A while back, when I was wandering the city with my wonderful friend Elise, when we popped into Retro Star. As soon as I walked in I saw the purple coat sticking out and raced over. You see I have this thing for beautiful colours – especially coats. But it seems when it comes to my size most vintage anything is in various shades of brown. I pulled it out and realised it wasn’t itty bitty…so I held my breath and put it on. Not only did it fit, it fit well. It wasn’t too tight across the shoulders, it did up nicely across the megaboobs and it was the most amazing jewel toned purple. Of course I had no money on me, but Elise loaned me the money on the promise that I actually really, really wanted it.
Isn’t she beautiful????
Gorgeous purple lining as well!
On the train ride home I started to panic thinking that I should have looked more closely at it before buying it. There was one tag in it that I thought for sure meant it was after the 80s. Now while I have absolutely no problem buying anything from any decade as long as I love it – I know I can buy modern repro coats in all sizes and colours meaning I wouldn’t have bought it then and there. So I started researching the three tags that were on it. First up the brand tag “Shagmoor” (for those who know me – yes I giggle every time I say the name)
Unfortunately this label didn’t help much. They weren’t listed on the Vintage Fashion Guild’s Label Lookup and apart from other vintage coats from sale, there wasn’t much too be found online besides a few vintage ads for their coats and that the company was started in 1921. BUT the image searches did help in one aspect – I worried about the placement of the label (it is on the side of the coat under the buttons along the front) and I had only seen labels at the back of the neck. I had a niggling fear it had been sewn in to make it look more vintage – but sure enough all the images of Shagmoor coat labels showed them in the same place.
This ad lead me to search for “Linder Bros Shagmoor” and that search let me know that their trademark expired in 1986 and it seems the company is no longer in business. So my coat is definitely older than 1986 (but I think we all guessed that already).
Wool mark logo inside my coat
This label was quite useful. Thanks to the amazing blog post over at Sammy Davis Vintage on Vintage Clothing Labels I discovered that this logo only came into use in 1964. So now I have my coat narrowed down to between 1964 and 1986.
ILGWU Union tag inside my coat
Next we have the union label. Again I found most of the information I needed on the Sammy Davis Vintage Blog “Union Labels“. Thanks to that handy post I discovered this style of tag was first used on April 21st, 1964 when they got their tradmark (see the little “r” sign). So my coat is definitely not older than 1964 thanks to this tag and the woolmark tag.
The Back of the Union Tag – The National Board of the Coat and Suit Industry
I found a little bit more information on the back of the Union tag – where it has the National Board of the Coat and Suit Industry logo on the back. Thanks to the Vintage Fashion Guild I was able to find info on the Coat & Suit Industry Label HERE. These labels were seen from 1930s-1960s. So it seems like we can safely say this coat was made between 1964 and the end of the 60’s.
However it seems there is another thing that can help date clothes from the USA – a lack of garment care instructions. Care instructions became mandatory in 1971. Making my coat produced at the earliest April 21st 1964 and at the very latest 1971.
I think the thing I found most exciting about this process, as why I shared it with you, is the fact that almost all of my vintage clothing are hand made or made in Australia (there doesn’t seem to be as much information out there on Australian vintage fashion labels), so up until now I have’t really had anything to look up.
I have to admit I am now a wee bit obsessed with Shagmoor and am finding lots of beautiful coats by them on both ebay and etsy. If I didn’t already have plenty of coats (and it wasn’t about to be spring here in Australia) I would be more than a little tempted to buy some more.
Have any of you lovely ladies ever researched your garments? What has been your most interesting find?
Miss Fairchild xoxo