October 13, 2011

On the hunt for a new vintage winter coat

Day 286 of Vintage 365


Upon waking this morning it struck me that I'm ready for cold weather. For nights that get dark before rush hour, for seeing my breath as the bitingly crisp air greets me in the snowy morns, for mugs of cocoa so big, deep, and warm they could double as hot tubs.

It's easy to idealize springs, summer and fall, but winter - with it's endless snow banks, dangerously icy roads, and mandatory layers of clothing can be a lot trickier to wax poetically about. And yet, here in the midst of a lovely autumn, with the memory of a painfully hot summer still seared into my brain, I cannot help but get a little giddy about the positive elements of the winter that lays ahead of us.

One thing I need (desperately) though before we shake hands with Old Man Winter again, is a cold weather coat. I have toppers to see me through the three warmer seasons of the year, but two years ago my beloved winter coat went to the big closet in the sky - or at least it tried it. Not being able to find a suitable substitute, I pushed it for a couple more winters, but (and believe we when I say it pains me to do this) I know it simply must be retired.

A black, full length, incredibly vintage looking (though I believe it was made in the 80s, based on the font used in the tag and the sizing) princess coat that I bought for $100 (a huge sum to me at the time) at one of my favourite consignment stores when I was eighteen and living on my own in Calgary, this coat saw me through winters in two countries and three provinces. It's long past it's prime though, quite threadbare, has been mended more times than I can count, and is no longer to able to keep out the brutal Canadian chill as well as it should.

While I could pop over to the mall and pick up any old modern coat, that's not not how I roll. I know that I won't find the exact same coat I've worn for nearly a decade again, but - as it was, unquestionably, the best and most beautiful winter coat I've ever owned - I'd like to unearth something similar.

The coat needs to be long and (ideally) fitted, fend of the wrath of winter, contain as little wool as possible (as my skin is terribly allergic to wool), and look (if not actually be) wonderfully 1940s or 50s style. Oh, and it absolutely must not break the bank. If if wants to look like the stunning, incomparably glamorous number below, all the better.

{Gorgeous vintage winter coat from the pages of 1957/1958 Fall Winter Montgomery Ward catalog - don't you just adore the silky fur lining? Image via Touch of Retro on Flickr.}

Ok, in reality, gorgeous as it is, I think the 1950s coat above wouldn't quite pass muster on a freezing cold, wildly winding -30C January morning at the bus stop, but if I was in the market for a more swingy (instead of fitted) winter coat in a timeless hue, that would fit the bill rather nicely.

I've made peace with the fact that I won't be able to replace my beloved black princess coat with an exact duplicate, but as winter draws nearer with each jewel toned leaf that tumbles to the ground, I know that I need to step up the pace of my search and find another coat that I'll (hopefully) adore - and get as much wear out of - as much.

With the clock ticking down and snow probably not that terribly far away at this point (this being Canada after all!), I'm off to start trawling the online waters for a new vintage winter coat that will really ensure I'm properly ready to face the next season when it barges onto the scene.

(If you have any favourite sources for vintage outwear, by all means feel free to let me know in the comments.)


  1. http://www.coutureallure.com/products/vintage-50s-princess-coat-charcoal-wool-medium-bust-38
    was this like your coat? kind of expensive, but i thought it was pretty....good luck on your hunt! -k

  2. I just discovered your fabulous blog, and I am so glad I did. It's gorgeous, and it really connects with my vintage-lovin' heart. (I'm now following, plus I grabbed your button.)

    I have 2 blogs, one is a classic movie review blog, the other is what I call my "beautiful things" blog...a bit of all the things I find beautiful---afternoon tea, genealogy, vintage treasures, family, etc.

    About that coat---it's beautiful. I love it. But I must tell you, unlike you, I am not ready for winter. Though raised in Pennsylvania, most of my adult life has been lived in Florida, so now that I'm back in a winter climate, I'm finding I really prefer year-round warmth. But a coat like that could almost make the winter bearable.


  3. oh my gosh, my mother has a coat that looks like the lining! It was her coat she got when she got married in 1958.

  4. Hi ladies,

    Many thanks for your lovely comments.

    Patti, I'm delighted that you discovered Chronically Vintage and shared your thoughts with me (thank you!). I hope that winter takes it's sweet time in reaching you this year, as I can relate to those times when one is definitely not in the mood for Old Man Winter to pop up again!

    Kathie, your mom's coat sounds gorgeous. How wonderfully special that she still has it 51 years after she got it. Proof that they just don't make (most) garments like used to.

    K, that coat is 100% what I'm looking for. The cut, colour, style, it's all sublime! The price tag (especially factoring that they want so much to ship to Canada) is quite hefty though, so for the moment I'll put it at the top of the "maybe list", but still keep looking for something that be easier on the wallet. I truly appreciate that you shared that link with me and really do adore that coat, thank you!!!

    Wishing you all a gorgeous Friday & weekend ahead, sweet gals!


  5. Happy anniversary, sweetie. I just ordered K's coat.

  6. *squeeeeee*!! i can't tell you how very happy i am that 1) the coat is what you dreamed of and 2) you have that sweet blessing of a husband to give it to you!!
    you have totally made my day with that news!!
    may you wear it in the best of health, happiness and warmth! and can you believe that i found it b/c i couldn't remember what "princess cut" was and googled it???
    many good wishes, k(elly)
    ps. could you post a picture of it when you get it? you can take off your head if you want to :)

  7. Hi Kelly,

    Thank you so much for your comments - both the first one which lead to finding the coat, and the second one today that's bubbling with cheerful excitement!

    I truly owe you a great debt of gratitude for helping me find (after 2+ years of searching) a new vintage winter coat. If I could, I would give you the biggest thank you hug!!!

    Definitely, I was already planning just such a follow up post, and will be sure to credit finding the coat back to you when I do (if you have a blog you'd like me to link to in the post, please let me know).

    My sweet husband truly spoiled me by getting the coat for me (I'd told him earlier that day how much I loved it), and again, I have you to thank for it, too!

    Endless hugs & thanks!!!

  8. miss jessica~i would hug you right back!! you do not need to credit me at all!! i don't have a blog, i'm just a reader. it was Divine that it worked out this way. i am beyond happy that you found the perfect thing-and i am ever hopeful that the wool won't itch you.
    can't wait for the picture! have a wonderful day!