A DISTINCTIVE 1950’s WOOL COAT BY A FAVORITE MAKER – FASHIONBILT

Although, at first glance, this looks like another standard 1950’s winter coat it has several features which set it apart. The fur collar has been dyed in a distinctive pattern. The hip pockets are a very different style, though plenty deep for hands, etc. Also, the fabric, rather than being the usual flat weave, is a boucle’. That’s not frequent on these coats at all, in my experience.

So, the general rules don’t always apply, which makes the sleuthing fascinating. And, I love coming across a favorite brand from back in the day. Fashionbilt consistently made stylish coats for the middleclass market that always impressed me with their design and quality, so these exceptional details are no surprise.

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM

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

LET’S GO UPTOWN AGAIN IN A BEAUTIFUL 1950’S CASHMERE(?) COAT WITH MINK COLLAR

Our investigator is a quick-change artiest, no? Never would she be suspected of having spent last evening in a dance hall, being thrown over the heads and through the legs of downtown boys and laughing all the way. Nope, this lady’s got a pedigree even though she’s not associated with any old family name.

The only identification remaining is a Union Garment Workers tag. But, we know that some powerful force (maybe old money?) was pulling the strings behind the factory that put her together. Not only is the style perfectly classic but the materials leave little question about their quality. Though not top-of-the-line, the wool shell, which feels for all the world like cashmere, is beautiful and soft. The perfect lining, which could be silk, is like a caress against the skin. Sturdy, stylish buttons and practical pockets make the tailoring elegant. The careful attachment of the fur collar, which can easily be removed and replaced whenever the coat is cleaned, shows that this is a high-quality design.

Therefore, our investigator can travel in the environs of high society. Later on, we’ll probably see disguises which would allow her to actually breach the gates of Fifth Avenue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM

1970’S FAUX CASHMERE LONG COAT IN AN UNUSUAL COLOR

The last “keeper” of the vetting process. I’m giving it the space due to its practicality. There’s a big nod to 1950’s styles (look at the molded buttons), looks and feels almost like cashmere (really!) but requires no protection from moths. It’s also a funky color that is particularly flattering to my complexion. Sounds like solid logic to me . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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

SOPHISTICATED SPRING COAT FROM THE MID-CENTURY

Despite the uptown appearance, this coat is made of humble fabric but expertly done. Not sure when it was created – could be anywhere from the 1940’s to the very early 1960’s – but it follows the pattern of economy that my recent posts have been showing. However, though it has no labels, I suspect that it was not made at home but was made commercially. It is really well-done and beautifully-designed with seaming that gives it a special fit and flare shape. It’s still got great shoulders, too.

And, of course, the hip pockets that are so important and useful on a good coat. The best ones are made like these last three I’ve shown which hide the pockets so well in the design that they are almost invisible.

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM

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