Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How I Love A Vintage Coat!

My love affair with vintage coats began more than 25 years ago, when my sister took me shopping at our area's first "real" upscale/trendy second-hand/vintage store. I was a collector of a lot of vintage things, including jewelry, but hadn't taken the plunge into apparel yet. Well, when I saw a 1950's black cashmere dress coat with exquisite styling and a fabulously affordable price, and which fit me..... I was hooked for good! I could never in a million years have afforded something like that new, and even if I could have, the quality wouldn't have been the same. That coat is still in my closet, along with three other vintage coats: another winter one, a season-transitional coat, and a cashmere topper jacket. And it still looks like new. Though it's a tad too small right now (I vow to get back into it!), I wore it ALL the time to work and out to special occasions. In the chill and snow of the lake snow belt of western New York State, so you know it got a lot of use over the years!

The thing with vintage coats is, you really cannot find the same styling and quality today at a comparable price. IMHO, you just can't find coats with the same fabulous styling, no matter what you pay! From 1950's sack coats, shawl-collar coats, and coats with wonderful seaming details, to wonderful 1970's pea coats and trench coats, you just can't beat a vintage winter coat! And today, the sellers here at Reflections of Vintage will show you some of what we have for sale now.

From Catseye Vintage, we have this 40s/50s Off-White Big-Button Short Coat:


And from VintageCoatPourri, a 1960's Forstmann Penn Craft Wool Swing Coat:


After Dark Vintage has this Moire Navy All-Weather Coat listed:


This Cream Cashmere Swing Coat is offered at Catseye Vintage:


And this 1960s Fur-Trimmed Claralura Clutch Coat can be found at After Dark Vintage:


You can find this Lorendale Wrap Trench Coat at VintageCoatPourri:


Check out all of our shops to find even more great vintage coats and other apparel!


NadineisthatU said...

I have a black cashmere coat that is embroidered with black in the matador style. I had purchased a book by Robert Graves at a yard sale in Charlottesville, and the woman insisted that I try on a coat she had. She said it was by Balenciaga. Regardless, it was beautiful, fit perfectly, and though it is weighs a lot, when it is put on one doesn't feel it at all. The belt is a macrame in black.

This is terrible, that I don't have a camera, although there is one with my phone. It is impossible to describe as I don't know the technical names for its style, other to say that it is fitted, in a tubular yet darted way, a matador type embroidery going across front and back yoke and down the center of the sleeves. Sleeves are more dolman, not fitted. It is like a cross.

It ties inside, much like a robe, and is constructed almost like a suit of armor in its details. I have looked on Balenciaga sites and find nothing like it. I would say it is 1960's. How would one even photograph such a deep black. It has three or four buttons at the front top, round buttons like on gloves, only larger and the same button at each sleeve. Held closed by interior tie, with little overlapping.

Can you suggest how I might go about tracing it? The label inside is Bonwit-Teller. But I can say, after all these years people still gasp and say "That is a beautiful coat' whenever I wear it. I almost suspect it has a life of its own as a sculpture, because you forget you have it on, you feel so cocooned and yet light. The detail at the hem is unlike anything I have ever seen. It almost has an Erte' shape. I am thinking that I will have to sell it. I have something similar to Multiple Sclerosis and so I have worn it a couple of times this winter to museum outtings, and was going to do some stitching over the edge of the sleeve, some overcast with black silk to protect it, but since I see it might really be Balenciaga, I won't touch it.

I wouldn't know who to go to photograph it. I feel like a candle in the wind when I have it on, but not in the common sense, more like a lit torch, from the stability of it. I am relatively new to computer, but every kind of search term I have put in has brought up nothing like it.

Anne, Vintage Baubles said...

Hi Nadine, and thanks for reading our blog. Your coat sounds wonderful! You do have to photograph it in order to get help identifying it. If you have poor indoor lighting, you can wear the coat outside on a well-lit day (but not with glaring sun) and have someone take a photo of you, or hang it from from something, still placed in good daylight lighting. You may be able to get good enough photos from your camera phone to post online for help. We suggest you go to the Vintage Fashion Guild Forums, (, register (it's free!), and post your questions to the Public Q & A thread. You'll find people who can probably help you.