As chroniclers of canine culture - if you're repping the Library of Congress, we have this column's complete archive ready to go - we are constantly on the lookout for what’s fresh and interesting in the doggosphere. New Year; new vibes: what's the skinny? Well, lately, the extent and variety of canine clothing has been a source of both fascination and delight; from the quotidian to the ceremonial, the warm winter jacket to the full fig, dogs all over America are serving lewks.
At this point, you may be asking why we are telling you all this now, and the answer is this: perusing the calendar we learned that not only was 1/14 National Pet Fashion Day but also that there are actual pet fashion shows planned for New York Fashion Week (Feb 9th - 14th - mark your calendars). Since NPFD day fell the day before Martin Luther King Jr Day, we kept the latter and postponed our observation of the former until now.
Anyway, these things set us wondering about the topic of petwear and here we are. Dogs, but make it fashion.
A few facts to set the scene: 76% of dog-owning Americans dress them for Halloween, with pumpkins, hot dogs, and er, bats being the top 3 picks. The most popular dog garment is a jacket, which brings to mind practical considerations, at least until you learn that Gucci makes dog jackets, $930, as does Prada, $825. You can avoid getting either messed up by carrying your dog & her jacket in a Christian Louboutin pet bag for the low, low price of $2,390. What a relief.
Thus, our assumption was that this is a relatively new, er, trend, and that it is primarily commercially driven; nothing wrong with either of those, and indeed we’ll get to our own fits for dapper dawgs in due course! However this assumption turned out to be entirely incorrect, for dog dressing has a long and storied history. And there is nothing, besides dogs, that this columnist loves more than dog history.
In the 5th & 4th centuries BC, military dogs wore protective armor on battlefields; the ancient Egyptians, whose peerless animal bone-ah-fides we have previously documented, favored pet jewelry - accessorizing is key! - which was also beloved by the kings and queens of France, who had gold and diamond collars made for their puppy dauphins et dauphines. With an eye for utility, the monks of the treacherous St Bernard Pass, whose eponymous dogs were bred to rescue snow-stricken travelers, sewed snow-and-waterproof overalls. In Britain, genteel types regarded it as impolite to take their dogs out without appropriate attire.
Capitalizing on such august historical and social threads, the popularity of pets, and their own expertise, the French luggage house Goyard launched its first Chic Du Chien range of canine couture in 1890, supported by an ad campaign proclaiming: “The chicest dogs wear Goyard”! This was of course true at the time, since King Dukes had yet to be founded. The ads, drawn by the greatest illustrators of Belle-Époque Paris depicted “four-legged dandies dressed up in serge or velvet overcoats, sported driving glasses, boots, ruffle-neck collars, and fancy leashes.” Naturally, bespoke wardrobe trunks were also available, cats had their own grooming kits and travel bags, and even monkeys had a dedicated line of accessories. Just wow!
And lest you worry we were sleeping on style on this side of the Atlantic, the premier periodical, Godey’s Lady’s Book, published a pattern for a crocheted greyhounds’ jacket in its 5th May, 1873 edition. Fetching!
But look, as much as fashion, like dogs, enjoys a walk down memory lane, it is chiefly concerned with the present and the immediate future. And that, friends, brings us to our own contribution to the canon of fido fashion! As we write, much of the country is in the grip of snow, ice, wind, and rain, with winter weather set to make its presence felt for some time to come. Happily, as long time residents of the Pacific northwest, we are prepared! Following in the paw prints of the St Bernards of yore, but with the benefit of mod cons such as Gortex and the Internet, we have jackets, vests, and fleeces in all weights and sizes, and boots to ensure perfect paw protection! Allow us to present a few of our favorites…
For the style-conscious cineaste, the sweater made famous by the Big Lebowski is a must have! Paying tribute to The Dude’s classic Westerley, Carolina Pet Company’s Big Lebarkski Westerly knit is totally pawsome and comes in 5 sizes, making it perfect for dudes large and small. Last but not least, while like the OG Dude, yours is (probably) housebroken, it’s machine washable JIC. Life goes on, man.
Next up, rainy days needn’t get you down - or slow you down - thanks to RC Pets’ amazing Delta Rain Slickers coats. These easy on, easy off coats come in 4 bright colors and no fewer than 7 sizes, and are as comfy as they are cool. Made from soft, 4-way-super-stretch fabric that allows for a close fit without restricting your dog’s freedom of movement, they can be worn alone as a light layer, or over a fleece for extra warmth. With a reflective strip for nighttime visibility, and machine washable fabric for daytime practicality, we have one in every color.
Speaking of layers, there are few garments that do more than the Hurtta Dog Total Body Warmer. A multi-purpose powerhouse, it’s great for active dogs’ muscle care, or as an extra layer of warmth under a waterproof jacket or fleece, or for aging dogs, or dogs undergoing rehabilitation. The foil material on the inner surface reflects body heat to provide cozy warmth, while the smooth and elastic material makes it super comfortable to wear. With an adjustable belt and collar and reflectors on the seams to make your dog more visible in the dark, it comes in 20 - YES TWENTY! - different sizes. It really is a total winter winner!
Looking ahead to slightly less frigid times, or indeed now for those lucky enough to be in one of the warmer states, we love, love, love RC Pets’ Quick Dry Wraps as much as our pack love, love, loves to splash, splash, splash! Allow us to explain: whether your pup is fresh from the tub or loves splashing around in puddles on wet weather walks, keep your soggy doggy comfortable and stylish with the easy-to-use and super absorbent Quick Dry Wrap. Constructed from lightweight, sand repellent, quick dry fabric, this is a bathrobe for dogs crossed with a natty jacket. Faster drying than a regular towel, drying off at home or on the go is quick and easy for you and your pet - and you'll no longer have to run for cover or worry about your furnishings when they gear up for a shake! With an extra long neck and chest panel for maximum coverage, it is comfortable and adjustable with flat-lock seams to reduce chafing, and a slit for leash access, it comes in 2 colors and 5 sizes. Perfection.
Whether your dog is a homebody or a hiker, a big galloping girl or a little lap boy, we’re sure you’ll find fits to fit among our winter wear collection. And remember; fashions may come and go, but style is eternal. Until next month, superdogmodels!💋 💀 🐩
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