Sunday, December 7, 2014

Coat Crazy (So Many Vintage Coats, So Little Time....)

Good evening!

Phew, the time has flown by again since I last told you about my scores-- I had a minute here and thought I would bring you up to date with the latest things dragged into my house from the outside world. Did you have a nice Thanksgiving? We spent ours up at my mother-in-law's house with a mix of Matthew's family and mine-- it was a raucous, but totally sweet, time to catch up with loved ones. I made sweet potatoes and apples, and black eyed peas and greens from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Post Punk Kitchen website-- as usual, that girl is my go-to jam for vegan-food-that-doesn't-taste-like-you're-missing-out-on-anything. Having everyone together for the holidays makes me super excited about holidays. 

But I digress. To the subject at hand, which is-- winter coats.

I'm be fresh as hell if the Feds watchin' beloved persian lamb turban.
If you're a fellow hoarder, do your collecting habits vary with the seasons? My favorite things to collect, in no particular order, are lamps (the more figural or fringed, the better), framed pictures (preferably of your Victorian forebearers or historical figures made out of painted gravel), hats (all kinds), sequined anything (esp. black or gold), vintage dresses (ones that fit me and ones that don't), coats (see below), and weird/macabre stuff (yes, thank you, please wrap that coyote skull and 1920's mourning memorial picture, stick them in the bag with the horror comic books, I'll take the lot). A trip to St. Louis the other day found me hauling back everything from thirties' hand painted china to men's platform shoes to a sixties' holographic picture of a poodle that appears to pant if you look at from differing vantage points, but also three, count 'em, three coats, when I said I was buying zero, yes really, zero coats from here on out a couple weeks ago. My closet runneth over! Having oversized feet and an accompanying dearth of shoes in my size out there in the wide world, I think I collect coats the way some women do heels-- for every outfit, turn, turn, turn, there is a vintage coat, turn turn turn...and a time to every purpose unto heaven. That purpose is probably buying more coats.

While I've been able to lay off the gas on picking up every single lamp that strikes my fancy (I'm looking at you, huge primitive sixties' lamp of criminally low price at Robinson Flea Market last weekend), again, outerwear has been messing with me in the last month or so. One, because it's the time of the year you would need a coat-- two, because the universe has been practically throwing them at me. Here I am at the aforementioned Robinson Flea Market (in its new home across from St. Joseph's on Gallatin Road) having my mom take a picture of me in the absence of a full length mirror, in the coat above:

Caught in the act... and check out that seventies' dress to my right, killin' it!
It's hard to see the detail, but it's a low-pile velvet with soft faux fur trim at the lapels and cuffs with a matching other words, an almost irresistible combination of luxe materials that remind me of a Stevie Nicks 1920's flapper coat. Yes, please. I carried it around the store for fifteen minutes and finally succumbed to its fanciness and fifteen dollar price tag. "I told myself I didn't need anymore black coats and then I decided that I did," I confessed to the cashier, and went out with it bundled into a grocery sack under my arm. At the time, I was already wearing this coat:

Which was one of the guilty St. Louis three. Six years ago or so, we visited Matthew's family for Thanksgiving in Missouri and I came with a cute cloth coat that was entirely useless against the kind of midwest winters for which the Show Me state is apparently famous. I hie'd forthwith to a Goodwill first thing and picked up a sensible sixties' black wool coat that I literally wore to tatters in the ensuing years. Only this winter, having sewn the arm hole linings for the fifth or sixth time and having lost one of the distinctive buttons, did I finally give up on the Guess-What-Missouri-is-a-Very-Cold-State coat as my go-to winter outerwear, just in time to find this one at a Savers in St. Louis. Go Cardinals, and thank you for my coats, Missouri. I had to sew up the lining of this one, too, but I guess it comes with the territory. How sharp are those lapels! I also like coats to fit me so tightly they're almost too small, and this one is per-fect (if unsuited to me raising my arms above my head or performing other stretching tasks). That hat is one of the ones from the Dickson sale in my last post, aaaaand I love it.

Me joking with cameraman Matthew about how Sears catalog models are always in mid stride and turned out
surprisingly well! Maybe that's why they did it so often! 
Unconnected to the St. Louis weather incident, and stemming from my history of riding the bus to my old job at the library, I have a latent fear of being caught in the rain or other inclement weather in insubstantial or unsuitable attire. I was wearing a full length cotton dress one time and was caught in an unexpected summer down...POUR on Church Street a couple years ago...I can remember wringing the dress out like a dish rag and looking like I'd jumped into a swimming pool when I got to the Music City Central. Keeping that in mind, I am very conscious of non-all-weather gear, which is why I haven't worn this gorgeous thing out yet, but by Godfrey I intend to, and soon! Check it out:

This was $20 on the half off day of a BLVD estate sale off of Franklin Road-- it's real rabbit fur and I think homemade? But very professionally put together. Another vintage enthusiast slash maybe reseller was adroitly slinging hangers from a rolling rack at the end of a dark hallway, I positioned myself at the end of a rack as she was at the beginning of it and sharked this guy like whoa. While she may have won the battle with a bunch of sixties' print dresses on her side of the rack, I feel like I won the war with this gem of a forties' coat. Check out the belled sleeves and slightly raised shoulder pads, I am serving Joan Crawford realness in this sucker.

