Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Skinny -- Winter Coat Fashion of 1935

So, we bought Seventeen magazines from the 1970s, as I shared with you a few weeks ago.  But we also bought a stack of Ladies' Home Journal magazines from the 1930s at the same time.  In the October 1935 issue, I was struck by their fashion spread with winter coats.  

Of course, I was.  We are bleeding hearts when it comes to vintage coats.  We buy them whenever we find them abandoned in a thrift store or at an estate sale.  People have even just given us their vintage coats they don't want anymore; they know we will love them unconditionally.  One of us Blackbirds (who shall remain nameless, ahem...) has a collection of coats.  She specializes in Persian lamb coats, but loves them all in their turns.

I know she will appreciate this post -- and that she will try them all on in her mind.  The text included is by Julia Coburn, and the photographs are by Fowler-Bagby.  I hope you enjoy a trip back to the fall of 1935!


The Question of Color for Your Winter Coat

It's perfectly true that a black winter coat is the most practical thing you can have.  No matching problem on accessories, and a great choice of colors in dresses, if you don't want all black.

Black is distinguished; it is sophisticated and it can be young, like the coat on the left.  A smooth soft fabric, buttoned down the front, with a turn-down collar of Persian lamb, and a soft flare to its skirt.  But would you like to try your hand with color?

Brown is, of course, the first thing you think of in the way of color, the time-honored alternate for black.  Nice with green dresses, gold dresses, rusty reds, as well as matching brown.  Beautiful with beaver or mink collar, for an all-brown coat.  The one at the right on the opposite page (photo below) uses cross fox with all its varied tones, to lend interest to the coat.  Long-haired furs are very fashionable -- the favorite silver fox, cross fox, light foxes, and very light-colored lynx and wolf, giving contrast to deep winter shades. 


In the brown coat note the tiny flecks of color in the brown, like pin dots.  They are made by colored mohair woven into the fabric.  The coat fabrics have interesting weaves this fall.  Note the sleeve fullness, coming from the back; the way the coat wraps way over to the side, held by a belt of the fabric; and the easy flare to the skirt, worn about two inches shorter than last year.  All these are new fashion points to consider when you buy a winter coat, if you want it to look really new.

If you're bored with brown, look at the gorgeous copper shade on the girl who is stepping up.  Nobody could possibly mistake that for last year's coat.  First its color, which blends beautifully with brown accessories and yet in itself is so much more exciting.  Can't you imagine it with deep auburn hair?  Think of a gray dress with it, matching the fox.  Or almost any shade of green.  Or a pinky beige.  Now look at its other points of newness: The slightly bloused back; the collar of fox mounted on fabric, adjustable, and giving a becoming softness.  Belted in the fabric, as the brown coat is, and again with a generous lap to the side.  Fortunate you are if you can find brown suede step-in pumps banded in calf in just the copper color of the coat, like those in the picture.  For shoes this year can have interesting color effects, and still be in the best of taste.  Experiment a little with shoe colors too.  Green, green and brown combined, and wine red are some of the interesting new shoe ideas to be found in the better shops.

To show you on of the wonderful new wine reds for this winter, we have chosen the perfectly stunning suit worn by the lady with the dachshund.  This type of suit is definitely a luxury, and for the woman who maintains a varied wardrobe.  The coat is long enough to wear over a frock.  The blouse and lining of the coat are of a wool shell-knit fabric in a shade of blue that looks shimmery because two different tones are used.  The coat and skirt are made of a rough soft woolen, just formal enough for the mushroom collar of beaver.  Note how the coat buttons from below the collar to well below the waistline.  Before long we may be having coats with as many buttons as shirtwaist dresses.  If you want to see a new and perfectly stunning pair of gloves, look at those she is wearing with this suit.  They are of suede, with palms, binding and lacing of the gauntlet cuffs of calf.  This year there are some happy mediums in gloves between stark simplicity and overfussy trimming.  In the case of gloves, as with so many of the things you will buy this fall, it would be wise to go shopping with an open mind.

There is one more exhibit in the coat-color family -- green.  For sports coats, you will find gay, vivid greens, a color that makes vivid contrast for fall's browns.  For the all-purpose winter coat, you will probably be more likely to choose an olive shade, of which there are darker and lighter versions.  The one worn by the girl in the center on this page has kolinsky collar and -- big fashion news -- fur cuffs.  Put together, they form a very convenient muff.  The definite flare in this coat is very important.  The flared coat, if worn short enough, is very young looking.  And you can get one in which the flare is put in at the side seam in such a way that it's a simple operation to have it taken out, if you should tire of it.

With all the new ideas there are in winter coats this year, you certainly owe it to yourself to get one that looks new.

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We don't have currently have any coats in the shop from the 1930s, but we do have this amazing fox fur collar coat!

1960s Belson Tar Shire Wool and Fur Coat
Available here.

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