I have a slightly inexplicable love of Russian-inspired Victorian and Edwardian clothing. The cold weather rolls around and I just feel compelled to make something with a lot of braidwork or trim, something that can be paired with a round fur hat.
Some of you may have heard of Armstreet before. They make medieval and fantasy armor, weapons, and costumes. You may have switched off just then, but I urge you to check out their store, because their women’s costumes are beautiful. Nearly all of Armstreet’s offerings are meant for LARP, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, early Renaissance, maybe SCA, even adventurous modern wear, but there are a couple things in there that are actually quite lovely for later periods.
One of these items is the “Russian Seasons” coat (which also comes with a hat and muff.) I kept seeing this Victorian skating outfit in my mind when I looked at it:
But one of the most attractive things about this coat is that you can style it for so many different periods. It would work with earlier 1870s, later 1890s and 1900, with 1910s and even 1920s (Miss Fisher would totally wear this!), all just by changing the skirt silhouette.
When I ordered, I punched in my measurements, and soon after got a confirmation email informing me that my coat was being cut and sewn by the seamstress. Whoa! Not just customized, actually completely custom made for me!
|With the measurements I gave (for modern wear over jeans, not to accommodate a bustle), I went with an earlier 1880s silhouette, more Natural Form, so the jacket would lay smoothly. You can order this jacket with any measurements, though – just give them measurements taken over your underpinnings.|
It took about 5 weeks for my order to be sewn and shipped from Ukraine, but it was well worth it. The coat is gorgeous and extremely well made. It’s real wool, fully lined, perfectly fitting to my measurements, and very warm. The fur is faux, and very fluffy. I ended up trimming the fur back a bit – just my personal preference.
|The wool, poppy trim, and faux fur are excellent quality.|
I ordered it as much for everyday winter wear as for costuming, but you could give measurements taken over your underpinnings, to use specifically for a certain costume – for instance, a smaller waist and fuller hem for wearing over a crinoline or bustle.
|I particularly like the puffed sleeves. You could wear this jacket with various skirts for 1880s through 1920s. It would look equally good with a wide 1900s Belle Epoque skirt, or a 19teens hobble skirt. If you plan to wear this coat with historical costume, give measurements taken over your corset, hip padding, and petticoats (like I should have done)|
When I got the coat, I dashed to the fabric store for some black wool to make a matching skirt, but all I could find was grey wool. Over a weekend I threw together my favorite Truly Victorian TV261 1885 Four-Gore Underskirt to wear with the coat. It was a tough decision on which period to go with – 1880s? 1890s? 1900? 1910s? Any and all would work.
I have to say this whole outfit is very warm. The temperature was about 28 degrees for these photos, but I was snug as a bug wrapped in wool and fluff.
|A future black wool skirt with a wide fur guard is in order, to make a completely matching outfit for ice skating or winter strolling.|
All in all, I love this coat, and it was well worth the price and wait time. I’m really impressed with Armstreet’s quality and service, and the possibilities are broad. They’re super-receptive to questions and special requests, too. I love items you can wear for both historical and modern, so I consider this a great buy! To read more about the “Russian Seasons” coat, click here.