Sunday, November 14, 2010

WIW: Penney's Overcoat

The recent cool weather called for wearing an overcoat today. While it was fairly cold, it wasn't cold enough yet for my heavy overcoats.

Therefore, I broke out and for the first time wore my light-weight 1930s belted overcoat.

click images to enlarge



I've had this for roughly a year but it needed some alterations, including the replacement of the buttons. Even so, the arms are still a tad short but I'm not too worried about that, it's a normal situation for me.

Belted overcoats were pretty common over in Europe during the 1930s but was not as common over in the states. It's interesting that while a majority of American trench coats (both vintage and modern) are fully belted, very few American overcoats (both vintage and modern) have belts. Who really knows why, perhaps just different societies favoring different styles: a geographic and cultural thing. A plain buttoned belt-less front was enough for most American men, though you can see a belted overcoat in the 1936 New York City photograph below:


My overcoat is somewhat lightweight and unconstructed, almost like a robe. It has lazy peaked lapels that slightly slope downward along with patch pockets but lacks a breast pocket.

The back of the coat is as interesting as the front: a full-length center gusset runs down the back ending with pleats in the skirt. This helps the well-fitted overcoat move with the wearer.



The pleated 'vent' (though not a true vent) is very similar to the Paddock Coat in the 1935 Apparel Arts illustration below:



Despite the short arms I'm happy with this piece. Vintage American belted overcoats are difficult to find and this is a fine example of one.


1 comment:

Larry said...

I found this posting very interesting. Now that weather is turning I've been thinking about buying a new winter coat.

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