Great Heights: Moncler Turns 60

Founded in 1952 by French outdoorsman and entrepreneur René Ramillon, Moncler celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. The brand’s origin is rooted in pure utility: Legend has it that Ramillon created Moncler’s first down jackets in order to keep his employees warm (the company was located in Monestier-de-Clermont—for which the name ‘Moncler’ serves as an abbreviation—an Alpine town near Grenoble, France).

Soon, after patenting his down production process, Ramillon and co. set about collaborating with the world’s leading mountaineers on life-threateningly frigid missions: Moncler provided equipment for the first successful ascent of both K2 (by Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni in 1954) and Makalu (by Lionel Terray and Jean Couzy, 1955). In 1964, along with Terray, the brand organized the first ascent of Mt. Huntington in Alaska.

From these rugged roots, Moncler down jackets became a stylish status symbol in subsequent decades. Today, the brand embraces the dualistic nature of its heritage—continuing to manufacture down-filled outerwear to expedition specs, while also partnering with leading designers to create avant-garde, sport-inspired fashion statements. Watch this interview with Thom Browne, who designs Moncler’s experimental Gamme Bleu collection, for a taste of the latter—and delve deeper into Moncler’s history below.

Adventurers in the Himalayas, 1962.
[First Image]: Renowned French explorer Lionel Terray, who played a key role in consulting on Moncler’s high-performance designs, in Alaska, 1964.

Scenes from the first successful ascent to the summit of K2, July 1954, for which Moncler provided the equipment. Note the ‘stockroom’—who needs a refrigerator?

Terray in Alaska, 1964. If you look closely, his tent is proudly labeled ‘Moncler.’

Villard-de-Lans, France, 1964. Near Grenoble, where Moncler outfitted the French National Team for the 1968 Winter Olympics.

French National Ski Team, 1966.

Expedition notes from the Moncler archive. Anyone read Italian?

A vintage Moncler ad from the 1970s.

Ski instructors at L’Alpe d’Huez ski resort in the French Alps, 1970.

An ad from the ’80s. Powder’s great on the moon this time of year.

Assorted Moncler ads from the 1950s and early ’60s.

Moncler Today. A few of our favorites:
Mixed-Media Bomber | ‘Tib’ Down Vest | ‘Hubert’ Fur-Lined Parka
‘Montserrat’ Down Parka | ‘Zin’ Bomber | ‘Montgenevre’ Down & Feather Jacket


For more winter-ready gear, check out our Snow Shop.

[All images courtesy of Moncler. Vintage imagery via Vogue Italia; product still-lifes via Moncler.com. Individuals pictured do not endorse Nordstrom.]


John Quincy Adams

Zachary Taylor

Franklin Pierce

Abraham Lincoln

Ulysses S. Grant

John F. Kennedy

Bill Clinton

After way too many nights spent passing out on the couch to the dulcet tones of cable news blaring, we wanted to touch on today’s historic context without veering anywhere close to current events.

With visions of natty forefathers in mind, we Googled ‘stylish presidents’—and promptly discovered that Marisa Zupan, a member of the rare and special breed known as menswear bloggers of the female persuasion, already obliterated this very subject with wit and tenacity over a year ago.

With an entry for every one of our 44 past Commanders in Chief—and succinctly hilarious yet insightful captions alluding to menswear minutiae like epic whiskers, rounded collars and floppy bow ties—Zupan’s post is unimpeachable. The best we can do here is preview a few of our favorite photos, and tell you to read the real thing.

While you’re at it, be sure to catch up on the rest
of Zupan’s impeccable menswear blog:

The Significant Other

Need something to wear to election parties tonight?
Shop: Red Ties | Blue Ties | Bipartisan Ties



[Photos via The Significant Other; Adams courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Taylor and Lincoln courtesy of Library of Congress, Kennedy by Paul Schutzer courtesy of Life.Time.com, Clinton by Bob McNeely courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration. Pierce and Grant sources unknown, please comment below if you have information or would like the images removed. Individuals pictured do not endorse Nordstrom.]

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Our Top 3 Tuxes, Then and Now

With New Year’s Eve parties approaching, we took a minute to locate some inspiration for perhaps the most quintessentially masculine garment known to man: a Tuxedo. For a garment whose smashing success or massive failure hinges almost entirely on a razor-sharp fit, customized precisely to your body, sack-like rentals are not a realistic option—even if you only need your tux once a year, a modest investment is worth looking like a million bucks once in a while.

