Monday, January 18, 2010

Sweet Success...a 1950's Coat

I have two 50's shirtwaist dresses that just sort of fell in my lap as BIN on Ebay. I have a green velvet 50's holiday dress that was a fight to the finish, ie bidding war and may end up requiring me to remove a rib if I ever want to zip it completely...but that's another story. So far, it's been beginners luck or newbie tenacity (with frivolous disregard for financial limitations). Never have I truly worked for a find. Never that is, until today. This blog is about a coat, which is probably pretty boring to most of you. But, as a newbie, I promised to tell you about my journey and this one was an experience.

I wanted an everyday coat that would accommodate my 50's skirts. My eyes were literally twitching from scrolling through coat searches on Etsy and Ebay. Most of what was described as 50's just didn't feel right. The collars were too "out there" stylized and the hemlines were semi-fitted, straight or tapered in. Now how could that be right for full 50's skirts? I threw the question over to the ladies at the Fedora Lounge and Lauren (aka "Go To The Source" I imagine it's what a Vintage Loving Yoda might tell young vintage Jedi) gave me a link to search vintage coat patterns on Wiki . She added that McCall (see yesterday's blog about my new love affair with McCall's Magazine, lol) patterns are dated and serve as great reference tools to confirm accuracy in sellers descriptions. She was also dead on that most 60's coats are described as 50's, 50's as 40's and 40's as 30's. I spent the next few hours going through a ton of McCall patterns and found two that appealed to me.

Armed with a visual, I redid my searches but instead of looking for 50's coats, I searched for 40's coats...swing, tent, A-line, you name it, I searched it. I finally hit upon one that was interesting. The style seemed close to the pattern guides I had. The color wasn't fantabulous, but I did say "everyday" which nondescript brown certainly lends itself to. The material had a trade name for faux cashmere which left me wondering. Was I right? Could this really be a 1950's coat, in a faux material hiding out in a 40's listing? Time to research!

I Googled the label "Kashmoor by Country Tweeds" (moment of silent prayer in thanks giving to inventors of Google) A summary of an FTC complaint came up. It basically said that Country Tweeds tweaked some laboratory findings in an effort to build confidence in their wholesale buyers after switching cashmere suppliers. The case states they had done business with Einiger Mills until 1958 and then sought a new supplier. Score! The label in the coat also said Einiger Mills, so it must be pre 1958 prior to supplier change. Okay, good to know, but I was still shakey about this "Kashmoor" stuff. Googled some more and found a 1957 advertising award for the 1956 campaign "Country Tweeds Coats for the Wide, Wide World". (see it here ) Getting warmer! A second verification that I'm in the 50's. But, that still leaves the pesky thought of "Kashmoor" and if it's legit. For a lark, I ran an Ebay search and within seconds, the Angels of Vintage were singing!!!! YES! DIRECT HIT!!! A c1952 print ad!!! The coat is a little different but close to the one I was considering. The ad explains just what "Kashmoor" is and shows the suggested retail of $85 which I think is pretty high for the 50's. So, with the price of the vintage coat with shipping at less than the original retail, I felt pretty fantastic about purchasing.

...and I cannot describe how wonderful it is to have learned something in the process! To be sure, the process is even more exhilarating than the find. Thanks Lauren and all vintage people for sharing your knowledge! This newbie sure appreciates it.

The Inspiration...

The Consideration...

The Vindication...

"Kashmoor by Country Tweeds An artists masterpiece...perfect in every detail...soft and warm, yet feather-light...Country Tweeds impeccable styling is combined with Eigniger Mills wonder-wearing wool-nylon fabric and Mil???'s "insulated" lining to give you the season's ??? ??? casual...$85"

PS I may blow what I saved on the original retail just to buy the ad so I can read it all! LOL Alas...still a newbie!


  1. i have visited your blog this is really good and use full for me. thanks
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  2. I have visited your blog and it's really very good and useful too. Thanks for the information.
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  3. I really appreciate your research, as that is my passion. I am currently doing the research for our local dog rescue thrift store on a Kashmore Country Tweeds swing coat received as a donation. They do research an items they think may have some hidden value before establishing a price; we need every penny for those little guys as they want for a loving home. I found the articles you mentioned, but I added your tips on the pattern searches as well as your friends thoughts on dating the items. I did find a couple of other pieces of information I will share with you. Your lining is Milium, reported as a US inventors "new product" in TIME magazine May 22, 1950, issue. I have not had time to go to the library for the full article, but I doubt it will tell us anything of value with regard to pricing except that it keeps us warm. Einiger Mills was the largest american producer of luxury fabrics in the US in the 1950's. It was a family owned business near Yonkers, New York. The owners goal was to make luxury fabrics more affordable to American women. Although his fabrics were more expensive than wool because he specialized in combining natural fabrics such as wool and cashmere with the newer synthetics, his sales pitch to manufacturers was "sell quantity not price."
    I did not see the ad you found, I did find another ad featuring the model Sunny Harnett in 1953. I found it in the collection at This lovely person has made it her passion to gather the beautiful images of the women who made these fashions come to life. A great site for inspiration as well as reference. Good luck, and enjoy your passion.

  4. Wonderful. Weighing up a Kashmoor coat called an Executive Sweet, made of harris Tweed, online at the moment! Fascinating, and you are dead right - the learning that happens when we go on these trails is such great fun!

  5. Wonderful. Weighing up a Kashmoor coat called an Executive Sweet, made of harris Tweed, online at the moment! Fascinating, and you are dead right - the learning that happens when we go on these trails is such great fun!