How to Wear and Destroy A Winter Coat

Posted by Susanne Chess on 2/16/2020
How to Wear and Destroy A Winter Coat
How to destroy a camel hair coat.  It was a classic, rounded collar, horn buttons, mid-calf length, loose fitting early 1950's style camel hair coat. The coat had hung in the vestibule closet for decades. It was a holdover from our move from Michigan to California. One particularly dry and cold winter (similar to the one we are having this year), I pulled my mother's camel hair coat out of her closet and proceeded to destroy it. I wore it hanging with neighborhood friends (sitting on tree limbs, stairs, walls or on the grass). Can you imagine being such a grunge in a classic camel hair coat? I wore it in gale force winds, opening the front with my arms like wings. I remember wishing it would aid me in taking flight. In the end it was stained and torn by my misuse. 

I loved that coat. My mother probably did as well, but I don't remember her ever being angry with my ruining it. Maybe she understood how cozy it made me feel. Or maybe, she didn't miss having to wear it since moving from Detroit to Southern California.

A client for whom we make clothes asked if we make her a classic camel hair coat. Of course we can, but I'll have to source the fabric. 

When I took off for Farmer's Market this Saturday morning the air was still crisp. I was wearing cotton poplin pants and shirt. I went to pull out a heavy sweater and saw my own navy wool, silk and linen coat. Inspired by memories of my mother's camel hair coat, I pulled the navy suit coat it from my closet to wear with my cotton ensemble. I then realized how much I like the style, to wear a suit or dress coat over casual. I wore my mother's camel coat over torn (probably patched and embroidered jeans) as that was our staple. I wore it over t-shirts and sweaters. Its neutrality simply works!

We've made some beautiful pieces this Winter for clients using wool/silk/linen blend from this same supplier: 


A beautiful bright red flannel coat dress for another.

We do not stock a lot of cashmere or wool in the store. Too short a season here in Santa Barbara. We do have a great supplier of Italian and English cashmere and wool, and will order as part of our service (as we do with silk, linen, cotton and lace). 

Next post I'll pull some pictures of my beige I'm traveling to Europe in winter coat. I am sure it must have been inspired by my mother's camel hair coat as well. I'll share with you a sewing construction trick with buttons and double knit (cashmere or wool) to extend versatility of a winter coat.

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