Doug McCombs

Past Perfect Essay
by Doug McCombs

I’m interested in work clothing. Denim, canvas, chambray, flannel, salt & pepper cloth, wool, anything that can take a beating. I’m interested in the history of these things and how they relate to what I do.Traditional American work clothing is durable and comfortable and not too concerned with style. It is used for things like carpentry, masonry, cowboying or for field sports like hunting and fishing.

Being unconcerned with style has become its own style and American work clothing has become some of the most valuable and desirable of vintage collectables.

I am a musician and I travel a lot. Even though I enjoy what I do, I think of it as being hard work more than being a glamorous or privileged position. I’ve always worn this type of work related clothing because I think it looks cool, but also because it relates somehow to my perception of what I do for a living.

I have a nice Italian suit and it looks good, but it’s nothing I have ever felt comfortable wearing for more than 3 or 4 hours. I certainly would never wear it for everyday living or take it on the road with me for occasional wear. I thought it might be cool to have a suit that I would feel comfortable doing these things with. I’d like to be able to bunch it up and throw it in a suitcase or bag.

There are many designers who have brought the idea of work clothing into the world of high/mid fashion and much of it is beautiful and well made. It is also expensive and made to fit dudes that are smaller than me.

That is why I wanted to have a suit like this made.

Bio Douglas McCombs is a musician living in Chicago. He plays bass and guitar in Eleventh Dream Day, Tortoise, Brokeback, Pullman, and a duo with David Daniell. 

He has also done time as a sideman recording and or touring with a variety of other bands; Yo La Tengo, Calexico, School of Language, Tom Ze, Azita Youseffi, Rhys Chatham, and Sue Garner.

photo by Alix Lambert
drawing by Jamie Hayes
Doug McCombs reference photo
courtesy of The Satorialist

Doug McCombs reference photo


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