1. Peak Lapel. The classic choice. Broader lapels are swinging back into favor, lending modern suits a throwback, menswear-machismo vibe. Combined with the elegantly aggressive peak lapel, this style of tux creates a universally flattering V-shaped torso.

Hickey Freeman Classic-Fit, Peak-Lapel Tuxedo.
Eligible for Free Next-Business-Day Shipping. Shop Now

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2. Shawl Collar. Whereas a peak lapel is boldly assertive, a shawl-collar tux is silky smooth. Put one on, and you’re equally apt to channel a 1962 Sean Connery in the original Bond flick, Dr. No, or a hip vintage revivalist like Albert Hammond Jr., depending on your haircut and facial expression.

BOSS Black Trim-Fit Shawl-Collar Tuxedo.
Eligible for Free Next-Business-Day Shipping. Shop Now

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3. Midnight Blue. Daniel Craig’s Bond is rougher around the edges than his predecessors—and his choices in evening wear are just as unapologetic. Opting for inky blue instead of the classic black is a subtle tweak on the color spectrum, but speaks volumes. Amp it up further with a creative shirt, or keep it classically subversive as Craig does above.

BOSS Black Trim-Fit Navy Tuxedo. Shop Now

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Whichever style you choose, get thee to a skilled Nordstrom Tailor for a fully personalized fit. Here’s a graphic of Mr. Jake Gyllenhaal, a red-carpet pro, with a comprehensive play-by-play on how a classic tux ought to fit, courtesy of the NY Times. Click to enlarge:


Shop: Our Party Essentials Guide | All Tuxedos & Formalwear

[Images: James Cagney, Paul Newman and John Wayne via The Impossible Cool; Sean Connery via Gentleman’s Gazette and The Suits of James Bond; Daniel Craig via Fashionising; Jake Gyllenhaal by Steve Granitz/WireImage, © NY Times. Individuals pictured do not endorse Nordstrom.]


In honor of the Seattle Music Project, a photo exhibit on display in our flagship Seattle store, we’ll be highlighting iconic Northwest musicians from the past five decades. Today: punk rock and Farrah hair. (Read our previous post on Seattle music in the ’60s here.)

Text below by Charles R. Cross, excerpted from the exhibit.

photo by Andy Norton, courtesy of Anita Lillig

“Rick Smith played in a number of late-’70s, early-’80s Seattle bands, including this band, The Girls. His ripped jeans and shirtlessness would have also squarely placed him ten years later in the world of grunge. It was a style that also owed much to Iggy Pop of the Stooges, who was often cited as a huge influence by many Seattle bands of the day.”


photo by Peter Barnes

“The Enemy were one of the first local punk bands in the late ’70s. Loud, fast, and deadly serious—the blood is real—they played to tiny audiences at clubs like the Gorilla Room. Following early pioneers like Ze Whiz Kidz, whose cross-dressing pre-dated the New York Dolls, many Seattle bands in the era emphasized an androgynous look that challenged sexual stereotypes in fashion and music.”


photos by Tim Orden

“Lips were typical of many bands on the Northwest tavern circuit in the early ’80s. They dressed provocatively with a heavy emphasis on cleavage, tight spandex pants, and hairspray. It was a look that owed much to television’s Charlie’s Angels. Meredith Brooks, later to score a hit in 1997, is the woman with the guitar in the photo above.”


photo by Jeff Burger

“Ann and Nancy Wilson were two of the first women to front a hard rock band, and pioneers of music and style. This cover shot from the Bebe Le Strange album captured Ann whispering a secret to Nancy, which gave the photo an intimacy rarely seen in rock.”


{A selection of music by Northwest bands in the ’70s}:


The Seattle Music Project is an exhibit of photos and ephemera commemorating five decades of Northwest music. Curated by renowned local photographer Lance Mercer, the exhibit resides in the Men’s Shop of our Downtown Seattle store, now through the end of October.

[Songs, clockwise from top left, courtesy of K Records, Capitol/Mushroom Records, Restless Records, and King Tut Records. Individuals pictured do not endorse Nordstrom.]


With Calvin Klein’s new ‘Modern Classic’ men’s underwear collection dropping this week, we wanted to look back at those vintage “Marky” Mark Wahlberg ads from 1992 (that’s 20 years ago if you do the math), shot by legendary LA photographer Herb Ritts.

