Coolest coat ever – and bright red. Where is it now?

I have spent more time than I should have online looking for a photo of a bright-red wet-look coat like the one Mum had back in the early 1970s in our Manse days. This is the closest I could come up with (from Etsy, source of lots of great vintage things), and it's pretty nice, I have to say. Now just pretend it has a wide belt that accents the waist and is bright, bright red and – you've got it!

I have spent more time than I should have online looking for a photo of a bright-red wet-look coat like the one Mum had back in the early 1970s in our Manse days. This is the closest I could come up with (you can find details here, at Etsy, source of lots of great vintage things), and it’s pretty nice, I have to say. Now just pretend it has a wide belt that accents the waist and is bright, bright red and – you’ve got it!

As promised in yesterday’s post, I want to tell you about something that I remember vividly from my childhood at the Manse. I thought it was the coolest article of clothing ever, and there was a very good reason for that: it was the coolest article of clothing ever.

It was a bright-red – and I mean bright red, my favourite colour – just-above-the-knee-length (think Shirley Partridge‘s dresses) spring/fall/rain coat, and it was what we called “wet look.” That is (for all those born after 1970 or so): it was made of a shiny, crinkled vinyl/plastic-like substance (a leather look, but much cheaper) that, because it was so shiny, gave you the sense that it had been rained on and thus was wet.

It was my mum’s coat, and she has never looked cooler in her life, before or since, than when she was wearing it. It had a big wide collar and was form-fitting, with a wide belt of the same bright-red “pleather” (as we would call it today) with gold fastenings that did a nice job of accenting the waist.

My lord, how I loved that coat! And so did my sister, Melanie, and our female Queensborough friends. We must have tried it on (though obviously it was too big for us; we were maybe 9 [Mel] and 11 [me] at the time) a thousand times each, and admired ourselves in the full-length mirror each time. The “wet look” was hugely trendy – for coats, boots, handbags, etc. – in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and to have a stylish wet-look coat that was, into the bargain, bright red; well who knew our mum could be so mod?

I loved that coat. Melanie loved that coat. We both get glassy-eyed when we remember it. Either one of us would give our proverbial eye-teeth (what are eye-teeth, anyway?) if we could get our hands on it now, because it would look just as stylish now as it did in 1971 or so – probably more so, given its vintage provenance.

So where is that coat? What happened to it?

I throw up my hands. I love my mother dearly, and she has many good qualities, but holding on to things is not one of them. Nor is she the tiniest bit sentimental. Ask her about that gorgeous bright-red wet-look coat she once turned heads with and she’ll probably have to think hard to even remember it. “What did you do with it, Mum? Is it still around somewhere? Anywhere?”

Good luck with that.

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