BEAUTIFUL 1950’S WOOL COAT IN CLASSIC BLACK

Surprising as it may seem, coats of this type were often more commonly seen in beige, brown and colors than in black. Those alternatives certainly would have been easier to keep looking clean – we all know what lint-magnets black garments are! So, maybe this just became a market-driven issue among the general population. At any rate, it’s true to my sleuthing experience and a clue for the file. However, market characteristics like that can sometimes vary by location or even by year so never ignore a mundane-seeming piece of evidence. That’s especially true when no other signs of its origin can be found.

This particular item, with its de rigueur big sculpted buttons, also has interesting design in back with a big welt seam and a somewhat distinctive collar shape and color, disguised as mink. These little design features are what differentiated one coat from another, as the general style of the time was quite uniform, and can make or break a case whenever witnesses can be found. I guess that’s always true with coats that are built for warmth and outdoor wear. No operative could ask for a better element of disguise while carrying out her daily routine now that our old stand-by, the trench coat, has lost its cover in film noir.

Tomorrow, another example that’s just a pretty fashion piece with no occult interpretations attached. But, you just never know –

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM

HERE’S THE SWEETEST POST-WAR EARLY SPRING COAT THERE IS!

Don’t you love those great big buttons, dyed a pale mauve to match the lining of this coat? Also, those sweet bows on each sleeve and Peter Pan collar, paired with the always-necessary and convenient hip pockets – good design that makes this a wonderful true vintage garment. The wool shell is a rather loosely-woven fabric that provides warmth, but not enough for the weather we’re having now. But, just wait . . . . . . . . . . . it’s almost February and warmer days aren’t far away.

Always love the cut of swing coats, as you can tell. Some are much more flared than others, but all are classic and comfortable over whatever is worn underneath. That’s especially important in a 3-season item like this one, when temps may vary a great deal while the season is changing. Over a dress, sweater or even a suit underneath, the coat will still fit well. What could be more practical when disguises may have to be changed frequently . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM

BEAUTIFUL GOWN & PEIGNOIR SET BY GOSSARD ARTEMIS – EARLY 1960’S

Just yesterday I delved into the sleepwear file. Police always find bedrooms to be prime locations for crime scenes, but they’re also a hot spot for hidden evidence. Some of the most bewitching things I’ve come across have been stored away in this archive. The Gossard label was one of the best and these photos show why. Not as deeply lovely as some of the silk gowns produced in the 1930’s and 1940’s, but the decoration is always beautiful and the colors so vibrant. I’ll probably be showing more to you . . . . . . . .

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM

1920’S – 1930’S DROPPED WAIST CREPE DRESS WITH BEADED TRIM

This dress was a really great find and incredibly rare. The slouchy, dropped sleeves, loosely fitted silhouette and tons of beading design are very indicative of the few years pre-war – whether talking about WWI or WWII, although other style elements still were frequently seen. This frock was custom-made for dressy dinner or party events. As often happened with vintage rayon crepe, there is some color fade but the condition of the garment is still remarkable. Since it turned up away from its original home, there are no specific clues associated with it. But, the city in which it was found and where its original owner undoubtedly went about her business has been known, for decades, for its high-rollers, shady dealings and clandestine activities. Need I say more? The case will probably never be closed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM

ANOTHER VERY SPECIAL VINTAGE DRESS – A PARIS KNOCK-OFF BY NELLY DON

When I discovered this clue in an out-of-the-way place I thought “Hmm. This is interesting. Not sure I’d ever wear it, but worth picking up.” It hung in the evidence room for some time until one day, as I was traveling to Europe, I saw a poster with examples of iconic Paris designs from various years and Guess What! 1952.

The Nelly Don label, made in Kansas City, was very popular with mid-century women in the U.S.. This was, in part, because of their up-to-the-minute designs and they weren’t shy about mimicking the famous couturiers. This example is very well-made and leave it to American marketing savvy to think practically and make the peplum removable and to use an easy-care fabric. I also love the subtle basket weave print, which shows up vividly when exposed to the camera flash and digital imaging but is less obvious in ordinary light. Just my cup of tea . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM

VINTAGE 100% SILK CHEONGSAM DRESS

Beautiful, beautiful. Worthy of Mata Hari, it’s classically hand-tailored – but wait – in Japan?! This is a traditional Chinese style frock. Also, because of it’s classic design and the handcrafting techniques used in it’s construction, I can’t tell it’s exact age. So many mysterious and conflicting clues – like when agents are “hiding in plain sight”. Perfect disguise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Anyway, after hats off to my craft and fellow operatives, I don’t have to worry about those twists and turns because this case is closed. Now all that’s left to do is declassify the file and enjoy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

MORGANA MARTIN THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM

OH, MY. HOW COULD I POSSIBLY PART WITH THIS 1940’S CAPE – COAT?

Oh, well. It won’t take up much room (excepting for those shoulder pads!) Once I tried it on again, there was no question. It’s even got pockets! Easy wear over slacks as well as eveningwear (and jeans). We’re almost done with the coat closet. Stay tuned.

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM

UH – OH! ANOTHER MID-CENTURY SWING COAT THAT I CANNOT PART WITH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

OK. I had very good intentions to clear out the evidence locker but, sometimes, a file turns up in the vetting which just has too much forensic value to let go. What features of this garment are important? 1. The nubby texture of the wool fabric is unusual and adds warmth 2. 3/4 length is very comfortable, stylish and convenient 3. Bracelet length sleeves look great with gloves and make it easier to read my watch 4. The plastic buttons have a few of the nubs that are faceted and reflect light like little crystals – BRILLIANT! 5 It was sold in one of my favorite vintage-era department stores 6. Silky black lining is perfection 7. The wide lapels are perfect for displaying my collection of vintage brooches 8. It fits me beautifully.

There. No one can argue with that logic. The project goes on. Stay tuned . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM

“HEY, LUCY . . . . .!” EARLY 1950’S SWING COAT IN FAUX BEAVER

I was thinking I would sell this coat, so I tried it on again and said “Nuh-uh!”. It’s SO neat. Just couldn’t think of parting with it yet. It’s completely open from the button closure at top, with a swing shape. But, also very warm. The synthetic faux fur looks like beaver and is very snuggly, as well as absolutely cruelty-free. Couldn’t be better – this is the future!

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM

OPEN-FRONT COAT FROM THE FIFTIES OR EARLY SIXTIES

This is a casual coat from post-WWII mid-century that closes with one hidden button and loop at the waistline. It’s got specialized tailoring details that are my favorite part. The wool fabric is a great “tweed” with fall colors, so a good choice for September. The brown lining is shiny and silky but it’s also got a decorative border above the hem that is embroidered in glossy brown thread. Hidden, but pretty!

See above how the pockets are accented with fabric-covered buckles that don’t do anything but look smart. Unfortunately, the pockets are only deep enough for a tissue or a small coin-purse, but that’s OK. I’ll enjoy wearing it on walks and I can still stop at the corner store. The neckline area, just above the collarbones, is accented with tabs and buttons which also don’t do anything but look stylish. And, the back vent in the hemline is practical but adds the look of good design. A winner!

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM