STUNNING 1959 Hand-Tailored "Cashmere DeLuxe" Overcoat from Arnold Constable. A COAT WITH STORIES!

Discussion in 'Classifieds' started by tweedydon, Feb 18, 2018.

  1. tweedydon

    tweedydon Call Me a Cab

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    STUNNING 1959 Hand-Tailored "Cashmere DeLuxe" Overcoat from Arnold Constable.

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    The background...

    NB: If you wish, please skip straight to the coat's description, below!

    It's 1959. Eisenhower is President. The United States now consists of 49 states, after the admission of Alaska in January. (Hawaii is going to be admitted soon, too, bringing the number to 50.) You tried to get the kids interested in this, but to no avail. Mary is far more excited about the new Disney movie, *sleeping Beauty*, and James can't talk of anything except his future career as an astronaut now that NASA has announced the names of the "Mercury Seven" who'll train for the first manned space flights. You can't blame him, really--we're on the brink of a major breakthrough, and no doubt by the he's vacationing with his family he'll be taking them to the Moon and not Nantucket! At least his wife won't spend the whole vacation on the 'phone to her mother--they'll never be able to stretch the wires up there!

    But even though space travel is exciting it's overshadowed by your new car--a gorgeous '59 Cadillac Series 6200 Hard Top Sedan. Jet black, buckets of chrome, serious fins, and the most advanced automotive technology on the planet--this car is gorgeous, and alone shows that American automotive engineering will always be the best in the world. You're pleased that you had the wit to insist that if you moved to the suburbs you'd have to buy a car of your choosing--and while Madge put her foot down on the convertible Caddy the sedan is almost as good. You joked that if she wanted a sedan you could always buy one of those new electric cars--the "Henney Kilowatt"--that are now being made, pretty clearly as novelties. Small, electric--they're not serious automobiles, and they'll never catch on. Bigger is better--and safer, too.

    Talking of purchases--Constable's called your secretary this afternoon, reminding you that your coat is ready for collection. Sure, it's June, and you won't need it for several months--but you believe in thinking ahead. This served you well in France during the war, and it's made you the youngest VP in the company. So while you might well bake in that thick cashmere in the sweltering heat of a New York summer you'll love it come winter-time. And the coat will please Madge, too. She loves Constable's--and you can see why. You'll have to ask the cab to let you off a block away as otherwise you'll have to dart through the serried ranks of chauffeured limos that line the street outside the store waiting for their owners to return from shopping. Founded in 1825 Constable's is still THE Department store in New York--a position cemented by Eleanor Roosevelt's love for it. And you can see why--it's not called "The Palace of Trade" for nothing, and it simply oozes luxury and prosperity. But it's not flashy--far from it. Indeed, one of the reasons you and Madge like it is because it sells items that are built to last--a feature that as a child of the Depression you truly appreciate. Your coat will easily see you out, and you'll probably even leave it to James. Heck, you might even wear it to visit him at his Moon vacation home when he has a family of his own! But that's a long way away, of course..... 1985, or thereabouts, when space flight will be like taking an airliner. Expensive, not for everyone, but a once a year treat for people like you. You smile a little as you think of wearing your coat under a Moon dome. You'll probably need it as it'll be cold up there!


    The original owner, and his world....

    Unfortunately, we don't know much about the original owner of this coat--but we do know some things, and can speculate about others. He was, obviously, fairly wealthy--Constable's really was THE Department store in 1959, and this coat was the top of the line for the top of the line store. It would have been exceptionally expensive--although worth it, since it was indeed built to last. He was likely in early middle age-old enough to afford a coat like this, and yet young enough to want it, both for style and also longevity. Given his likely age and social status he probably served overseas in the Second War as an officer. He was almost certainly married, possibly with two children.... Whose sticky fingers were, thankfully, kept from the coat!

    And he lived in a world that was very different from ours. The South was still legally segregated--as was the North, at least de facto. Most young fathers would have served in the Second World War. Rock and roll was a dangerous, new-found influence, condemned in the person of Elvis Presley as "degenerate" by the likes of Frank Sinatra. Television was in its infancy. He would have had a set--ONE set--in black and white... and if you missed a show that was it. There were no cell phones. (The comment above about stretching telephone lines to the moon was a speculation from Asimov's *I, Robot* , published between 1940 and 1950.) There were no home computers. The original owner of this coat would be astounded to hear that it was being put up for sale on a system which would allow someone anywhere in the world to see it and buy it, and pay for it instantly using electronically-based currency. (Even credit cards lay in the future in 1959... let alone PayPal or Bitcoin!) And he'd be very, very amused to hear that in the future whole communities of people would talk by computer about the finer points of the clothing (from Brooks Brothers, Bonwit Teller, J. Press, Constable's, and his old service A2) that he wore everyday!
     
