Saturday, 1 January 2011


It was simple, even for a procrastinator like me, to pick a subject for my first proper blog post. I haven’t bought something I’ve been this happy with since I can’t even remember when. My New Coat. I can barely stop thinking about it. “When can I wear it next?” “Would it go with this dress?” “Yes I know I’m just out the shower, but my dressing gown is all the way in the bedroom… maybe... I could… just slip my coat on?!”
“Why am I so in love with this coat?” you may ask. Well, firstly, it cost £20. Now I am sure I don’t have to tell you, that any time you can get a coat, like a proper coat, for £20 is a good time. It’s made of beautifully soft sand faux fur, in a sort of zigzag pattern. It looks real and it’s so warm! Even with the serious winds and snow we’ve had lately, I’ve been snug as a bug in a rug!
I’ve been mostly wearing it with a thin plaited belt looped twice around me (it’s super long!) in quite a 70’s kinda way. A little cream beret and some leather gloves finish off the look. In these pictures my boyf and I were heading out shopping and as my hair was up I popped my earmuffs on instead! Any excuse!

It just has one large label stitched inside with a Union Jack and the company name; Astraka. So I did a bit of research and Astraka was originally called Alfred Morris Furs and was formed in 1898. In 1944 it employed just three people, by the 1960’s Astraka had 400, mainly women, employees and were selling to high end stores like Harrod’s and Selfridges. As Astraka furs were faux they were approved by the WWF and teamed up on a range. I found some pictures of their print ads online at Advertising Archives.
I love being able to own a part of history, I think that’s why I’m so drawn to vintage. I love to know a piece’s story, where it came from and who owned it, but when I don’t it’s fun make it up instead. Like my coat, when I think about who owned it before me (I picked it up from a charity shop btw), I imagine she was a bit of a dolly bird, hanging out at Studio 64, her boyf was a mod and I'm so pleased she decided to give it to the charity shop, though I don't know why anyone would want to get rid of it!
This coat not only keeps me warm, but I feel glam when I put it on. You could be wearing anything underneath, just stick a pair of boots on and you're ready for any occasion... unless you start to get hot. I suppose that's the main problem, that if the temperature rises, you'll want to take it off and carrying a coat of this size, when you're already overheating is tiring! But in my opinion, completely worth it! Haha! 
The great news is that there are loads of these coats on eBay. Prices do vary but I definitely recommend trying one out. They have a great authentic look that a lot of coats on the high street just don’t capture and if you’re lucky, you could get one for half the price, plus you’d be unlikely to see anyone else in the same one.


  1. I need to know how to predict trends... whenever I make it to the charity shops to pick up a stylish garment, I leave with more wine glasses! I always seem to miss the boat and end up in last season's gear (but drinking from great glasses.) When I try to throw things together, I often get it very, very wrong. Please help! x

  2. oh I love you Jonesy! xxx I will endeavour to write a Top Tips of Thrifting especially for you! x

  3. It was way back in the 1950s that Muriel, The Lady Dowding, (wife of Battle of Britain chief of RAF Fighter Command) was launching her campaign against the cruelty of fur coats. But first she had to find a humane alternative. Visiting many establishments without success, she eventually came across Alfred Morris (who later founded the company Astraka). Listening to her story, he asked: ‘Does you husband know what you are doing?’ Yes, replied Muriel, ‘and he fully supports me’. Morris then agreed to make some fashion coats and asked: ‘What label shall I put inside – I need the answer within a week for production of the labels to begin’. Muriel had no idea for a name, so she said she would telephone him later with a name. At home asking around her friends who were supporting her by distributing her newsletter, the husband of one of them said. What I think you are promoting is beauty without cruelty, and that is how this group known as Lady Dowding’s girls got it’s name “Beauty without Cruelty”, which became a charitable educational trust, and later a trading company of the same name was formed to promote a practical cruelty-free range of cosmetics.

  4. I bought one last week from a London based dealer on Ebay for only £5.00 +delivery £10.00 The colour is sort of toned-down stylish leopard print.The really interesting thing about the coat has 2 Russian manufacturer/retail labels attached to it.The seller told me she bought it in Rostov,a town on the mouth of the Volga River on the Black Sea