Saturday, December 12, 2009

Overcoat review: Soviet greatcoat

The black greatcoats were out of my pricerange. So I settled for this Soviet officer's greatcoat. Bluish grey instead of black. I like the color though. Shipping included it was 35 rubles dollars. That is recession friendly pricing, comrade.

The red collar tabs are ok, but I am tempted to get black ones. The artillery gunner's pin looks cool, but these days the railroad officer's pin has my fancy.

Choo choo! All aboard the Trans-Siberian Railway!

This is theoretically how it would look if I chose to replace the red felt collar tabs with another color. They also have blue ones for the airforce. The airforce pin is a propeller with wings. Crazy, I know.

Buying clothes on Ebay can be dicey, as measurements may not give you a proper fit. Caveat emptor. Luckily it is not too long in the length or sleeves. The length is perfect but...

This could be the style of fitting, or it could be the unusual proportions of the original wearer, but it was difficult for me to raise my arms. It was uncomfortable to reach the steering wheel of my car let alone fire a Kalashnikov. The problem was the pleat in the middle of the back. It seemed a simple fix to have it tailored. Upon further inspection it seemed a matter of unstitching the pleat; the half belt would keep the look the same and maintain the slim profile.

I decided to fix it myself. Would a bourgeois tailor charge more than the cost of the coat itself? So with a sharp seam ripper I carefully went to work. Verily, those were some tough stitches to remove. But it is finished and looks - and most importantly - fits great. For a handful of kopeks on the People's Ebay I found a real gem. Sharp looking too. It will serve you well during the frigid winter of our discontent as the capitalist system unravels just as Marx predicted.

Oh, and is it warm? I should preface this by stating that this is a very heavy coat. Far heavier than my other wool coat. Probably heavier than my leather biker jacket. And yes, it is warm. Perhaps because of the cut, it is the warmest coat I own. It is also an extremely finely woven wool. In fact Soviet wool was a special hybrid from a mix of Angora goats with native Russian breeds, strangely done with Medelian genetics.

Raise the Red lantern

Does it clash too much with my Maoist propaganda posters?

Supplemental reading: Gogol's The Overcoat.

I hope this doesn't mean I have to start drinking vodka. Vodka is a bit of a scam if you ask me, but that is a blog for another day.

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