Brand Preview: F.L. Woods

In 1938, F.L. Woods opened their doors as a nautical supplier to the coastal New England town of Marblehead, Massachusetts. The founder, Fred Lester Woods Jr, was born in the Boston area and learned to sail as a child on the sheltered harbors of the North Shore, the coastline between Boston and New Hampshire. The store, originally known as “F.L. Woods Nautical Instruments &  Supplies”, sold charts and equipment to the sailors and fishermen of this historically seafaring town, which holds the honor of being the birthplace to the U.S. Navy. The very first ship commissioned by General Washington, the Hannah, originally set sail from these very rocky shores.

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Over 75 years later, F.L. Woods continues to be a household name for those who draw inspiration from both nautical history, and American-sourced goods. Occupying the same, wood floored shop on Washington Street in Marblehead, nautical flags and navigational charts adorn the storefront, along with the signature buoy logo

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The store layout consists of men’s and women’s halves, with the signature items scattered around the shop on tables, shelves, and old wooden furniture.

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The Burgess Blazer, along with the Mariner’s Jacket, is one of the FL Woods brand Marblehead Greens, own creations. This button-front waxed cotton jacket is one of the flagship items of the brand, and like many of their items, is cut and sewn in the USA.

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In addition to a line of women’s clothing, canvas bags, pillows, and many accessories filled the second room.

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Offerings from the French brand Saint James were not in short supply in the women’s section, their clasic striped pullover pictured here paired with an FL Woods rugby, and nautical chart printed silk scarf

 

 

 

 

 

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FL Woods carries a variety of additional brands, including a handful of Vineyard Vines items. The sporty pullover shown here comes in both men’s and women’s sizes, and is ideal as a light layer for sailing or other outdoor activities.

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The classic rollneck Sailor’s Sweater is another Marblehead Greens favorite, crafted in cotton and adorned with nautical stripes.

 

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A selection of Barbour flannel shirts were tucked into a shelf beside the Barbour jacket offerings.

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Like most of the shops in Marblehead, items for the home were in strong supply beside the clothing offerings. Throughout the store the theme of antique brass and nautical knickknacks runs strong

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The Marblehead Greens line of shirts are hand-tailored in the USA, with stated attention to detail regarding features such as the stitching and collar roll. They come in at a pricey ~$125, but this is about standard for USA sourced shirts.

 

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Tattersalls and plaids, along with some warm cords and sweaters.

 

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To me, the somewhat disorganized layout of the store adds to its charm, complete with squeaky wooden floors and walls covered in old charts, yacht club burgees, and old portraits. While the inventory and design of many of their products has undoubtedly been changed and updated over the years, I think FL Woods remains largely successful in preserving the original feel of a old-style nautical outfitter. The prices are not cheap by any means, but given that many of their items, especially those from the Marblehead Greens brand are USA made, they can be seen as investment pieces made to last. If you are in the North Shore area, it’s at least certainly worth a visit, if not just for it’s proximity to Marblehead Neck, home to both a wildlife sanctuary and a number of yacht clubs.

Where to find FL Woods:

Address: 76 Washington St, Marblehead, MA 01945


Further Reading: 

FL Woods on Saltwater New England

Dowd, William J. “F.L. Woods of Marblehead Celebrates 75 Years on Washington Street.” Wicked Local. Gatehouse Media, Inc

Aaron Doucett

Aaron is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and works as a cartographer in Cambridge, MA. Outside of work, he enjoys rowing, cycling, and hunting for vintage ties at thrift stores.

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