Friday, December 3, 2010

How many vintage coats does it take to make it through a long Minnesota winter?

I'm a pretty sensible and practical woman most of the time, but when it comes to vintage winter coats, my head goes foggy and my heart takes over.   If I see a pretty coat at an estate sale for a reasonable price, I just can't seem to pass it up!

The crazy thing about it is that I already have [walking over to my closet to count right now] NINE vintage winter coats - and most of them I've never worn yet.   Nine coats!   That's a little overboard, don't you think?   I promise you that I'm not like this with other types of clothes - generally, I'm Ms. Frugal - but there's something about coats...
Here are two that I bought at a sale this past July.  I remember it was bleepin' hot out that day and the estate sale was crowded with hot, sweaty shoppers - and there I was in the middle of the chaos trying on these wonderful vintage coats, attempting to catch a glimpse of myself in a little mirror. I got lots of smiles (who is this crazy woman?) but nobody seemed to want to bother with lugging around a heavy winter coat on a hot day.  Nobody except me.  And so I got some great deals!
This black coat has a "Stuart's - Milwaukee" label and the sweetest ball-shaped fabric buttons.

I think that my favorite feature on this first coat - the thing that convinced me that I had to buy it - is the embroidered "arrows" detailing on the back and front.  I'm also a sucker for curly lamb trim.  (Thanks Kitty and Kim Bombshell for reminding me that "curly lamb" is more often called Astrakhan or Persian lamb.)

This next vintage coat (mid 1950's?) is a much longer style, in a navy blue - and the label is: "Made expressly for Bloomingdale's."

This one's perfect for keeping warm during a cold Minnesota winter.  It's long and heavy - and has the softest brown fur in the world on the collar and cuffs.  I love the look from the back, with the gentle folds...

What do you think - is it a keeper?

But wait until you see the sweetheart of a coat, in chocolate brown, that I bought a few weeks ago!  It's got a lovely "Brucewood - Maurice L. Rothschild - Young Quinlan Co" label.

(I have a thing for vintage clothing labels - anyone else with me on that obsession?) 

As for the rest of the coat...I'll share some photos soon.  Then maybe you would be willing to help me figure out which coat should be The Coat that will carry me through this winter?  And I can eventually sell the others. 

OR...I suppose I could keep all nine - one for each day of the week, plus a couple just for evenings - but that seems a bit on the greedy side, doesn't it?  And I don't want to give the impression that I am a Greedy Grinch. 
I'd like to think that my heart, like the Grinch's on Christmas Day, expands to three times its size at this time of year....

Narrator: "And what happened then? Well, in Whoville they say that the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day. And then - the true meaning of Christmas came through, and the Grinch found the strength of *ten* Grinches, plus two!"

Narrator: "Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart and hand in hand."

This song sends shivers up my spine, and puts tears in my eyes.   It's so joyful and uplifting! - one of my favorite Christmas songs of all time...

Silly me. I have no idea how I managed to turn the discussion from vintage coats to this 1966 Dr. Seuss Christmas television classic.  I guess it means that I must be starting to get into the Christmas spirit.  Hope you are too!

Warm holiday wishes, 


  1. Those coats! Oh my goodness! They are so beautiful (as are you wearing them, too)...I wish I had kept the vintage coat I bought in Boston years ago - a black and bright raspberry pink houndstooth. I passed it on because I only wore it once, it didn't suit me at all (I'm an ash blonde) - but you are inspiring me to keep an eye out for vintage coats again :)

    Can't wait to see the rest!

    And you know I love the Grinch clips ;)

  2. The first paragraph of this post describes me as well, I'm a sucker for vintage winter coats! Love that curly lamb trim! Good finds.

  3. Beautiful finds. A couple of years ago I found a vintage leather coat a the local consignment shop, deep purple with interesting turn-key latches. A Bonnie Cashin label, but two sizes too big!

  4. These coats are real eye-candy! And I am a sucker for vintage clothing labels! Nice to meet the Grinch again. :")

  5. I love the coats! The persian lamb cuffs are so elegant!

  6. Looks like Astrakhan trim on the first coat. I don't think 9 coats is overdoing it, especially when you live in a cold place. I have 4 fur coats and I live in a subtropical climate and can almost never wear them. Does that make you feel better? He he.xx.

  7. Love those coats, I think you should be able to change every day, especially in cold winters, as you always have. The more lovely winter coats the more you are going to look forward to winter! I on the other hand, with only 4 or 5 winter coats, hate it!

  8. I really love the second one, it's difficult to find a coat which is warm and cosy but also girly and stylish nowadays! Vintage is THE solution!;)

  9. Nice coats! I love coats too. I agree as well that arrow detailing on the first coat is fabulous!

  10. Susan,
    you look stunning with the coats on. Sooooooo lovely & what fab deals you found. I don't think it is greedy at all to keep all 9 of them, after all ......perfect for keeping warm during a cold Minnesota winter - for you :)
    I love visiting your blog, funny , sweet & beautiful !!

  11. Those coats look so great on you that it would have been a sin against the Vintage Gods for you NOT to buy and keep them! Question...what month/year is the Timken calendar page behind you? I have a BUNCH of those from various years (45, 48, 50, 51, 52 and 53) but have never seen that one. I do love those things...super cute and often very cheap...

  12. Ooh they're gorgeous! Love the astrakhan collar and cuffs too. As far as I'm concerned you can never have too many coats, especially when you live in a cold climate - your coat is the only item of your clothing many people see on you during the winter so it should be special. x

  13. Lidian - I thought of you when I put up the Grinch clips - your Grinch-inspired poem was absolutely hilarious!

    Moviemag46 - That calendar page is from October 1949. How did you recognize it as a Timken?

    Linda - your purple Bonnie Cashin leather coat sounds wonderful - too bad that it was too big. Usually it's the other way around. :-)

    Kitty - You have 4 fur coats & live in a subtropical climate! I guess I shouldn't feel so bad about having all my coats...

    Thanks y'all for stopping by. Everyone seems to be agreeing (except me!) that it's not outrageous to have 9 coats in a cold weather climate. You are a bad influence! I'm still planning to just keep about 3 or 4 and sell the rest.

    Tonight I'm going to a Christmas concert and reception for special donors of the college where I work. I'm planning on wearing the second coat. It's hard to tell in the photos, but of the two coats the 2nd navy blue coat has a more elegant, glamorous look. Plus, it's incredibly warm - and it's about 15 degrees right now, and getting colder...

  14. What beautiful coats! I love the fact that someone else wore them first.

  15. The calendar page has that Timken look to it. I have 40 or 50 Timken calendar pages from between 1945-1953, but none from 1949. I love them...and no one else seems to want them too much, at least not enough to make them too expensive. I love them, and wouldn't ya know...I don't have a SINGLE one displayed!

  16. Hi Susan! I like the first coat the best. It looks like it was made just for you! And I'm with you on the clothing label obsession! The labels in coats and hats are so cool!

  17. Oooooooh,I looooove those coats!!! I'm addicted to coats,not sure how many I have though-I don't want to know!! Trouble is,I won't have anywhere to keep them soon!!Eeek!
    I love labels,they are just so beautiful!
    Stay snuggly!xxx

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  19. the first coat is beautiful. i like the style, and the planning to wear the first coat. if you have more coats for winter, you will enjoy a winter seasons.

  20. Just bought a 3/4 length blond persian lamb coat with hook & eye fasteners. $100. DId I do good? I'm don't know these things and wonder if that's too much. I'm like you, I love coats


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