Monday, January 27, 2014

1970s handmade coat & mini vacay

Behold my latest and greatest coat find, a 1970s hooded and fleece-lined plaid number with toggle fastenings, a nipped waist and shawl collar, found on Etsy. It's super warm and also suits my casual lifestyle at the mo. It made me feel quite visible when I wore it out today for the first time as it's a quite distinctive look (pretty sure it's handmade as there are no tags and it has that quality to it) and very different from the classic conservatism you find in Annecy. I think that more than qualifies it as a candidate for Visible Monday.

I've jazzed it up here with my fave thrifted Kenneth Cole wedge boots, thrifted jeans and cashmere sweater, and knitted cap bought new years ago in Toronto. The thrifted Mulberry bag and consignment store shades a la Tom Ford continue to be every day wardrobe staples.

I promised a sequel to my last coat entry but will postpone that in favour of a slightly newsy post. We've recently returned from ten glorious days in the north-west of the UK, land of friendly people, coffee shops, and inexpensive makeup - all the things I miss living in France, generally speaking. We visited friends, were wined and dined, and quickly morphed from the bitchy, sleep-deprived peeps we were before we left into the relaxed, relatively well-rested and cheery folk that we can only just remember being at one point in the not-too-distant past!

We were on the go so much that I didn't take any pics, save for this pre-airplane shot in Geneva, showcasing the perfect traveling outfit that I found in my closet: this second-hand sleeveless turtleneck wool-blend dress (oh so comfy and great when you get hot on the plane, as you invariably do before takeoff) that I layered with a cashmere cardi, my vintage Cacharel coat, 1970s Rafael Alfandry pendant, and 1970s nylon boots found on mega sale on Etsy. My Mulberry bag, I have discovered, is bottomless, serving as the ultimate purse/diaper bag-cum-carry on.

I love these boots. Fleece-lined and somewhat waterproof on the outside, I thought they'd be perfect for the typically rainy coastal weather of the north-west. But it was sunnier there than here! And for nylon and fleece, they're surprisingly sexy, not to mention comfortable.

Of course, I did hit a few charity shops. I haven't yet documented my finds, so for now, I thought I'd share something that made me chuckle, this sign in a charity shop window in Lytham, a quite well-to-do town in the area.

I leave you with a pic of Mr. Adorable, who was a star for (and of) the whole trip.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Coats, I've had a few (Vintage edition)

Vintage coat I've had since I was 19.

Ah: coats. One of the things I have a 'problem' with. Most are second-hand and found in vintage or thrift shops.

My obsession began in 1989 when I was 19. It was my last year of high school and I borrowed $200 CAD to buy this 1930s-40s wool coat with gorgeous corded sleeves. I saw it in a vintage shop and had to have it. My sis was working while I was going out partying and quaffing wine, so she had the cash to lend me. She should have charged me interest! But I did pay it off, eventually.

I haven't worn it since this pic was snapped, in Toronto in 2011, but it's a keeper. I bring it out for the odd special occasion.

Another vintage coat I've had since the early years ....

Ditto for this long wool Napoleon-style buttoned 1940s coat with bell sleeves and golden embroidery and rhinestones along the sides. I've had this one since I was 21. I saw it in an Ottawa vintage shop and oohed and ahhed over it in front of my beau at the time. I was so anxious to get it that I went back soon after and put it on layaway. Then boyfriend went back to buy it for me for Christmas. Ooops.

I've worn it to many a Christmas party. Alas, the moths got to it a few years ago, so I need to find someone to repair the delicate woven wool around some of the buttons, which will cost a small fortune, I'm sure.

Retro brocade coat found in a Toronto Goodwill ....

This hot pink 1960s? brocade baby was unearthed at a Toronto Goodwill for under 20 bucks CAD. Can you believe it? It's in mint condition. Again, I wear it for special events - in this case a 2010 photo shoot to promote a Toronto vintage costume jewellery show.

1980s Bill Blass swing coat with monster shoulder pads.

It's been so long since I've worn this yellow 1980s Bill Blass swing coat that all I have is an old photo of it when I started this blog years ago. I found it in my local Toronto thrift shop, Stretch Thrift, for under $20 CAD, if memory serves. It's a power coat to boot, with huge shoulder pads. Yellow looks pretty horrid on me so I've always worn it with a teal pashmina. This isn't really my style any more but I can't quite let go of it!

1950s-60s cashmere coat with flip-up fur collar, $10 CAD.

This cashmere-fur granny coat, replete with large crochet buttons and flip-up collar, gets a decent amount of wear. It looks great with mostly everything. I paid a whopping $10 CAD for it at a Toronto vintage show (never would have paid the original $60 asking price).

Chenille, chenille, chenille: I love this vintage purple chenille coat found in a Toronto thrift shop.

Another fave: a vintage purple chenille coat found at Toronto's Stretch Thrift for a song (under $20, probably more like $14.99 CAD). It's got this delicious pinky-purple lining. Like the black coat above, and many vintage coats, for that matter, this one has shorter sleeves. But they don't bother me. Toss on some long gloves and you're good to go.

Vintage Canadian-made James Bay faux fur jacket, $10 CAD at Stretch Thrift.

Now that I think of it, I've  acquired most of my coat collection at Stretch Thrift in Toronto. This vintage James Bay faux fur, technically a jacket I suppose, was $10 CAD at the store's monthly 50 percent off sale years ago. I bought it with my beau at the time, who is now my hubby. He snapped this pic in Toronto on a visit overseas to see 'lil 'ole me.

Pregnancy style: French-label faux fur swing coat, 20 E at Annecy thrift shop.

This faux fur swing coat made in France and found at my local thrift shop in Annecy was all of 20 E and served me well when I was pregnant. The shoulders are a wee big and I may eventually sell it, especially since I've found ...

Easy breezy 1970s style: vintage Cacharel faux fur coat, 20 E, Annecy thrift shop.

... THIS 1970s faux fur chenille coat by Cacharel, 20 E at my local thrift shop. It's my new crush and goes with everything!

A 1970s Etsy find ....

Can't ignore this 1970s uber heavy wool shawl collar coat found recently on Etsy. Though I love it, it doesn't go with everything.

Couldn't leave it there: vintage French label Weill coat, 30 E, Annecy thrift shop.

More pregnancy shots. This vintage French-made wool crepe swing coat was a real find at my local thrift shop here in Annecy. The make is Weill, a luxury coat maker and one of the oldest labels in France, and the coat was 30 Euro, if my memory is right. It's just so chic and classic.

Gotta love Etsy: vintage 1970s brocade coat worn a few weeks before I gave birth to Adam.

This one is more hippie-dippie, a 1970s blue and white brocade coat found on Etsy. Betcha it looks great dressed up or with jeans. Come the warmer weather I'll have to style it with denim.

One of the first items I bought when I had my shopping column in Toronto: a vintage blue Escada swing
coat, about $60 CAD at a Toronto vintage boutique.

I've since taken the shoulder pads out of this gorgeous vintage midnight blue Escada swing coat, and it's more wearable, though in truth it's another dress-up coat and my life is becoming increasingly casual. I love the black velvet collar.

Coming up: The ones who got away (like this vintage Irving Posluns suede and faux fur swing).

A gal who lives in a cold winter climate can't have too many coats - that's my philosophy and I'm sticking to it. I have a few more vintage coats not yet documented, and many more coats to show you, so let this serve as a Part One. Next time, I'll feature some babies I gave away (sniff), along with my 'every day' coats.

This post was inspired by Jill at Everything Just So and Adrienne at The Rich Life, who will be featuring (guess what?) COATS in their latest "How I Wear My ..." series. Check it out!