From this side of the Atlantic there has always seemed to be an allure to the London Fog brand – a classic name in American clothing. For many years I thought the company was based San Francisco – not sure exactly why. In fact they were (and still are) based in Baltimore, MD.
In the 1980s when there were numerous options for finding vintage US clothing in London, I was always on the look out for a London Fog raincoat. Why London Fog? Well, it was always the brand that seemed to be the most iconic when I ever I came across a second hand example, and in an early version of technical clothing, the wash’n’wear fabric with the zip out furry lining for winter use just seemed like the perfect raincoat. Added to that was that the coats also had the right sillhouette – unlike the British coats made by Burberry and Aquascutum that looked like a giant ‘A’ when worn, the London Fog models had a straight drop.
There were two items of clothing that London Fog made that seemed to be definitive: the ‘fur’ lined Maincoat and the Baracuta copy golf jacket that had straight hems and cuffs instead of elastic. (One of the first ever things I bought on Ebay in 1998 when it started was a Lemon Yellow example that turned out to a bit small).
Back in 1983 a friend of mine managed to find a Maincoat in his size, complete with lining and I remember being most jealous. I eventually found one in my size but without the coveted zip in part – the bare coat side of the zip remaining to remind me of its missing insides.
Flash forward 25 years and like all classic clothing, the tan raincoat is sure to be making a comeback anytime soon. Of course many of my contemporaries over on Film Noir Buff have been wearing them all along, but my own forays into single breasted mac-dom have rested on Burberry, Aquascutum and a non branded model bought from one of those long gone stores on Regent St that have a perennial sale and are run by Filipino ladies. That coat was wonderfully made, in England, but again the cut was a little strange on me.
Ebay has of course brought all of our youthful pasts back to haunt us and one day suddenly the light bulb went on: ‘why not check on Ebay for London Fog?’ Turns out there are hundreds of them listed there, from the vintage sellers who describe everything as ‘rockabilly, punk, indie’ and swear its all in ‘great vintage condition’ (read cheesy, smelly with holes and stains) listing buy it now for $100.00 to genuine house clearing ‘mom and pop’ sellers who have gone through the attic and just want to clear things out. It was from the latter that I found my coat – from one of the nicest sellers I’ve come across on Ebay, a lady in Florida called Marcelle, who changed her listing so that I could bid for worldwide shipping and then sold me the coat in perfect almost unused condition, just as she described it. It seems her husband had had little use for it living in Florida.
As I seem to be doing a lot lately, I sized down to a 40R based on Marcelle’s measurements and the coat fits me perfectly. I wore it for the first time last Friday into the City and met up with D my Senegalese Ivy Style loving friend. He couldn’t believe I’d found this coat on Ebay and asked me to try it on there and then in Regent St. Afterwards he told me he was tempted to just run off, so that he didn’t have to give it back. I couldn’t let him do that, so instead when I got home, I checked on Ebay and found another one, identical and almost as perfect for only a few dollars more than I’d paid.
So thanks to Marcelle and the guys at FNB who all helped me with the sizing problem based on their own London Fogs, I finally got myself ‘the coat of my intentions’, as you might say.