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  2. tweedydon

    tweedydon Call Me a Cab

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    The coat itself...

    This coat comes from that world--and so has a wealth of stories that it could tell.

    As noted above, it is cut from seriously luxurious camel-coloured cashmere. 1950s cashmere is a true luxury fabric, and Constable's used the best of the best. The tailoring of the coat does full justice to the cloth. Cut with a three button front this features lapped seams with double stitching along the sleeves and shoulders. There are also lapped seams around the two deep flapped patch pockets on the front. The coat is fully canvassed, and fully lined. It features ornamental turn-back cuffs. It has a single centre hook vent. It has very natural shoulders.

    It also features a lovely original label, which boasts that this is made "In The Custom manner".... that is, it features hand-tailoring throughout. And this is very much in evidence; there is hand-done pick stitching on the lapels, along the front of the placket, and even on the underside of the pocket flaps. The lining also features hand-sewn piping, and all of the buttonholes are hand-made. It has two deep interior pockets.It was, of course, Union Made in the USA.

    This coat is in absolutely excellent condition--it was clearly worn sparingly, and treasured, and very well looked after. Given that this is almost 60 years old this is a testament both to the quality of the garment and also how long clothes can last if they are well-made to begin with and looked after!

    This does have two small flaws--two very tiny pinholes on the front near the hem. These cannot be seen when worn, and are too small both to be worth reweaving or to cause concern about snagging. I would advise leaving them alone!

    Given the quality, condition, and history of this coat, it is an absolute bargain at just $185, or offer, boxed, shipped, and insured in the USA. International inquiries are welcome, with shipping at cost.

    This is a truly beautiful coat with a wonderful history. You couldn't even get a new coat from J. Crew for this price... so it really is a bargain!

    Measurements:

    Chest: 23
    Sleeve: 26 1/2 (+1)
    Shoulder: 18 1/4
    Length (BOC): 44

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    Last edited: Feb 19, 2018
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  3. Persimmon

    Persimmon One of the Regulars

    Messages:
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    Nottingham
    This is a truly beautiful coat with a wonderful history. You couldn't even get a new coat from J. Crew for this price... so it really is a bargain!

    Measurements:

    Chest: 23



    And it states that it is a 23inch ??? Chest ?
    Can you confirm
     
  4. tweedydon

    tweedydon Call Me a Cab

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    Yes, that's correct! This is the measurement from armpit to armpit, taken buttoned but not stretched. Please see the measuring guide here:

    https://www.askandyaboutclothes.com/clothing/style-tips/how-to-measure-a-jacket/
     
  5. Persimmon

    Persimmon One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    134
    Location:
    Nottingham
    The chest size is normally listed and labelled as 38 or 40 or 42 or 44 etc etc

    Pit to pit sizes are normally shown as 20 inches - 21.5 inches - 23 inches etc etc or such like.
     
  6. tweedydon

    tweedydon Call Me a Cab

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    Thanks for the advice!

    I quote chest sizes where these are labeled, but also always provide the measurements to the nearest 1/8". While leather jackets are rarely altered, other clothing items sometimes are, and so might not conform to the stated size label.
    Moreover, as we all know, labeled chest sizes vary between makers, and also between eras--a vintage "40" is often considerably smaller than a contemporary "40" for example. And there's also the issue of vintage tag sizes (such as the 1950s and 1960s "Medium Long", or "ML") that are no longer used, and so wouldn't be very helpful to a contemporary audience.
     
  7. SGTROCK

    SGTROCK One of the Regulars

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Louisiana
    Would you say this is a 42L? Has everything I want except peak lapels, but sure is temping
     
  8. tweedydon

    tweedydon Call Me a Cab

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    I think it would work well for a 42L, depending on how you layer! I've just tried it on over an oversized sweatshirt (I'm a 40L) and I would say it was one size too large for me.

    Offers are very welcome!
     
  9. redlinerobert

    redlinerobert One of the Regulars

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    Location:
    Central coast, CA
    What are you asking? I don't see a price.
     
  10. tweedydon

    tweedydon Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Thanks for your interest! I just highlighted the price--but stress that offers are very welcome!!

    "Given the quality, condition, and history of this coat, it is an absolute bargain at just $185, OR OFFER, boxed, shipped, and insured in the USA."
     
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  11. 3fingers

    3fingers One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,794
    Location:
    Illinois
    It won't fit me, but it is a beautiful coat. Good luck.
     
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  12. tweedydon

    tweedydon Call Me a Cab

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    SOLD!
     

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