Vintage buys: 60s style red coat

Winter coats. Shall we discuss them? Is it late enough in the year yet, or does the idea make you want to run away screaming while clutching the last mojito of summer to your heart?

This topic’s on my mind because of my new/old coat, a bright red 60s style number from a vintage shop in Boscombe, which I bought in July for 28 quid.

Red vintage coat
Now, I’ve got a bad history with winter coats. Not only am I incredibly indecisive, I am also massively tight when it comes to buying shop-bought clothes. But last year I reluctantly concluded that my TK Maxx bargain black pea-coat had given up the ghost after 4 years of hard labour, and I started to look around for a replacement.

Boy, was in I for a massive surprise. Because my shopping brain is still stuck in the early 2000s, I thought I’d get something decent for about 80 or 90 quid. Yeah, that was dumb. Here are the actual choices:

  • Get a designer ‘investment piece’ for 1000 quid and up, as fashion mags are always urging us.
  • Go to a high-end high-street place (Whistles etc) and get a fairly nice wool coat for about three hundred pounds.
  • Head a fast-fashion place and get a poorly sewn, thin polyester blend coat for about fifty to a hundred quid.
  • Make your own. I ruled this out last winter as it would cost 90 quid at least for decent fabrics, and I don’t think my skill level is up to it yet. One day.

Now maybe I’m just naive, or maybe I spent too long living in Scotland, but surely the whole point of a winter coat is to keep you warm. Polyester is going to leave you shivering, no matter how nice the design. So what I ended up doing was wearing my skanky old black coat for another winter. This involved much sewing on of buttons as they kept falling off in a strict rota arrangement, similar to the proverbial painting of the Forth Bridge.

Then this year I went for option 5:

  • Buying a vintage coat in the height of summer when they’re super cheap. Feeling v smug as a result.

I’m not saying this coat is perfect. The sleeves are a bit too short, and the armholes have been torn and carefully repaired. Also, it’s an eye-searingly bright red that brings to mind the evil dwarf’s coat in Don’t Look Now. My camera doesn’t cope well with the red spectrum, so imagine it as being slightly less tomato-y than it looks here.

But I love the silhouette, the pocket design, the pointy collar, and the in-your-face colour. And my absolute favourite thing is that it’s obviously hand-made. I can’t resist home sewn vintage clothing. I feel like I’m rescuing these pieces from the harsh world of vintage shops and bringing them home to be loved and admired.

The original buttons were red and gold and a bit 80s, I took them off before drycleaning. But I’m not sure what to replace them with.

I’ve got three vague ideas. Plain wooden buttons, red plastic buttons with a shank, or self-covered buttons in a co-ordinating red fabric, maybe a faux silk or a linen texture. I think the last one would look best, but it’s also my least favourite idea because it involves the most work (did I mention that I’m also extremely lazy?). What do you reckon?

(p.s. The only awkward thing is that I don’t know if this is actually a wool coat. It feels quite felted and thick, but who knows? In which case all my smugness is for naught and I might as well have gone to Topshop…)


18 thoughts on “Vintage buys: 60s style red coat

  1. chiquitar October 14, 2012 / 2:37 AM

    Maybe I’m stuck in the 80s, but this coat says black buttons to me.

    BTW, Hello, first time jere. Found you on the Pattern Review newsletter. =-) I’m a very newbie sewer with big dreams and distressingly little patience, and a boyfriend who DOES make muslins. He’s the sewer and the sewing machines were gifts from my mom so I get to use ’em too =-)

    • yesilikethat October 14, 2012 / 7:22 AM

      Hmmm, you could be right! I’ll have to do some experimenting. Still haven’t got round to adding new buttons but I think that’s today’s project as it’s getting colder…

  2. Janice September 17, 2012 / 7:50 PM

    I love that color! That will be a great coat.

    • yesilikethat September 18, 2012 / 8:09 PM

      Thanks Janice! Must get those buttons sorted so I can wear it when it starts to get really cold.

  3. katiekookaburra September 6, 2012 / 7:45 PM

    Wow, what a great find! If you were desperate to find out what sort of fibres it was made from, you could always see if you could find a little bit you could snip from an inside seam and do the burn test? I love doing that- although I almost set the smoke alarms off at work a while ago doing just that (turned out to be horrid melty polyester- oops!)..

    • yesilikethat September 10, 2012 / 9:23 AM

      Good idea! Will see if there’s any I can sneakily remove from the hem or something.

  4. Chuck September 5, 2012 / 4:04 PM

    Very natty! Also, quite Miu Miu. I think fabric buttons would be nicest if you could get the same colour but I sympathise with your laziness. x

  5. MariaDenmark September 4, 2012 / 5:49 PM

    What a great coat!
    I had to laugh when I read you said “my shopping brain is still stuck in the early 2000s”. Mine, too!
    It kind of freaks me out, because I remember my grandmother always saying “I remember when milk was only …”

  6. gingermakes September 3, 2012 / 6:02 PM

    Gorgeous coat! I’m so jealous! I LOVE the color, and the pockets are such a great detail! How wise of you to find a coat in the off-season, and to look past tacky buttons!

  7. byhandlondon September 1, 2012 / 12:41 PM

    BEAUTIFUL coat. I’m always going nuts over the winter coat dilemma. I vote take the 80 quid and spend it on some great coating fabric and make your own – if you don’t find a great vintage one like this first!

    Also just wanted to let you know that we’ve nominated you for some of those inter-bloggy awards – – love your blog!!

    Elisalex, Charlotte & Victoria

  8. Sam August 31, 2012 / 4:45 PM

    Lovely coat! I like Ooobop’s idea of the leather clad buttons, I think they’d look great.

  9. Joanne August 31, 2012 / 4:17 PM

    Blimey that’s a great coat – go for the last option of self-covered buttons – minimal work, maximum return. Hmmm you have scared me now – I’m making a winter coat this year, blindly ignorant to my skills not being up to it, and just pootering on regardless. Am wondering if I should rethink…

    • yesilikethat August 31, 2012 / 4:31 PM

      Oh no please do go on with your coat, I bet it will be lovely! I think you can sew anything if you put your mind to it and take it step by step. It’s more that I felt too lazy to do all the research into patterns and fabrics and techniques. You have to be in the right frame of mind for the right project and I just wasn’t in the mood to make a big coat last year.

    • yesilikethat August 31, 2012 / 4:26 PM

      That’s a really great idea, never thought of those buttons, they definitely have that vintage look to them…

  10. shivani (pins & needles) August 31, 2012 / 3:41 PM

    this is lovely – great colour! I always get stuck when it comes to choosing buttons.

    there’s also option 6: put £1 in a special jar every day for as long as you can bear it. I am at 9 months now, and VERY close to a Whistles coat of amazing.

    • yesilikethat August 31, 2012 / 3:45 PM

      That is a good option, if only I had more willpower! I would constantly be taking out £1 coins to buy KitKats… Whistles had an amazing coat last winter that I was SO close to buying on sale but I was just too broke at the time x

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