1940s Mourning/Evening Swing Coat

I am a huge vintage nerd, especially for mourning ephemera dating from about the early Victorian era to the 1950s. I’ve even had portions of my collection shown in a (small) museum. The ritual of mourning attire is something that fascinates me, as it’s something we have largely abandoned in our modern times. I love clothing that has a story, that hearkens to a bygone era or fantastical concept (which is probably why I do what I do for a living).

1940s evalen original swing coat velvet

Recently I spent the day shopping with my friend in a variety of vintage shops and we happened across the most beautiful 1940’s velvet jacket I’d ever seen! There was much polite “well, if you aren’t going to buy it” back and forth between us until the sales lady offered me a deal and I snatched it up (there goes my grocery budget for the week, sigh).

evalen originals velvet 1947 swing coat mourning

Part of the thrill of acquiring new antique clothing and ephemera for me is the research, sussing out the story behind something. So not long after figuring out what minor repairs this piece needed I set about researching it.

evalen originals embroidered jet bead 1940s swing coat mourning

The tag inside says “Evalen Originals New York”, which was a company that produced a lot of evening wear with beading in the late 1940s. This jacket is made of black silk velvet and is cut in the “swing” style popular from about 1945 to the early 1950s. It’s longer in the back, has structured shoulders, and lovely draping sleeves. Guessing by looking at similar pieces by this label my jacket is likely from 1947 (give or take).

evalen originals fourties 40s evening wear

It’s got beautiful black braided details and jet beading, jet being used for mourning jewelry and clothing detail almost exclusively.

antique embroidered initials

Inside of the lining are three embroidered initials- BJC. They are the same style that my grandmother had inside of her mink wedding stole, which dates from a little earlier than my jacket. I love the little embroidered initials, they remind me someone owned this jacket first and cared for it enough to mark it with her name.

Wearing it makes me feel like a very decadent 40s femme! I can’t wait to wear it to a book reading in February (outfit photos then hopefully)! πŸ™‚


2 thoughts on “1940s Mourning/Evening Swing Coat

  1. This whole post is amazing! I love mourning clothing as well, but sadly don’t own any. I adore it though. Ooh! I want pictures from the book reading in the vintage black mourning jacket. That combination of things just sounds glorious. πŸ˜€

    1. I’ve been lucky to inherit quite a few of my great grandmother’s mourning pieces. That sort of began the obsession I think. πŸ™‚

      Oh yes! If I can ever get this new camera figured out and it’s remote working there will be outfit photos til people beg me to stop LOL. πŸ˜‰

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