Friday, August 21, 2009

How to Refresh a Vintage Tweed Coat

Am still in raptures from the glorious scenes in Coco Before Chanel, which I saw last night. A steely yet immensely sympathetic performance by Audrey Tatou, one of the ultimate rags to riches storylines, but most of all, the clothes.

I deliberately don't use the word fashion, because the garments worn in the film worked: as costume to be sure, but utterly believable as pieces you could ride, stoop to hem, and dance in--and be divested of--without a seam blasting apart. In other words, clothes not so precious that you can't live in them.

This was especially true with the equestrian tweeds so prominent in the film. How gorgeous they were. And how lucky for us today that the equivalent is fairly easy to find in vintage and secondhand shops, because for some reason, a great tweed isn't valued to the same degree that cashmere or silk or even recycled fleece with an A&F logo might be.

If you find a cracking tweed coat at a good price, consider taking it to another level. This late 50s British greatcoat cost next to nothing in one of my local charity shops, in part because the lining was a faded and torn. So I had my tailor replace it with a salmon pink satin, and I'm very happy with the result.

Changing a lining is a fairly big project: a more minor transformation could be as simple as changing the buttons.

Go out there and find a gorgeous tweed. It will keep you warm. It will last forever. Coco would approve.


  1. Now that's what I call sensible style, thanks so much!

  2. Oh the lining choice for the coat is superb!!! I myself love tweed, and you're right, there are so many pieces out there. Unfortunately, I suppose because of the climate here, you're very lucky if you find something that hasn't been attacked by moths, but when you do find something, it's a real treasure!

  3. I adore tweed in all its forms - coats, hats, suits, skirts, vests - a classic that you can't go wrong with!

  4. Next time we get together I'm wearing a belted Hefty bag, as I don't think one garment I own is up to snuff.

    With love from the sticks of New Jersey!