Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Fabulous Vintage Coat

It's so hard to say goodbye to summer, especially when fall and winter mean months of cold rain. But cold weather does have at least one bright spot: vintage coats.

Coats are one of the great steals of the vintage world. For one thing, back in the day, coats were made to last. Lay a 1950s wool coat on the bed next to a brand new coat from a department store. The 1950s coat still has a strong lining with a silky hand. You might even find extra fabric reinforcing the armpits. The new coat most likely has a thin, scratchy lining that I can guarantee you will be shredded within three years. Now feel the wool of the 1950s coat. It might be pure wool, or blended with alpaca, camel hair, or cashmere. It undoubtedly feels thick and supple. The wool of the new coat, on the other hand, is stiff, thin, and rough. The buttons on the old coat are works of art, while those on the new coat are generic plastic. Heck, even the label in the new coat looks cheaper. The kicker? The vintage coat cost less than $100 and the new coat close to $300.

Also, vintage coats are loaded with style. Some vintage coats have linings with gorgeous patterns--pumpkin coaches or swallows, for instance--or are striped in wild colors. The Xtabay has a houndstooth jacket with braided trim and a black velvet lining. You don't find that in a new coat. Vintage coats also come in a rainbow of colors and styles, from 1960s double-breasted town coats to 1940s wide-shouldered evening coats to 1950s swing coats with bracelet sleeves. 

Vintage coats are the perfect gateway item of clothing for the person who likes the look of vintage but is shy about wearing it. You mostly wear black? Perfect! You can collect a wardrobe of vivid coats--red, purple, sky blue, and hot pink--and they'll always match. You don't dress up much? Great! Nothing complements jeans and boots better than a sassy evening jacket (the Xtabay has a silvery brocade jacket with a mink collar and rhinestone studded buttons that cries out for denim). Tie a 1950s patterned chartreuse scarf over a vintage coat, or pin on a giant brooch, or pull on elbow-length plum-colored gloves to show off the bracelet sleeves on your navy blue jacket.  

Winter lasts a long time. You may as well face it with chic.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Liz-

    I love vintage coats (and I have several that I've acquired from you), but I am always having trouble with the linings tearing and sometimes basically disintegrating. Any recommendations on somewhere I can get them re-lines and how much it should cost me?