Bass From The Past

This selection of vintage Bass Weejun ads comprised one of Ivy-Style’s earliest posts. Check out this next one from the pivotal year of 1967: Weejuns and wingtips juxtaposed to sandals and flower-power graphics. Post updated with a few new images, including a couple of snazzy loafer-clad guys. — CC


23 Comments on "Bass From The Past"

  1. Christian. have been enjoying your articles for some time… thanks for sharing..
    Bass ads wonderful -leather looks real –
    has anyone weighed in on quality of bass gilman-


  2. Penny flip flops? Incredible.

  3. Is that a pebble-grained cordovan penny loafer in the top ad? Oh, my … we can only dream about such beauty!

  4. Unfortunately, I don’t think we will ever see Weejuns made the same way they were in Maine. The leather is so over lacquered, and just not the same. They should bring the manufacturing back to the states, and start using a quality leather. Weejuns were never made of the highest quality leather, but Hell, raise the price from 90-100 up to 200, and make them like they used to be. (the articles re: the ones made again in the US, thats all good and well, but try to find them)

  5. Bill Stephenson | September 3, 2010 at 8:14 am |

    Another fine trip down memory lane, thank you.

    A bit sad in a way. Weejuns were likely a standard of most that drop in here. However, when you look at the offering of Bass today, you see leather that looks like plastic, and one layer in the heel that is made of paper.

    It’s a bit like going back to a reunion, and seeing a favorite classmate that has deteriorated dramatically,

    The great ads bring back the “good old days”.

  6. to H.K.- yes that is a pebble grain Weejun. The term Scotch grain was used at the time, at least in the Southeast. It was not the same color as the cordovan Weejun, but more of a burnt cordovan color.

  7. Dartmouth '12 | September 3, 2010 at 10:28 am |

    You can sometimes find American made Weejuns on eBay. I have a pair that I wear at school.

  8. Does anyone else mourn the loss of the Bass Courier model (tassels, kiltie and long vamp)? I have a pair from about ’99 that I treasure – wonderful leather, btw, very much UNLIKE the leather on a pair of the Larkin model I bought recently. l (I bought them online, I just assumed they would be close to the quality of my Couriers. Mistake.)

  9. Peter Carbonaro | September 7, 2010 at 8:12 am |

    HK — I agree, the pebble-grained Weejuns are indeed the stuff of dreams.

    Building on Kevin’s point — I noticed that Bass has started producing a high-end “Jeffrey” line of Weejuns, handmade in Maine. Price point is about $300 but they’re actually on sale at the Bass website for $219 as we speak. Does anyone have any intelligence on these? Are they a return to form, quality-wise?

  10. I have noticed these in ‘gator once or twice around the city this summer. After sales tax over four grand for a pair.

  11. I worry about that Bass site. When you select the different views, its shows the beefroll version, instead of the traditional weejun style. Also, shows stitching on the tongue, which I could live with, if the shoes are any good.

  12. I LOVE the 1965 Weejun ad.

    I’d say 1965 was about the year I bought my first pair of oxblood Weejuns. A bit pricey, $14.95 as I recall, so my mother made me pay the difference between that and what she had budgeted for shoes which was probably about $8.00. Always admired the Scotch grain model but never bought a pair.

    IMO the under-appreciated appeal of the original Weejun is how simple the design is: true moccasin construction, no lining (right? it’s been a LONG time), no stitching on the tongue, relatively narrow backstay and a simple sewn strap with no beefroll. That’s it! Don’t add a thing.

    Russell’s “Classic Moccasin Loafer” is virtually a dead ringer apart from being lined and I’m willing to pay the $245 plus s&h. You might (or might not) get an acceptable field book or simple chukka out f them, but IME they no longer have a workforce/QA system capable of turning out a decent dress/casual shoe on a predictable basis (one that doesn’t look like it may have been made in an eighth grade industrial arts class). Too bad.

  13. Would these beauties actually sell for only $245.00, seems low for a classic that will never be reproduced?

  14. Old School Tie | August 25, 2019 at 1:38 pm |

    Bass have gone very mass market, Instagram “worthy” – whatever that means other than plummeting standards – over the past few years. Their camp mocs were the last models made from good quality leather. They appear to have been phased out, sadly. And yes, those pebbled beauties are the stuff of dreams…

  15. End of the Ivy heyday.

  16. Cuff Shooter | August 26, 2019 at 12:31 am |

    “Smooth fitting” are not how I would describe my Weejuns. I ordered them half a size small and they were still a bit large, and on top of that the sides rise up too high and undercut my heel bone. As a result I only wear them with thick hiking socks. Nevertheless, I do appreciate their knockabout nature.

  17. There’s a lot of evidence and record that prove that things did in fact change dramatically in 1967-68. Doesn’t mean the ivy style disappeared (it’s still alive after all), but it lost popularity and influence on fashion.

  18. Ted Farnsworth | August 26, 2019 at 10:39 am |

    I graduated from college in June, 1965 and spent two years overseas. When I returned in September, 1967 to do an M.A. the Ivy shops in my college town had either gone out of business or were selling mod clothing. Khakis, Oxford cloth shirts, and tweed jackets had disappeared from the shops and from the campus, except for some professors. We had attended classes in coats and ties in our senior year, and they had been replaced by sweatshirts and sweatpants.

  19. Today I learned that Michael Jackson wore his black Bass Weejuns while performing his famous moon walk:

    Today marks the 60th birthday of Michael Jackson: Hitmaker, moonwalker and the king of pop. We’d be remiss not to celebrate an icon whose timeless records, mind-boggling dance moves and penchant for pairing white socks with classic black Weejuns Penny loafers, set off a style craze that defined the era. Mr. Jackson we salute you.

    -From the Bass website archives

  20. Old School Tie | August 26, 2019 at 10:54 am |

    @Ben Braddock – my illustrious self was born in that year, which is all you need to know regarding how pivotal it was.

  21. @Mitchell I was told MJ wore Sebago’s for the moonwalk.

  22. I have a picture of Groucho Marx in Weejuns. They appear to be anyway.

  23. Tim Irvine | June 28, 2022 at 7:15 pm |

    Although I usually got the maroon ones, starting in 1959, I got Sunjuns (the cut out sandals), the Scotch grain, and the whiskey in high school, along with Sportocasins in college, I loved them all. Now I wear A
    Alden LHS and still think fondly of Weejuns. In the school year between early September, when they wore heels raw, and late spring, when they were held together by duct tape, they were wonderful. I wonder, if I had a new pair of the old Weejuns, a brand new pair, how long would they last? My last pair of unlined shell LHS Aldens got a ton of wear for 33 years.

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