Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Time for Fashionable Winter Coats!

22 Nov



Leaves are scattering, making way for the soon-to-be trails of mounded snowflakes, which means outerwear fashion is upon us!

Photos by Christopher Doherty

Coats, in some ways, are like shoes — you never can have too many! And in my closet this is quite true as my collection of vintage coats has been multiplying over the years –yet, each one serves a very specific purpose and is happily worn rather often!

IMGP3173The trouble I have with modern winter coats seems to exist in three basic areas: warmth, fit, style. So, in general, I find modern coats aren’t entirely warm for braving the elements, and that if you do find one that is warm, it looks as if you are wearing a blanket, and finally, I rarely find one that fits in the arms, shoulders and/or waist — thus, repeating issues two and three — style and fit go out the window for warmth.

With vintage outerwear, I have found my winter coats to be incredibly warm — because they are made with a heavy stock of wool, or a refined blend of wool and cashmere, sometimes made complete with a fur collar and cuffs. (I am not a crazy fur fanatic, because it seems those are just details to the style, whereas the body of the coat’s warmth really comes from its construction. Yet, some of the collars can act as a summer warm scarf!)

Yet, aside from heavy duty winter wear, there is the in-between seasons overcoat, which is just as crucially important to breaking the wind and adding an extra layer of warmth for when the sun begins to set. So, without further rambling, let’s take a look at some of my Thrifty Vintage Chic seasonal apparel collected from various thrift shops across the Mid-Atlantic region.




What’s the Cost of ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’?

Well, each of these coats costs between $5 and $15, with the exception of the 1940s Houndstooth Swing Overcoat, which cost $65. But I had never seen one at all like it, in the same era or condition up until then, or since then — so completely worth the splurge! All of them were purchased at charity thrift stores, Goodwills or Salvation Army stores between Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York — again, with the exception of the 1940s Houndstooth, which I found at a speciality vintage boutique in Lancaster, Pa.

{So} What’s the Take-Away?

Be distinguished & warm!

I’ve learned to embrace my measurements where sleeves never seem to reach my wrists by opting to go with the ever-popular cropped sleeve look from the 1950s and 1960s. While it might seem that exposing your forearms in the winter chill would be a recipe for catching pneumonia, I’ve been pleasantly surprised that a) the coats are so warm you never notice; b) the coats have deep and equally warm pockets for burying the exposed arms; c) it’s the perfect way to show-off a pair of long gloves!

Aside from my personal lesson — finding the silver lining of being long-limbed — it is important to remember that you are wearing vintage. So be gentle and mindful that the liner  isn’t made of Lycra and that the buttons might need to be tightened up with some new thread. These coats — albeit warm — still symbolize how women moved throughout society — with grace and decorum. So no plopping onto a subway bench, or going for an extra exuburant high-five!

Rate this post above & leave your own two cents below!

  • All images on Thrifty Vintage Chic are shot in the context of real life — ie before or after the work day. All images on Thrifty Vintage Chic are not altered with post-production “airbrushing” or touch-ups. All images and written copy on Thrifty Vintage Chic are copyright protected and may not be used without first gaining written permission.

5 Responses to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Time for Fashionable Winter Coats!”

  1. Betty November 22, 2010 at 3:24 PM #

    Absolutely sick with envy over your finds! x


    • Thrifty Vintage Chic November 23, 2010 at 6:52 PM #

      aw, Betty! thanks — but I am so sorry to have made you ill!
      You’ll have to let me know if there is anything you are looking for and and your size, so I can keep an eye out!


      • Betty November 23, 2010 at 7:07 PM #

        Aww that’s so sweet of you! Alas, I’ve just moved from London to Florida so no need for winter coats, which is a shame because a girl needs something to cover her winter bulge 😉

        Very much in awe of your thrift hunting skills though. How long do you spend perusing a week?



  2. Dawn O'The Atoms November 22, 2010 at 3:26 PM #

    They are all so lovely, and you look fantastic! The houndstooth is an excellent classic that you can probably wear three seasons in the Mid-Atlantic. And black-and-white houndstooth NEVER goes out of style. How classy!


    • Thrifty Vintage Chic November 23, 2010 at 6:55 PM #

      The houndstooth is probably my absolute favorite because it is so unusual (maybe just to me) but also due to the way it makes me feel … It’s the best for post-swing dances where the spring-summer-autumn evening air is a bit chilly, especially after being so sweaty … It just kinda slinks and flows, and makes me feel like I am still dancing, or am a dainty dame skipping into the night with an air of intrigue! lol


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