Deconstructing Classic Outerwear

Recently, when I was flipping through magazines in PERS, I came across these images of a classic outerwear staple, the Balmaccan or men’s raglan-sleeved raincoat.  These images are from Apparel Arts magazine’s April 1946 issue, but it’s obvious that the design of this coat hasn’t changed much in the last 70 or so years.


I thought you all would find the breakdown of these layers interesting and maybe even useful.  When this was published, Apparel Arts was still a menswear-industry news source. (It was later absorbed into Esquire, and recreated as a consumer magazine, Gentleman’s Quarterly.)


I’m fascinated that this style is still so current (Michael Kors has an indigo version currently in stores), down to the raglan sleeve, side slit pockets, and button tab on the wrists.

The garment industry has been making less and less well-constructed versions of its classic garments with each fashion cycle, due to rising costs, availability of materials, price point of the garment, and so on.  But this garment is so basic in its details, I doubt that a current version could be constructed without pretty similar cuts of hymo (an interfacing), lining, or buttons.


You can find these old issues of Apparel Arts magazine up on the 6th floor of the library, in the Periodicals and Electronic Services Department.  I hope they inspire you as they do me.

We have this title in the following formats and runs:

Apparel Arts: Christmas 1931-Feb. 1950 (SPARC and also microfilm)

Apparel Arts: April 1943-Dec. 1949 (at the PERS desk, 6th floor)

Esquire’s Apparel Arts: Jan. 1950-June 1956 (at the PERS desk, 6th floor)

Apparel Arts: July 1956-Winter 1957

Gentlemen’s Quarterly: Spring 1958-May 1983

Gentlemen’s Quarterly: June 1983-Current

While most of these issues live at the PERS desk on the 6th floor, there are also other copies of many issues in SPARC.  Check StyleCat for details: