The Way We Were Wool Trench Coat

Barbra Streisand wore this 1940’s style, tailored wool trench coat during the filming of “The Way We Were” (1973). Though the scene she wore this coat in was cut from the final edit of the film, it was featured prominently in many promotional stills. 

In the 1940’s this style of coat would have been restricted by L-85. This rule was issued by the US War Production Board, with the goal of a 15% reduction in the amount of textiles used in women’s wear. Coats could not have a bi-swing back, could not have more than two pockets, and had a limitation on sleeve circumference that eliminated exaggerated sleeve types, such as the bell shaped Dolman sleeve that was popular in the 1930s. Like this one, most coats were herringbone, and made from wool and rayon-wool blends. Many were re-purposed wool from used coats and wool blankets.

Wool trench coats like this are also called wrap coats. They were typically somewhat loose-fitting, but not over sized. 

This multicolored jacket features a wide pointed collar with a fully lined pleated bodice. There is a large button at the collar and a hook and single hook and eye closure at the waist. There are two slit pockets, as well as a detachable leather tie belt. 

Costume design for The Way We Were was a joint effort between Dorothy Jeakins (1914-1995) and Moss Mabry (1918-2006). Jeakins was unusual in that she freelanced, never signing a long-term contract with any one studio. She ended up leaving the production before it was completed and Mabry took over. Due to this, they were nominated for the best costume design Academy Award for this film together. This piece sold at a Juliens auction in 2004 for $2,040.00 USD. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *