Enjoy our final round of photos from Nordstrom HQ colleagues below, and check back on past Vintage Dad Pics for more good vibes: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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Photos above courtesy of Jon Jones, Photographer, of his dad Dudley.


They Were With the Band. “Until my parents had kids, my dad’s main source of income came via drumming in various Pacific Northwest garage rock-era bands. (My parents met at a concert in their hometown of Longview, WA; my dad’s 6-foot-4 and says he noticed my 6-foot-tall mama standing a head above the other ladies in the crowd.) Dad’s a giant nerd with talents for math and minutiae, which made him both an excellent drummer and an excellent band manager—he did a great job of booking shows, divvying up the pay, making sure the musicians didn’t get ripped off by the venues, etc. Here he is in the Furys [sic] in the early ’60s, repping some sweet mod style.”
—Meg Van Huygen, Proofreader


They Served with Pride (And Looked Good Doing It). “My mom’s dad was a Navy pilot in the Pacific during WWII. This was taken around 1942, when he was training at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, CA. He was always a pretty well-dressed gentleman—clearly something that started at a young age.”
—Laura Oxford, Men’s Features Writer


They Knew How to Accessorize. “This pic was taken by my mom in 1971 in Racine, Wisconsin. I was incredulous (and proud) to discover that my dad once looked like a roadie for Black Sabbath. Don’t let the mean mug fool you, though—I couldn’t have asked for a better role model. Love you, dad!”
—Brian Lodis, Web Designer

 

 
They Helped Us Understand Our Past.
Top Left: “My grandpa (mom’s dad) giving a toast at my parents’ engagement party. It’s Chinese tradition that we drink strong white-rice wine at any formal party. Everyone sits in the round table and takes turns toasting each other.”

Top Right: “My dad, the one with black frames, at the engagement party. Men didn’t do the proposing in Taiwan back then. Engagement was a formal affair involving a formal dinner between the two families and special guests.”

Center: “My grandpa (mom’s dad under the red arrow). Two of his best friends in college married my grandma’s sisters. They all got transferred to Taiwan with the Chinese air force and they all lived in the same military village. This big family picture was taken at Chinese New Year, when it was the only time everyone gets new clothes.”

Bottom Left: “My grandpa (dad’s dad) was definitely a character. His family was in the seafood business and he was first in the family to have higher education. He was born in 1908 during the Qing Dynasty with queue hairstyle. He used to tell me he cried for days when his mom cut his braided pigtail. During the war, he was a secret agent for the Nationalist government and started an underground newspaper against the Chinese Communist Party. He had extreme interests from everything such as Chinese painting, calligraphy, poetry, writing, magic tricks, and the most amazing thing for us as kids was his Kung Fu. He was a well-known Kung Fu master (too bad that we didn’t learn anything from him) and he specialized in pushing hands and Tai Chi. Up into his 80s, he was able to do 100 one-handed push-ups every morning.”

Bottom Right: “My parents’ wedding photo. I was told that my dad was a serious trend follower. He always had the coolest haircut and Ray-Ban sunglasses even when he was in the military.”
—Gloria Chen, Senior Graphic Designer


They Stuck to Their Guns. “Christmas Day, 1975. My dad is a classic Texan, into guns, race cars (Corvettes, specifically) and fine-looking ladies. He had a stand made for that rifle and powderhorn, which doubled as a fashionable floor lamp. Three wives attempted to banish the lamp over the years, and eventually someone broke into my dad’s house and stole it. I suspect his fourth wife hired one of the neighbor kids to do the deed.”
—Amy Leigh Morgan, Features Writer


They Traveled the World. “This photo is circa 1973-74 in Iran. My grandparents lived there for 3 years while my grandpa worked as an architect who designed the town of Arya-Shahr, while my grandma worked as a translator.”
—Nini Gabunia, Digital Image Editor


They Acted a Fool. “I was not actually here, but just a glimmer in my Daddy’s eye. My family was at a picnic in a park in Portland, my Dad went to go get the picnic umbrella to put up, and this was the result. I think it was the early ‘60s. I love this pic because this is in essence how my Dad really isfun, funny and loves to spend time with his family. We often joke that he’s an 18-year-old stuck in an 83-year-old body. I have a feeling if we gave him a picnic umbrella today, he would reenact the same pose!”
—Sharon Kitashima, Internet Producer


They Had a Need for Speed. “Bakersfield Bandits motorcycle team, 1976. My dad, Steve Nutter [far right] raced speedway for many years and still rides for fun today.”
—Tess Nutter, Internet Producer



They Had Great Hair—and Even Greater Stories.
Top Left: “My parents still have that woodland-scene wallpaper, which I’m jealous of. My mom laughed that this was my dad still in bachelor-pad mode (note the wooden wire-spool used as a TV stand).”

Top Right: “Yes, my dad rocked a perm back in the day. Don’t knock it, though—my mom said it’s one of the reasons she wanted to date him back then. That, and his denim jacket with jeans combo, dark shades, and the Beamer didn’t hurt either. Also digging that bicycle-print shirt—Dad, do you still have that one?

Bottom: “Here’s what my dad had to say about his dad:
‘My father was born in 1909 and moved to the California oil fields when he was a year old. His days were filled with walks of many miles to school, maintaining a collection of animal traps, selling animal pelts and newspapers after school, and participating in BB gun wars with other oil-field children. He was always an amazing athlete: Thanks to a track and football scholarship, he was the first in his family to attend college—and I don’t think he lost a foot race in his life, until Jesse Owens beat him at the trials for the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

“‘Fishing and hunting were life-long passions, and he was always willing to help other sportsmen with suggestions—or with fish and game if they came up empty and needed food for their table (or for bragging). That’s me looking over his shoulder in the photo (circa 1950), and those fish were from a river where others were happy to score a 12- or 14-inch rainbow trout.’”
—Justin Abbott, Senior Editor, Men’s Shop Daily

Shop all Father’s Day Gifts on Nordstrom.com.

The past few weeks, in honor of Father’s Day, we’ve been paying homage to the inspiring, handsome, and oftentimes hilarious patriarchs in our lives—by collecting vintage dad and grandpa photos from our colleagues here at Nordstrom HQ. So far, we’ve seen dads doing everything from getting hitched and riding camels to rocking ‘staches and taking home trophies. Today we’re keeping the streak alive with yet more bespectacled, long-haired, paisley-clad dads. Check back Sunday morning, Father’s Day, for our final installment.

As far as the all-important Dad’s Day gift—first things first: Let the man sleep in. Once he does roll out, place a steaming cup of joe in one of his paws, and the TV remote in the other. (A hug and/or a little shiatsu action wouldn’t hurt either.) Yes, you should buy him something nice, too; it’s a bit late for shipping, but for selected items, you can Buy Online, Pick Up In Store. Or just swing by a Nordstrom near you for tons of ties, wallets, watches, and other great options—find ideas here: GIFTS FOR DAD.

In the meantime, join us as we once again ponder: Why are dads so cool?

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[Above]: They Put Mad Men to Shame. “This is my father-in-law. He’s been a huge inspiration because of his successful career, including being behind the scenes to ‘build’ the Nordstrom brand as architect for the first Nordstrom Racks, and the boutique store in Manhattan. Best thing about this image is that he still has the glasses, and my husband is eyeing them to be re-glassed for himself!”
—Sarah Huntley, Senior Digital Image Editor



They Were Good Guys…With a Wild Streak. “These photos were taken while my parents were dating in 1965, after meeting each other working at a factory that made bicycle seats in Tennessee. Both were from extremely small towns and my dad would borrow my grandfather’s car to drive the hour to see my mom on her parent’s farm (the dog was her little sister’s). Being one of five boys, he was surprisingly very low-key and polite—but he did like to race, and my grandfather’s car took the brunt of it.”
—Clayton Joyner, Digital Image Tech 


They Taught us Stuff. “Near Atlantic City (long before the casinos). We rented a house on the beach for a few summers when I was little. He taught me how to swim there. (His math books are back at the blanket.)”
—Claudia Anastasio, Digital Marketing Copywriter


They Were Born Romantics. “My parents met in the 7th grade at the American Overseas School of Rome, Italy. This is my dad in Rome in the early ’70s. I would imagine Todd Rundgren was playing in the background when this photograph was taken. (They got married to this song.)”
—Sean Dutton, Motion Graphics Designer



They Dreamed Big. “Aside from a voracious appetite, I also inherited from my dad a disciplined sartorial dogma and unquenchable thirst to commit memory to film. That being said, he also really, really, really enjoyed being in front of the camera—a tendency to which I can’t relate. Notoriously illegible penmanship or not, he meticulously documented a lot of his old photographs (the red and black scrawl seems to indicate a childhood address/neighborhood, name and date—’67). Dad always embraced and exemplified a ’70s sense of immigrant Americana (having moved from Korea to Denver around that time)—muscle cars, road trips, bell bottoms, tireless work ethic, so on and so forth. And though he passed when I was teenager, the things that made him awesome (like his aesthetic splendor) still live on.”
—Mona Lee, Product Copywriter


They Dressed to the Nines. “This is my grandfather. It was taken in Belgium, late 1800s. He was born September 7, 1876, and died here in the US in 1941. We know this was taken before arriving in the US in 1910. How amazing were the clothes back then?”
—Ann Morrow, Photographer


