If you've ever been to Portland or just seen the opening credits to Portlandia, you're probably familiar with the big neon "Portland Oregon" sign downtown with the deer leaping over an outline of the state. Well, from the time the sign was put up in the late '50s until the the late '90s, that sign was an advertisement for the local sportswear company White Stag, which lost ownership of the sign around the time it started to fall apart.
I didn't know any of this until I started looking for the year the brand went downhill, i.e., when the brand name was purchased by Walmart for use as an in-house label. So, were it not for evidence of their stylin' heyday available in thrift stores (and the good people at Wikipedia), White Stag's place in fashion history would be lost to its latest, boring, boxy incarnation.
Because there's a modern, zombie White Stag out there, the search for the older good stuff can get a lot more difficult than your average vintage hunt. That said, when you do find one of White Stag's classic ski parkas or super-sixties skirts, you'll know it was worth it.
White Stag clothes are of the vintage ilk that walk the thin line between classic Marc Jacobs and late-series Marsha Brady. It's taken me many years to get better at figuring out what's cool and what's just a costume (although my weakness for way-too-'80s clothes is so bad that I have a dress that can only be described as "Sugarbaker couture").
There is plenty of White Stag stuff out there that's too bright, synthetic, and just unsubtle to work for anything but Halloween, but one of their vintage parkas, with its accented buttons and simple lines, looks like APC letting its hair down (and at a fraction of the price). It might not be easy to go thrifting with White Stag in mind, but if you find something interesting on the racks with a White Stag label, consider it gold and a piece of Portland history.