November 24, 2010
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