They Did It All. “This is in ’76, one of my parents’ first Christmases in their new house in Medina, after they moved from Fort Polk, Louisiana, where he was stationed as a doctor in the army, taking care of soldiers training for Vietnam. My dad pretty much did it all—athlete, honor student, track star, doctor—even a great sense of style.”
—Deidre Crawford, Features Writer


They Knew How to Tie the Knot (…Seriously, Check Out at That Knot).  “This is my grandfather’s wedding picture. I know it’s post WWII, but I’m not positive on the year. He was so dapper and has the best stories (like giving people 15-minute airplane rides around the airport for $1, just because he liked to fly!). Funny enough, his retro clothes are back in style…He’s in a Penguin polo and slim trousers almost every time I see him.”
—Lindsey Bollinger, Men’s Accessories Assistant Buyer


They Were in The Velvet Underground. “When John Cale left The Velvet Underground in 1968, my dad (third from the left with the saucy hip jut) was asked to join, partly because he could play bass well and partly because he was a Pisces—so ’60s, right? They immediately went on tour—think dive bars, they were NOT famous at the time—and ended up in LA to record their third record (he sings one of my favorite songs on that record: ‘Candy Says’). I love this photo because when people think of The Velvets, it’s often the Nico/Warhol-era lineup (with Cale), where the band is always wearing dark sunglasses and head-to-toe black. This photo is the polar opposite. Velvet bell-bottoms? Crazy wallpaper-print shirts? And the setting is so nature-y. Everything is in contrast to the NYC cool that most people associate them with.”
—Jenny Yule, Features Writer 


They Knew the Basics: Fedoras and Football.
Left: “This is Grandpa Dean, circa 1950/1951. He worked at a hotel in New Orleans, but moved to Philadelphia with my Grandma in ’51, just before she gave birth to twins (my dad and aunt)!”
Right: “My Grandpa Todd (my mom’s dad), all dressed up in his high-school football uniform. He played for his school in Greenwich, CT, and graduated in ’34, so we’re guessing this picture is probably from ’32 or ’33.”
—Alli Dean, Studio Technician


They Wore the Pants. “My dad’s always taken pride in presenting himself well; even for family events like this (pre-Kristyn) Fourth of July picnic, he wants to look put together (though I’m very confused about the long pants choice on an Ohio summer day). I’m personally digging  his aviators, and enjoying my older brother’s ‘Wait, you didn’t just see that, did you?’ look.”
—Kristyn Asseff, Proofreader


They Were Ahead of the Printed-Shirt Trend. “This is my dad growing up in rural Minnesota, in a little town in the SW called Jackson. He looks about 9 or 10, so it’s probably around 1950. The shirt is awesome. What can I say? Lucky [i.e., the horseshoes].”
—Christina Libertini, Senior Video Art Director

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Father’s Day is this Sunday!
Get ideas of what you can find in-store here:
FATHER’S DAY GIFTS

And check back Sunday morning for
our final installment of Vintage Dad Pics.

The universe is a weird place. Just yesterday, we found ourselves debating the merits of Kubrick vs. Schwarzenegger here at Nordstrom HQ. That very night, listlessly cruising our Tumblr dashboard, we serendipitously stumbled upon two pieces of evidence that just might sway the debate.

The first is a collection of photos depicting director Stanley Kubrick on the set of his abstract, enigmatic 1968 sci-fi epic 2001: A Space Odyssey. The film itself is dense, difficult (if not impossible) to decipher, and moves at a snail’s pace. It’s also breathtakingly beautiful to look at, and unflinchingly original to the point that it could be considered on par with the works of Beethoven or Picasso. (Read an eloquent essay on LIFE.com, from whence these photos originate, in which the Editor of that site convincingly draws those very comparisons.)

Whether or not 2001 is your cup of tea (Tang?), we think you’ll agree it’s inspiring to see a man so intent on realizing a vision, no matter how grandiose or perplexing, that only he could.



  

 



(The intricate sets, the eye-catching costumes, the intense atmosphere…Even amidst all that, we’re drawn to Kubrick’s elegantly disheveled, overturned tie. It’s exactly how a well-dressed man, utterly immersed in a hands-on job, should look.)

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The second piece of evidence in our abstract cinema vs. action movie dialogue is the video montage below, illustrating a favorite camera trick that Kubrick returned to again and again—in Space Odyssey, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket and more. You’d think, given the sheer number of examples, that this could become redundant; but it’s the otherworldly visuals and impassioned performances that Kubrick places within that lens, that make his camerawork come to life. Touché, sir—consider yourself back at the top of our Netflix queue.

 
 

[Photos by Dmitri Kessel via Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images and LIFE.com. Video by Vimeo user, and apparent extreme film buff, Kogonada. We found these via two of our favorite sources of inspiration: Nickel Cobalt and The Only Magic Left is Art. Individuals pictured do not endorse Nordstrom.]