Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Forstmann Wool Fashion (1946-1947)

Good morning!

Well, it's finally happened-- touch down, snow, in Tennessee!! I braved the icy roads in Inglewood, slip slid down a large hill to Ellington Parkway, and made it all the way to an 8 AM doctor's appointment on West End around 7:50....only to find the office shuttered. No receptionist, no doctors...nada. I rapped at the door for a minute in my snow dusted mittens, and then shuffled back to my car and headed towards the library. I got a call apologizing and offering to reschedule on Thursday around the time I got to work, but I was honestly too high on the residual "TOWANDA!" adrenaline of braving the ice to be peeved at them. Pray that the ice situation has resolved itself by nightfall, but I think we ought to be good.

Speaking of cold weather, and its accompanying accoutrements, I did a post last year on Forstmann wool, but only spanning 1950-1956. When I shifted the search parameters a little further back, I found a whole new slew of goodies. Folks, it's time to turn back your fashion clock to year of our Lord 1946-1947 for a tailored, post-war take on winter wear!

One of my problems in buying fifties' and sixties' coats, and pretend like I don't try on every coat "of a certain age" at every Goodwilll trip I have ever made, is that 80% of them seem to be made for a five foot tall, three hundred pound elderly woman. Stout isn't even the word-- you'd have to be a Marie Dressler battleship of a woman to even rate the drape of these coats, and then what. Maybe proportions just have a tendency to distort on my six foot frame, but I have tried on so many coats and gone "Wha...why?!" While the shoulders fit and the mink collar sure does look swell buttoned up under my chin, there is no confusion on whether or not I'm wearing "a coat that belongs to someone else" (as if finding sixty year old half finished rolls of Lifesavers and old ticket stubs wasn't reminder enough-- true stories). The "swing coat" was a popular winter wardrobe staple of the midcentury, but I insist that it only looks good on a) extremely petite, thin women, who look cute in a greatcoat that literally overwhelms and thus underlines their small figures or b) extremely short, completely round women and NO ONE in between. Which is why I love these tailored, chic little wool Ike-jacket style jackets. PLEASE MORE OF THESE THANKS.

Doesn't this remind you of a combination of Diana Vreeland in the early mid century (think Kay Thompson in Funny Face for closer reference) and my beloved Edie Beale ("This is the best costume for the daaay..." is still my little daily affirmation when facing my closet)? And what is with the predominance of walking sticks/umrellas/things to have in hand to beat blaggards away from the path with? Very Victorian if you ask me. I am dying over her heavy gold chain bracelet, wide suede belt, campaign-style-slung-over-shoulders jacket, and that red head wrap. I don't think I could pull it off, but I think I could have fun trying.

This is the kind of forties "swaggering fashion" (in the old sense of the word) that I can really get behind. Ruggedly high end, matchy matchy with a touch of chutzpah (in this case, chutzpah directly translates into "that hat"). I could imagine JC or Barbara Stanwyck or maybe Maureen O'Hara walking into the Brown Derby on a business lunch in an outfit like this. Do you see the pockets? Practicality is important!!

This outfit is completely made by the matching hat. The capelet attached to the shoulders of this princess cut coat is lovely, but you can't beat ostrich plumes for high fashion. It's a nice touch that the gloves have just a tiny, tiny drop of pink coloring to them to match the muted cherry red of the ensemble. Also, it has taken me this entire post to notice that the backdrops of each fashion spread are not just comprised of coordinating colors, but actually show a close up of the material of each coat. Doesn't it look luxe?

I love the lines of this green jacket so much I'm willing to overlook the Emerald City styling of the fashion set up. Look at the quarter sized cloth covered buttons, and that large gold brooch on the lapel. I'll take one in every color, thank you.

Something about this model-- is it the hair being down? The tilt of her head?-- reminds me of early Yvonne de Carlo. Also, I just bought an off white Lilli Ann coat that looks almost exactly like this, last month at the flea market, and I've been trying to figure out how to wear the beltless, button less piece-- here you go!

Last but not least:

Oh. YES! I usually hate chocolate brown, but I would wear this in a heartbeat. Could you even fit in a doorframe with this hat? Dkdc, bro (don't know, don't care), I'm wearing it anyway. Isn't that a gorgeous, crazy, perfect piece of heaven right there? Pheasant feathers. Enough said! I wish she would borrow the green gloves from the girl-before-last's outfit, but other than that, perfect 10!

So tell me-- what has been on your fashion radar as winter rears its ugly head? Which of these outfits would you like to copy? Do you have any stellar vintage coats in your collection? Let's talk!

That's all for today, I gotta get back to work, but I will see you tomorrow right back here! Have a great Tuesday! Til then.


  1. i take the outfit with the green coat!
    it´s so clean and lives from the colors, thats my fav.....
    and i have a dark green (green and black tweed) 50´s coat, a sweater in that cinnamon shade and several gray skirts - if i´m in the mood i make pictures.

  2. I just bought an open swing coat on eBay. It's a black and cream houndstooth with no buttons. It's great! EXCEPT the dealer failed to note or show a couple of broken metal button shanks from two missing decorative buttons. I cannot remove these without damaging the coat. These are placed in RATHER unfortunate anatomical locations, so I have to find just the right ( and I mean that) buttons to cover these nubbins. Am I being clear here? "Talk to the eyes, buddy, not the coat."

  3. I love Forstmann woolens. Unfortunately we don't find many of them in California. I have been on the hunt as we have a trip planned to Idaho in January. I just have to take my floor length belted black 70s cashmere coat instead. But I am taking note of the gloves and the jewels to make a statement. Personally I like the second black and white tweedy look myself, even down to that scarf style hat. Great job!



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