Von Trapped in Texas (in a vintage Loden cape)

Finally!  A sufficiently semi-cold-ish day here in south-central Texas — I think the high today was a whopping 60ºF?  I know, not at all cold by the standards of most of the rest of the country or even us six months ago, but there you have it: adaptation, at its worst.  As someone who grew up in the Rocky Mountains, I am truly sorry to say that this is my present bitter cold, but as an outerwear lover I’ll take what I can get, which is any excuse to bust out this incredible vintage full-length cape.*  Can you blame me for being excited?  I’ve been waiting nearly six weeks for a chance to wear this guy (gal?  I’m undecided on the gender of this particular garment, though I am quite sure it’s women’s wear) and the closest I’m come was the 3AM showing of Harry Potter that we ended up bailing on.  For the record, this cape-and-boots combo was the foundation of my planned Minerva McGonagall costume (plus my old glasses and a very tight bun – as you can see I have almost as much grey hair as my idol, Dame Maggie Smith).  I’m actually pretty pleased to have put it on in real life instead, although I do feel like the whole thing is a little costumey.  P remarked that I resembled an unhappy Austrian general at the Battle of Waterloo.  Not being as well-versed as he in the Napoleonic wars, I was quite unaware of their penchant for red lipstick and costume jewelry.  Not funny?  I can never quite tell.  Perhaps I should just get back in the bread line.On the topic of the tiger, I can safely say that I was not at all fond of this brooch when some friend or other of my parents’ gave it to me (maybe for graduation?) ten years ago.  I’ve come to terms with it in the interim, presumably through a combination of age and renewed interest in costume jewelry.  Now I quite like having him (this guy I’m certain of) climbing along a collar or up a lapel.  Plus his claws are gentler than my real kitty’s.

(Johnstons neck, vintage Londenfrey cape, Saks Fifth Avenue gloves, Target l/s tee, Tory Burch boots, Coach wristlet)

*Eek!  So I just searched the brand of the cape and it turns out the company is in fact Austrian and their woolen factory dates from 1842 — P knows everything, I kid you not.  Apparently they began manufacturing men’s loden coats in the 1930s and women’s in the 1950s.  I presumed this was a piece of women’s wear, but now I’m not so sure.  Most of what I can find from them now is in the form of a dirndl (which I totally want, btw).  Here’s a company ad from 1965 on another blog I just this second discovered (bonus!), The Ivy League Look.  Mom, you’ll have to correct me if I’m wrong, but I feel like in 1965 $48.75 was a fair amount of money?  Also, looking at this ad is compelling me to abandon the blogging (for the present) and go root around for my Irish fisherman’s cap so I can look just like this guy — I even wore my Wayfarers whilst we drove around!

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About lvs

wears her grandfather's watch and her boyfriend's l.l. bean shorts
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13 Responses to Von Trapped in Texas (in a vintage Loden cape)

  1. Veshoevius says:

    I LOVE your cape!! What a treasure! And I love the panther brooch too – very Wallis Simpson.
    I am a big outerwear fan too and a cape fanatic but would you believe it actually gets too cold to wear them here? There is a sweet spot in autumn and then bang – its suddenly huge overcoat time and the thought of poking your arms out of a cape becomes excruiating – the length of this cape though would be ideal (all mine are hip length).
    In our freezing winter I’d so love to be somewhere where 60 degrees F was considered cold! And I’d definitely be wearing a cape too.

    • L says:

      Oh my god, you seriously just made my day – the Duchess of Windsor is one of my absolute fashion favorites! I have a short cape as well that I wore through some of the winter in London, but last year was such a mild one – there was what, the one ice/snow in January? I just remember being kicked out of the British Library and having to pack up not only my laptop and school books but also the bag full of woolen accessories that I would always have to take to stay warm indoors. Considering I could be in shorts today though, there is a part of me that kind of misses it.

      x

  2. really, and i mean REALLY coveting that brooch! and yes very Duchess of Windsor indeed…seriously, very pretty piece!

  3. Your cape! Your cape is so lovely! The color is divine, and the shape is incredible. The red gloves are perfect, too–just the soft, everyday touch needed to underscore the glam of the rest. Truly beautiful! It makes me want to get dressed and go out–hopefully where you will be.

    • L says:

      Yes, go forth and dress and be lovely whatever the weather! The lipstick in these pics is Vendôme – SO GOOD. Seriously, just the red I’ve been wanting.

      x

  4. emmy says:

    Love this outfit!!! And I live in Houston so I know how exciting it is when it’s actually cold enough to wear a coat/jacket you love! I also love the little details like the panther, the red gloves and I really love those tb boots too! You look amazing!

    • L says:

      Ahh, Houston, yes, you do know exactly! I love Texas but it can kind of be the worst — freezing one day, shorts weather the next, and you kind of never know. Thank you so much for visiting!

      x

  5. Meghan says:

    i desperately need a cape coat- esp. for when I move to NY. I love this color on you!!

    • L says:

      You’ve inspired me – I’m putting together a big post on capes (since I love them) and I have a feeling that there are going to be some great ones in the post-holiday sales.

      x

  6. Reynders Jo says:

    Thats a loveley cape!!!
    I have a lot off raincapes and rainponcho’s, i like them very mutch.
    It’s always loveley to see a lady wearing a cape, i hope there are more and more ladys, wearing a cape on the street!

    Jo.

  7. korczak1688 says:

    Dear outerwear lovers: I was bitten by an obsession to obtain a loden cape. Here are some things I learned by trial and error.

    If you purchase from a foreign country, factor in the cost – shipping really ratchets up the price.
    From the UK and continental Europe, shipping costs for a garment can range from $20 to $30 Euro – more if it is a very heavy garment.

    * If there is no indication that the merchant ships to your country of residence, contact the merchant and inquire about shipping options before you place a bid. Some persons just do not want to ship outside their their continent.

    * Ebay and Etsy can be very helpful. In addition to “loden cape”, try searches such as “austria cape” and “boiled wool cape.” One can try “cape militaria” — this can bring some interesting results.
    Some loden garments combine the best features of a cloak/cape plus a coat; these actually have
    sleeves and are meant to be full on winter garments. Some are designed for women, some for men, but many can be worn unisex.

    If you are really following the scent, try German Ebay.

    German words for cloak or cape are ‘umhang’ and ‘cape’. “Wetterfleck” means rain cape and these can be loden. ‘Mantel’ means coat, but can be stretched to include cape or cloak like garments or such that combine several features. Yet another search term; “tirol” or “tiroler”

    ‘Tracht’ or ‘trachten’ refer to traditional alpine garb. ‘Jagd’ means ‘hunting or ‘hunter’ — many such garments are loden.

    Google has a wonderful feature that translates from German to English and vice versa.

    ‘Damen’ means ladies; ‘herren’ means ‘gentlemen’.

    Loden cloth can range from grey green, to olive green, to a rich pine forest green and also black (schwartz or anthrazite), grey (grau0 and brown (braun) ‘Dunkel means dark.

    Check the position of the arm holes – some garments place them rather high in the garment; others lower.

    Convert centimeters to inches if unfamiliar with metrics.

    Happy searching.

  8. korczak1688 says:

    PS: If you live in an area where you know you will spend a lot of time walking into headwinds, a loden poncho or a loden cape designed to drape like a poncho will be very helpful.

    If you go around wearing a backpack, a full length cape can be difficult to manage. A shorter
    cape or poncho may work better. If hiking, a knee length cape or poncho may also do well.

    If you suspect you will wear that garment over a coat, study the shoulder measurements to make
    sure it will give you enough space. Ditto for the neck.

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