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There are a lot of reasons why fall is the unchallenged queen of all seasons for me. The blazing leaves, the smell in the air, and yes… the plaid! Dipping temperatures are perfect for my more-is-more fashion philosophy and it’s made all the happier whenever I can incorporate a whole lotta chunky textures and a profusion of prints. It’s especially exciting this season as colors, prints and layers dominate the runways as well as the streets. Consider this look at similarly inspired glories of autumn fashions from the past as a love letter to my most favorite season.

Left: Cerey, October 1949. Right: New York Times, September 1964.

Left: Harper’s Bazaar, 1971. Right: Photo by Landshoff, 1958.

Left: source unknown. Right: Harry-Williams Ltd, 1950.

Left: Harry-Williams, 1940s. Right: Harper’s Bazaar, 1950.

Sources unknown.

Left: Harbor Master, 1969. Right: GQ, November 1969.

Left: Vogue, 1970. Right: Mademoiselle, 1948.

Photos at top: Life, October 1958, Sears, Fall/Winter 1958, Sears, Fall/Winter 1959.


Kat Roberts lives in Brooklyn, NY, where she works as an artist, handbag and footwear instructor and accessories designer. In addition to almost constant crafting and contributing to BurdaStyle’s blog, she chronicles her obsession with creative recycling at her own blog, We Can Redo It.


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    Nov 29, 2011, 01.22 PMby lub4ever

    I was born and raised in a country that had VERY COLD winters (-34), and now I live in Southern California and I just saw thess pictures and realized how fun it would be to bundle up again in fab coats!

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      Nov 30, 2011, 02.30 PMby Whitehaus

      Wow. That’s crazy cold! New York winters are generally only that cold in my mind. Maybe you can make a road trip upstate to give yourself an excuse to break out some coats again:)

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    Nov 29, 2011, 12.40 PMby Couture Academic

    Autumn and vintage. Two of my favorite things. I’m completely in love with the Bazaar coat from the 50s and the plaid pencil skirt. Too bad it’s summer here in Perth, Australia…and blazing hot at that. Ah well…never too early to start planning for winter, eh? :) Nice work.

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    Nov 29, 2011, 12.40 PMby Couture Academic

    This comment was deleted by the author.

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      Nov 30, 2011, 02.20 PMby Whitehaus

      Thanks! I also am obsessed with autumn and vintage. The winter… not so much. I’ll remember you in Perth and get jealous in about a month when I’m attempting to wear all of my coats at once!

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    Nov 27, 2011, 10.19 PMby linen1

    The large knitted triangle shawl is a Kaffe Fassett design called “Small Steps” from his book “Glorious Knits” published in 1985. His work is amazing—I’m all for knits complimenting wovens! I love the coats you are featuring. They are so flattering to a woman’s body. Thanks!

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      Nov 30, 2011, 02.16 PMby Whitehaus

      I have to track that down. I’m not familiar with his work, but I love the drama of it! Glad you enjoyed this one and thanks for the info:)

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    Nov 26, 2011, 01.16 PMby mebreezy

    Great photos of vintage attiar. Iam in love with this era and would love to make some of the pieces however, I am a newbie and right now my projects are quilts. I am getting better at measuring and cutting thouh. I have made a few dresses for myself and a couple for a granddaughter a couple of years ago. The baby dresses came out very good mine were a little tight in the torso area. Ill work it out some how. Thanks for some great ideas and the looks are grand love love love them

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      Nov 26, 2011, 03.07 PMby Whitehaus

      Glad you like them! This era always gets me inspired, too.

      And a many plaided quilt doesn’t seem like a bad idea:)

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    Nov 25, 2011, 11.49 PMby carottesauvage

    The girl with the pale yellow twin set and leaf hat looks great! Love the style!

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      Nov 26, 2011, 03.02 PMby Whitehaus

      I’m obsessed with her! It’s a great mix of edgy with demure. I almost didn’t include the image, because it’s a little more modern than the rest of the bunch, but she was way too good to leave out. Glad you like her, too!

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      Nov 26, 2011, 04.21 PMby carottesauvage

      I am glad you kept it! I find it very inspiring

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    Nov 25, 2011, 09.47 PMby peaches2218

    Who taught all those women in the era of the first photo to stand like that? I adore the coats, but that is really not a flattering pose, especially for orange-coat girl. She looks like she’s trying desperately to camouflage the fact that her heel just got stuck in the grass!

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      Nov 26, 2011, 03.04 PMby Whitehaus

      Haha! Not sure. I’d blame it on Dynasty, but these images are too early for that. Let’s go with your heel in the mud theory:)

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    Nov 25, 2011, 01.41 PMby fuzzyg

    In the ‘sources unknown’, the big knit shawl on the left is clearly Kaffe Fasset’s work..

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      Nov 26, 2011, 03.05 PMby Whitehaus

      Thanks for the info! I try to track down the source of everything, it’s frustrating when I come up with a blank.

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    Nov 24, 2011, 09.31 AMby loulourosa

    Lovely vintage inspiration, we are having a sunny autumn, so everything looks beautifull.

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      Nov 24, 2011, 09.55 PMby Whitehaus

      Thank you!

      We’ve been fortunate to have a great fall here, too. Some years it feels like it goes straight from summer into winter.

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    Nov 23, 2011, 10.34 PMby nouvellegamine

    and this is why fall is my favorite season. plaid, wool, tweed, and a beautiful autumn palette. and wait- is the the girl on the mademoiselle cover wearing spats? why yes she is. fall for the win!

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      Nov 24, 2011, 09.53 PMby Whitehaus

      Good eye! I’m obsessed with spats and totally didn’t notice she was wearing them. I love her even more.

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