Mens jackets can be a huge hit or miss for me. While most men can’t go wrong with a good leather bomber jacket, I can’t pull that off and I’ve lost my taste for sports coats, so I have to look for vintage jackets. I started looking for vintage jackets to replace my classic Dickie “garage style” jacket a little over a year ago, and didn’t find anything for months until suddenly I had found two within a few weeks and another one shortly after.
Early 50s Homemade Green Jacket
I got this from Carla at Bohemian Vintage in exchange for taking some photos of garments for her website. Originally I didn’t like it at all. But Janey insisted I get it and it has since become my favorite day to day coat. It’s light enough to wear in almost any weather and compliments almost all of my shirts. It’s also long enough not to have to tuck in shirts. This is something to keep in mind when trying on jackets and coats. Many mid-century jackets are of “Ike” length. This term comes from the army jackets from WWII and the Korean War that were known as “Ike Jackets”. These short, waist-cropped military jackets were made at the request of then General Eisenhower, thus their nickname.
50s Copper Coat
Janey’s dad found this beautiful wool copper colored coat in Eugene. It was super cheap (I’ve forgotten how much but I think it was around $20) as the lining was trashed. Janey patched up the lining with some new satin and it looks as good as new.
50s Gabardine Ricky Jacket
I bought this amazing 50s Gaberdine “Ricky” jacket from a friend a few months ago. It has bright red satin lining and looks like it was never worn. He kept it in his closet for the last several years. Good Gabardine jackets like this one regularly go for $150 and upwards. More expensive jackets tend to be reversible and/or have a design to in the fabric. The source of the term “Ricky” jacket is debatable. Some claim that it is named for Ricky Ricardo (the character portrayed by Desi Arnaz in the 50s hit I Love Lucy), while others argue it was after singer Ricky Nelson. Regardless of the name’s history, Ricky jackets tend to be of Ike length and have a fabric collar and either flap or slash pockets.
New Wool Overcoat
This overcoat occupies a special role in my wardrobe, it only gets worn when I dressed up for a nice night out and it’s very cold outside. I picked this up at Peacock (now closed) for only $60 and considered it a steal. Overcoats tend to lend themselves to special occasions and are long due to the fact they need to covre up the suit jacket or tuxedo jacket underneath.
When you are looking for coats there are few things to look out for.
- Older coats and jackets are generally shorter. If you don’t tuck your shirts in all the time pay attention to length.
- Inspect the lining. This is one of the first things to break down in older coats. Just make sure there are no holes or rips and you should be fine. Otherwise you will be paying a rather hefty price to replace the lining, but it is worth it if you really love a coat.
Care and Storage
Jackets need to be dry cleaned. When you store your jackets, get high quality wooden hangers. They help hold the shape of the jacket better. Like shirts make sure you button or zip your jackets to help them hold shape.