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November 24, 2010

The Vintage Reworked Camel Coat

The thing about vintage clothing, or any bought clothing for that matter, is that you need not ever wear them in the state at which they come. Replace the buttons, cut up the collar, dye it black! Case in point, this vintage camel coat that I spent a little bit of money and effort re-working:
Number (N)ine sunglasses, vintage reworked camel coat, Ivan Grundahl jacket, H&M shirt and jeans, Tod’s shoes
I bought the coat off eBay for next to nothing; but being an American size 38R, it was way too roomy, and the below-the-knee length was hardly flattering.
vintage single-breasted coat by American clothier Botany 500, who, fascinatingly, did Ryan O’Neal’s wardrobe in 70′s cult sapfest Love Story
I removed the stodgy brown buttons on the body and the cuffs,

laid the coat on buttonless, and I had an epiphany: laying each “breast” of the coat over another, I was able to wear the coat almost fully double-breasted with it fitting perfectly when closed. I then sped off to my local button store, picked up a bag of shiny silver buttons, and spent a good two-and-a-half episodes of The Nanny sewing them on. I also had to take it to the tailor to have it hemmed to a more modern, wearable above-the-knee length.
I may have spent more than twice the cost of the coat on enhancements and alterations, but it has since proven to be a versatile workhorse in my closet. I admit to partly having been swayed by the abundance of camel coats in fashion publications in print and online, but the classic piece does have its merits. It serves as a soft, eye-pleasing outer shell when a big black coat is just too dreary, and nothing looks better amidst autumn leaves than this warm, neutral hue.
I thought the silver buttons would make for an austere, modern accent against the camel as opposed to the more expected gold buttons.
vintage “salon” brooch from Amsterdam
Japanese silk kimono belts worn as a necklace
turquoise ring from Manila, age-old Tod’s driving shoes
erroneously colored tote from the Tate Modern in London


  • Expressions Realia
    November 24th, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    Liking what you did with the buttons on that coat.


  • Brandon Acton-Bond
    November 24th, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    I am loving that you sewed the buttons in two episodes of… The NAnny! Love! I guess I'm going to have to post about my camel number too now :/ not nearly as fancy as your shiny buttons but then again I'm a mess. Also loving the Ivan Grundhal layering! His stuff is perfeeeect underneath really structured jackets!

  • Prêt à Porter P
    November 24th, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    It's a very chic coat. Now explain this to me, it is a single breast that you made a DB? Did you have the tailor add the additional buttonholes or are they decorative?

  • Izzy
    November 24th, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    b: You're far from being a mess! And thanks for introducing me to Ivan, he changed my life.

    Pret: No actually, I just added an extra row of three buttons, and didn't need to add buttonholes. I'm beginning to think the coat might have been meant to be double-breasted.

  • Lady San Pedro
    November 25th, 2010 at 1:51 am

    Nice :-) Now tempted to do that to my camel coat… which I cannot wear in Manila.

    This is Mia's friend by the way! She got me into your blog.

  • Izzy
    November 25th, 2010 at 1:58 am

    Hi Lady! You should, it's very easy and completely reversible. Mia took these photos, isn't she wonderful?

  • Cillian
    November 25th, 2010 at 5:10 am

    Nicely done, Izzy. Ran into a friend of mine who did the same with her mother's camel coat. Great idea.


  • joy
    November 25th, 2010 at 9:07 am

    The kimono belt strips are very beautiful. What a coincidence,I am wearing a fake kimono robe as a coat to Thanksgiving dinner with the family.

  • Shane Bailey
    November 25th, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    single button to double button must've made the coat slimmer… that's a brilliant idea:)


  • Mat
    November 25th, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    you make it look so easy, really good effort. it does look soft.

  • Tom
    November 26th, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Your coat is amazing. I mainly like your accessories, really nice!!!

    Czech fashion bloger


  • Giancinephile
    November 27th, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    Love, love, love your camel coat!!!!

  • editor of that blog
    November 28th, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    you turned it into a double-breasted coat???!!!! miracle worker!


    November 29th, 2010 at 1:52 am

    cute blog! I’ll follow you!
    I have a fashion blog too, I hope u'll be one of my followers on bloglovin:-)

  • D R E W
    December 13th, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    what a great idea! and i love that gray scarf.

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