Monday, 15 October 2012

A little shopping splurge

Goshdarnit! I had been so good, two weeks of buying nothing but a knitting pattern and some yarn and then, kaboom, I get the urge to splurge. Well, I didn’t go too mad, but still.
Yesterday I went for a wander round the local vintage shops in my area, starting off at the car boot sale (nothing) and then the usually painful experience of Beyond Retro, Dalston. Sigh. “Beyond Retro” - by that they mean “almost entirely 1980s apart from one ripped and stained 50s ballgown with a 22inch waist”. Sigh.
Still, I had the shopping bug and was determined to find something, and here it is.

The most perfect little shrug. I’m not sure what fur it is (I think it might be mink as it is dark and fairly soft yet dense) or have any idea of the date but I assume 50’s. It is very well made, fully lined with a rich chocolate brown floral sprigged silk satin and featuring arm loops to hold the garment on and give it structure. There are also two shallow lined pockets, one still full of confetti from a wedding its owner must have attended.

Aside from being a little squashed from its journey (all Beyond Retro clothing seems to have been highly compressed in damp conditions before arriving on the shop floor – I assume their bales of clothes travel over by sea) it is in mint condition, no rips, bald patches or devils dust, and it fits me perfectly on the shoulders. Just the thing for the upcoming party season.

I’ve done a little digging into the company in an attempt to date the item and it seems that Douglas Moore furs is still going in Renfrew, Ontario. This article from 1972 talks about the family who took over the company in 1960 but doesn’t give any earlier info. I’m thinking of dropping them a line though, out of interest.

I also picked up a couple of little berets for winter. A plain black one of no vintage whatsoever (HOW did I not have one of these already) and the most ridiculous carpet bag effect piece. How I’ll wear I do not know. I just couldn’t leave it in the shop. It has the Union Made logo too, and looking at Millinery Union labels I peg it at mid-late 50s. Still, its a pretty universal look (I mean, really, it looks Tudor, right? :-P)

does anyone here have any more knowledge of dating furs that they can share?


  1. I love the little shrug/cape! I'm after one myself for the winter. xo

  2. Unfortunately, I know next to nothing about furs. However, in the Powder Room of The Fedora Lounge there is a tread called The Vintage Fur Thread. Somebody there might know about these things ...?

  3. Hi Lisa,
    That's a beautiful cape, nice find! I have two similar ones in my closet at home, which sadly I have not had a chance to wear yet. It does look like it's from the 50s and from the pictures looks like mink. Although it could also be something like squirrel that has been dyed to look like mink. That was a popular, and cheaper, alternative to mink.
    You said the fur was slightly damp - you should hang it outside for a short time on a sunny dry to air/dry it out. Too much moisture can be a bad thing for fur. Be sure to store it in a cool place where it wont be crushed by other garments. It's also a good idea to make/purchase a cloth garment bag to store it in. No plastic as the fur needs to be able to "breath". You might want to check out this link for more fur info. Hope that helps!

  4. I saw one like this hanging in a vintage store in Amsterdam. I really wanted to bring it home with me, but I bought so many already, so who knows next month!

    Yours is truly lovely.

  5. That's a great shrug! Looks like we both got great finds in Beyond Retro this weekend, which is a rare thing indeed. Emily

  6. Well done for that lovely find, it easy to lose motivation when you are looking through rails of clothes with nothing that it to your liking, it can definitely be a painful experience where you leave empty handed. I find that my best purchases are made at vintage fairs with stall holders rather than vintage shops. The shrug will be perfect for the parties in the winter season, I am currently trying to pursuade my nan to lend me her mothers 1920's fur. Oh and I think I may have to go buy myself a beret like yours,
    Love Lil x

  7. Love the cape and LOVE THE HAT! Totally amaze - I'd just wear it with a plain dress and cardie from 1 or 2 of the colours in the pattern.

    Also, yes, why are Beyond Retro clothes so (a) damp and squashed and (b) ripped when they are pre-80s? Ugh. You were lucky with the cape for sure!!

  8. Love it and love you. Had no idea you were back to blogging! Welcome back... hope we can finally meet up sometime soon xxx

  9. The shrug was really nice! :)
    Missed your blogging :)