Wednesday, June 16, 2010

As You Were: Birdwell Beach Britches

Look, I'm sympathetic, even supportive of the whole "made in USA," "made like they used to," OG throwback brand trends or whatever, but mostly I see it as a spectator sport.

So imagine my surprise when I found one of my own staples at the center of just such a nostalgia/quality hypestorm. That would, of course, be the nylon boardshorts I grew up with in North Carolina, Birdwell Beach Britches.

I laughed to see them show up on the NY Times' T Magazine blog. And displace those Brazilian Speedo things as icons of Fire Island abs culture. Because the only place to buy them is at Bert's Surf Shop in Atlantic Beach.

Except that I stopped at the Bert's in Emerald Isle, because that bridge is closer to the cottage, and the girl's all, "What? No, I don't know when they stopped carrying those," putting me into a swimsuitless panic for the weekend. And I don't even know all the neon beach shops that have sprung up since [i.e., everything built in the last 30 years]. And whoa, speaking of throwback, have you seen Birdwell's website? Those folks are awesome, but it's a bit like the Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap label over there. And not a retailer list in sight.

So I emailed Evelyn Birdwell on Sunday morning, and patron saint of aging lifeguards that she is, she emailed right back, saying that she sure sent Bert's a few hundred suits a couple of weeks ago, what'd they do with them? And sure enough, I hoofed it to the main location, and the owner's like, "Right over there. Makes a grown man squeal like a little girl when they see that rack full of Britches, haven't changed a bit." Except for the size, of course.