Category Archives: outerwear

Keeping Warm in the 1930s- Overcoats!

Now that’s we’ve taken a quick look at what goes on underneath, let’s skip to what goes on top!  Many gals have mentioned that layering is what’s needed, since it can be frigid inside and then toasty indoors.  Luckily, we can remove the overcoat.

Unlike today, when a girl can choose (or thrift, or make) several coats in one season, our counterparts in the 1930s would have to choose very wisely.  Most women had one overcoat, and that coat had to last through several winters.  Because of that, overcoats needed to be chosen with great care and thought.  It had to match your wardrobe, go with your other clothing, and fit your unique style.  This is why, often times, vintage overcoats could be a bit “bland”.  The flashy ones were fun, but were more the luxury of women who could afford to have an alternate coat- or else the purchase could be regretted the following year when the fashion forward coat was suddenly out of style!  It’s actually a great lesson to take with us into how we select our wardrobe today.  Think of it as quality over quantity- or choose a great basic to mix with more inexpensive “fun” pieces, like a quirky hat, bag, or brooch.

However, I am in LOVE with all these more fashion forward versions of coats below.  They scream the era they’re from, but aren’t they just delightful with their topstitching detail?  (Actually, they’re a glimpse of things to come for Wearing History, since I’ve been back puttering away at a pattern with similar detailing, but from a different era).

National Bellas Hess- Fall and Winter 1937-1938

The one below has a definate “Gay 90’s” flair, as they called it in the mid to late 30s. What a time to harken back to the 1890s! It’s kind of funny, actually- our harkening to 40 years prior would put us in the 1970’s, and we can’t say that there aren’t fashions floating around today that were influenced by the recent past.

National Bellas Hess- Fall and Winter 1937-1938

I’ve got more great coat images I can share that fall more in line with “warmth” than “chic”, but these were so fun I had to share.

For past posts of mine with images of overcoats, check out these links:

 Images posted prior to my migration to a blog are fuzzy, but if you click on the image it will take you to a nice clear version.
Have a great weekend!

>Stormy Weather Inspirations- Winter Coats Circa 1934


 With much of the country covered in snow I felt ashamed to be continuing my little sportswear summer clothes posts, so today I have loads of scans of nice and toasty 1930s coats.  These are from an undated catalog, but by the styles throughout this catalog I’m guessing it’s from around 1934.  Even if you’re not a fur gal, you could make any of these up in a nice faux fur, or just omit the fur altogether.  Maybe they can serve as inspiration for my Nora Charles Coat pattern, or maybe you can jazz up a coat you already have with fun detachable cuffs and collar.  I was tickled to see another example of my favorite coat of the moment, the polo coat.  I really do need to make myself up one of those… and I do happen to have a stash of vintage camel hair yardage I’m commandeered from my husband…
Pic overload! Like usual, click on the pictures for a hi res copy :)


Totally off topic, but I was watching “On the Avenue” today and I noticed in the opening scene they used the same beds they used for “The Great Ziegfeld” a year earlier. I just love noticing little things like that :) Apologies if the sound isn’t good… I can’t check it on my computer since I don’t have streaming audio.

>The Answers to the Coat Question- The Polo Coat, 1934

>I know I’ve been tempting with beachwear lately, but today is a gloomy and rainy day, so even I’m having a hard time fantasizing about terrycloth beach pajamas right now!
What I’m craving today is this smashing Polo Coat.  I wish one would just magically appear in a light tan mohair…

click on the image for a hi res version
Apparently this was quite the style for 1934, as a quick google search showed me the results of a fabulous McCall pattern posted by a lady on the Threads website.  And another pattern added to the “someday” wish list.
click on the image for a hi res version
Also found is a little snippet from this article from the Fort Scott Tribune, 1987 
“Originating in England as a casual coat worn by polo players between periods of play, the polo coat was adopted by fashion leaders in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s when polo playing became popular here and international matches were held at Westbury, L.I.
The real heyday began when college boys went all-out for the style and it became a campus hit.”
And now that they mention it, I do remember seeing coats just like the ones pictured above in collegiate films of the mid 1930s.
Somewhat unrelated, but my search also turned up an AMAZING coat owned by the Duke of Windsor, circa 1934, on The London Lounge.  Even if you aren’t a menswear lover, you have to admire the beauty of this navy blue coat with an Astrakhan collar.  Alright, so not a polo coat, but a darn beautiful coat nonethless and from the same year.