Thrifty vintage : Dress your life
Vintage seems to almost always have a story, whether it’s a true story or one you create.
I like to think that each item has a backstory, so I tend to buy older items that have labels, stamps, or signatures. I look up the label maker, and I am usually rewarded with some history or an interesting entrepreneurial tale — something that adds little ambience.
My sister recently called me with a thrift-store emergency, so I went to meet her at a Goodwill an hour before close. Someone had donated a treasure trove of long-stored items from the 50s and 60s, including several coats. My sister was worried we might miss out on a million-dollar coat, so I was to hurry, hurry.
I found a couple of little things of interest, but I wasn’t feeling the coats. I thought I was done and was happy with a sheer Vera scarf I’d found, so I was ready to leave. But a rolling rack reeking of mothballs made me stop and give pause. I had a feeling it was one of those donated coats, so I took a look.
Indeed. There was a darling brown and cream coat that had been stored in what must be the strongest mothballs ever produced. Reluctantly, I decided that for this price, I could somehow lose the mothball smell. If not, well, such is the life of a thrift shopper.
The coat turns out to be from a long-lived Dallas department store, Dreyfuss and Son. This was one of the many well-known department stores. From what I can find in The Dallas Morning News archives, the business opened in 1911 and was rebranded as Woolf Brothers in 1973.
There was once a bustling fashion industry in the city, and this coat is a part of that. I might keep it.
From looking at the union label on my coat, I believe it is from the mid 1960s. I am not an expert label reader, but the store label, the Internet, and a search on The Dallas Morning News archives do help with that process.
Via the Web, I came across photos of the downtown store. Here is a link to the descriptive information from the Library of Congress catalog records: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pnp/habshaer/tx/tx0500/tx0565/data/tx0565data.pdf