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New Coat/Style Advice From Mom

Bobbi B.

New in Town
Messages
37
Location
Indianapolis
After hankering after it for about a year, I finally ordered a proper-looking repro '40s coat for winter (you Angelinos may not be familar with our quaint Midwestern weather patterns -- lucky you!). I'll try to attach a photo from the catalog. (If anyone wants a link to the source, ask). It hasn't arrived yet, hoping it will make it by Thanksgiving.

Dropped a note to Mom about it, mentioning it would be fun to have some snapshots taken on the steps at the Naval Reserve Armory, a wonderful later-30s survival in town (what the Navy is doing this far inland, I'll never know), if I found shoes that looked right. Here's her advice (with permission):

"Shoes we wore then were: sandals with a wedge heel, or ballet slippers, or heels with a platform sole.* And of course saddle shoes or penny loafers.

"Wore blue jeans with the legs rolled up to mid calf and a man's white dress shirt tied up at the waist. Then, if you had your hair in pincurls you wore a scarf tied in the front, turban style. Fold scarf in half, put it over your head with the point at your forehead, pull ends up over your ears and tie ends together over point of scarf, then pull scarf up over the tied ends and tie ends again. What a fetching look!

"We wore skirts at mid calf, sweater over the skirt with a thin belt over the sweater at the waist. Ah, those were the days."

* Platforms! Consider that Mother at 5'7" was the shortest girl in her family -- her sisters are all over 6', a fate I miss by about the thickness of a tall platform sole... And here I was thinking the platforms I'd seen online, with proper pre-New Look rounded toe, were unauthentic. (I loathe pointy toes as only a tall farmgirl can).

...And I think I know where to find just the pair of shoes. Now I need to find a sailor with whom to pose. A very tall sailor! Or a shorter one; I already own saddle shoes.

BB
 

Bobbi B.

New in Town
Messages
37
Location
Indianapolis
It's a reproduction, Lauren. I don't know how the fabric will look and feel (some modern synthetic), but the design, oh my! (Here it is, a little way down the page). They're temporarily out of stock on anything smaller than a 12, though.

The shop is more rockabilly than swing but has quite a selection.. I'd put off ordering, thinking to drop by and have a closer look first; it's not a terribly long trip from the circle city, but between their hours and mine, it never happened.

As an aside, their location is about as cool an address as you can find in Indiana without being on Indiana Avenue, where all the best clubs (think Lionel Hampton and peers) once were. (And where the restored Madame C. J. Walker Theatre still stands, built by America's first woman to become a millionairess from her own work). What could possibly offer cooler resonance than that, hereabouts? We're infamously short of coolth, after all. Only one thing. (Or perhaps two things, as Bettie Page was a regular attendee at a Bible Camp in the same general area -- no, that's no joke, she really truly was).

BB
 

Lauren

Distinguished Service Award
Messages
5,060
Location
Sunny California
Wow! I am so impressed! Most reproductions don't look that authentic! You are gunna knock 'em dead in that number!

Lauren
 

Bobbi B.

New in Town
Messages
37
Location
Indianapolis
Coat has arrived, looks wonderful and the fabric feels right, a very dark charcoal shade. The material is fairly lightweight but it's fully lined, has an internal button at the lap, it's a for-real, wearable daily coat.

...And the sizing is pure 1940s, which means I'm a 2X/14 instead of a 1X/12. So it will have to be exchanged. (Sizing creep is at least one step between the '40s and now, sometimes two, even more for cheaper modern clothing sizes -- yet shoe sizes have always been bigger for a given size as the prices go up! Go figure). That was the one item for which they didn't have a measured sizing chart, so I guessed. Bad guess!

But the styling is soooooo neat!

(The good news is, the shoes that came with fit very well and look sweet. Slingbacks, they won't see much use 'til springtime. I've already got good winter '40s heels).
 

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