St. Louis coat #2 came from another Goodwill-- I was licking my wounds after finding out a seventies' Sears Fashion Store tan suede coat with faux shearling collar was freakin' $45 (IN WHAT UNIVERSE, PLEASE, MERS GOODWILL...I was in such a foul mood after finding this price sharpie'd into one of the pockets) when I bought this weirdly poncho-like, drapey, high fashion as anything eighties' wool coat for $10. I sat on it the other day when I took it off in a too-hot-car on the way home from work, but ignore the wrinkles and embrace the drape there. While, as said before, I usually hate coats with even an inch of breathing room to spare, this one is cool because I can wear outfits with blazers under it-- plenty of room to fit a sleeve within its commodious sleeves, AND it's well draped enough to look almost tailored when I come sashaying into work (more like half awake power walking into work as I should have showed up like ten minutes earlier). The hat is McHenry's Nashville label topper with a distinctive split brim in the back-- remind me in the next couple of weeks I need to tell you what I found out about the label's history, which stretches back to the 20's in my very own home town.

Last but not least, I about lost my damn mind when I found St. Louis Coat No. 3. Things to consider:
  1. It is made to fit someone about a foot shorter and thirty pounds lighter than me.
  2. It noticeably sheds some disintegrated part of the lining when worn.
  3. My mom said it looked like a Santa Claus costume when she saw it at my house last week.
  4. "I do not even care WE ARE IN LOVE AND NOTHING CAN STOP US," said me with regard to this coat.
When I was a wee lass of thirteen running around the greater Nashville area to thrift stores and vintage stores, wanting desperately to emulate the style of my beloved David Bowie in the late sixties'/early seventies' pre-Ziggy phase, I remember finding an AMAZING...Woodstock Jenny from Forest Gump looking shearling coat at the now defunct Flashback Vintage on Elliston Place in downtown Nashville. It was hanging from part of the railing outside the second floor balcony of the shop, waving undulously in the breeze at passersby and me in particular. I can remember even now that the hand written price tag cost was $60, and my dad, admittedly lenient enough to take me to the place in the first place, would not budge on fronting me six weeks of allowance to buy the thing. "What do you want it for?" he said, doing a characteristic my-dad sigh and appraisal of the coat. "It looks like that coat Jenny wore in Forrest Gump. And it's old." "YES I KNOW DAD," I said through gritted teeth. Usually, he is 110% on my side with "if you want it, get it" a rare case of dissonance between our sympatico hoarder natures, we left coatless in 1998, and I don't think the loss of that coat has ever left me. While my style is more late forties' now and I do stick to tailored, tiny, black velvet style hats and jackets and nipped waists for the most part, there is still a part of me that pines for that ultra-boho look of the 1968-1973 period. That part of me slapped down a credit card with moxie for this $7 purchase (among the earlier mentioned poodle print and a thirties' tin cake carrier and a repro painting by Dyf) without hesitation. It doesn't suit me at all and I'm gonna wear it anyway. Do you see the metal linking closures? The white faux fur? I was helpless. Also, St. Louis has better thrift stores than us, hands down, no contest.

As a coda, don't think my coat buying is limited to just to myself! Oh, no. Matthew brought two coats home from St. Louis as well, and was nice enough to model them for me in a rare turn before rather than behind the camera (#willworkforhugs). This first coat is from a Goodwill after a nourishing, non-diet-friendly-but-oh-so-delicious meal of the local Imo's chain pizza:

Bad, right? Bad as in good!! This coat was hanging in the ladies section but was definitely a piece of gentleman's attire. What I loved about this was trying to discuss the (again, sharpie'd) price with the cashier:

Soooooo...10? 19? 109?                
It ended up being the much ballyhoo'd $10 price, which was nice, along with this, $9.99 find from Savers:

I could buy these suede and wool jackets ALL DAY for Matthew, he looks like the little 1980's celebrity he should have been in another life in them. I'm glad he doesn't mind me dictating his wardrobe because I feel like even if I chose it, it sure does reflect his "cool dude" personality!!

Well, I have to get gone, but what do you think? Which coat is the best? Do you have a particular weakness for a certain item this winter or do you still indiscriminately pick amongst the picking sites for whatever catches your eye? Do you have a go to cold weather look? What have you found lately? Let's talk!

That's all for today but I'd love to hear from you. Have a great Sunday night and we'll talk again soon! Til then.



  1. Is there a way to get the music closer to the top so one can have a soundtrack to the reading? Or I guess it's like closing credits music? (I'm the only one I know who sits through credits at the movies, and it drives most people nuts who dare go with me.) Anyway, I was listening to Charlie Parker, and that about fixed it fine for the time and no sweat. Nice articles and writings and, oh yeah, NICE COATS!!

  2. I love coats! Those are awesome.

  3. I think you need another room for a big closet for more coats. Right? Merry Christmas!

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.



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