Thing is, it’s not physically possible to google ‘Herb Ritts’ without getting distracted, if not totally awestruck, by his full body of work.

A self-taught photographer, Ritts (1952–2002) forged a distinct vision of beauty that came to define the late ’80s and early ’90s—marking an unprecedented crossover between fine art and commerce, and launching the careers of countless, now-iconic models and actors. His style exalted the human form in a mode reminiscent of classical Greek sculpture—and utilized California’s sand, surf, and late-afternoon sun to full effect, lending warmth and softness to his statuesque compositions.

Scroll down for info on the new Calvin Klein underwear we mentioned—but first take a moment to soak up some of our favorite Herb Ritts photos.

Stephanie, Cindy, Christy, Tatjana, Naomi, Hollywood, 1989 (via)
This painterly rendering of the supermodel pantheon was shot on Ritts’ own patio. Christy Turlington (in back) wasn’t initially part of the shot; she stopped by to visit and was coaxed to join.

{Top}: Ritts introduced Cindy Crawford to his longtime friend Richard Gere at a barbecue at his mother’s house. This particular shot appeared on a July 1988 magazine cover. (via)

Madonna, Hollywood, 1986 (via)
A version of this image graced the cover of Madonna’s third album, True Blue.
Ritts was one of the first fashion photographers to transition to music video director, masterminding clips for Madonna and more.

Tony Black Torso, Los Angeles, 1986 (via)

Tatjana Patitz, from the two-book boxed set Men/Women by Herb Ritts, 1989 (via)

Tony in White, Hollywood, 1988 (via)

Versace Veiled Dress, El Mirage, 1990. (via)
That’s Naomi Campbell under there, if you couldn’t tell.

Djimon with Octopus, Hollywood, 1989 (via)
An explicit example of Ritts incorporating nature into his work.
(And of his subjects, like actor/model Djimon Hounsou, being good sports.)

Christy Turlington, Hollywood, 1988 (via)


One of the aforementioned Calvin Klein ads, co-starring Kate Moss, from 1992. (via)
Ritts’ photography has held up better than Wahlberg’s early-’90s slang—but if you insist,
you can view one of the Ritts-directed, Marky-scripted television spots here.

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As for the new ‘Modern Classic’ collection, it’s inspired by the ones Wahlberg wore, but features an updated fit with lower rise and shorter legs (on the boxer briefs). Also available in trunks and briefs—all with the signature ‘Calvin Klein’ logo on the waistband. Shop all men’s underwear (including the new CK collection).

Further Viewing: The Herb Ritts exhibit at LA’s J. Paul Getty Museum has been extended through September 2. And for photography geeks only: Watch a 12-minute mini-documentary on Ritts and his work here.


[Photos by Herb Ritts, ©The Herb Ritts Foundation. Individuals pictured do not endorse Nordstrom.]


“Steve McQueen—ironically displaying his signature, perfect balance of allegiance and rebellion.”
—The Selvedge Yard

“I live for myself and I answer to nobody.”
—Steve McQueen

On America’s birthday, we couldn’t think of a more fitting tribute than to recommend one of the most patriotic, and yet most subversive, web museums in the world: The Selvedge Yard.

Some might call it a blog, but we say ‘web museum’ because the breadth of topics and depth of research is nothing short of encyclopedic. And with subjects ranging from Hitchcock to Harley Davidsons, Playboy Bunnies to Bob Dylan, and famous mustaches to muscle cars, there’s something for everyone. (Unless your idea of the perfect lunch-hour blog break includes LOL-inducing cats.)

While The Selvedge Yard does include a few choice overseas exports, like the Rolling Stones and vintage Schwarzenegger, the running themes remain intact: rebellion, recklessness, and good old-fashioned machismo.

Alfred Hitchcock on the secretive set of his classic thriller Psycho, 1960.

Albert “Shrimp” Burns, a top racer of the 1910s and early 1920s, was the youngest champion of his era, winning his first titles at age 15.

The Playboy Club, circa 1960. (Note Keith Richards in the background, top right.)

Bob Dylan, London, circa 1966. Photo by Barry Feinstein.

Frank Zappa’s mustache, New York City, 1967. Photo by Jerry Schatzberg.

Carroll Shelby’s iconic Ford Mustang GT350 pony car, circa 1965.


All photos, quotes and captions courtesy of The Selvedge Yard.


[Individuals pictured do not endorse Nordstrom.]