Traditionally gabardine is a fabric made of wool that is woven into a patten of diagonal parallel ribs. This method gives it a smooth feeling on one side and a textured surface on the other. It sounds sexy, but get your mind out of the gutter- it was invented in the late 19th century well before sex even existed.
Best known for its use in the 1940s and ’50s it was infused with rayon or other synthetics, based in bright colors and used to create shirts, pants, overcoats and dresses. But these days it’s the vintage gabardine jackets that have collectors buzzing. The jackets are still quite commonly found on eBay but if you want to give yourself the gift of gab, hold out for one that is two-toned, has patterns, is reversible or any combination of the three.
The atomic pattern is very sought after, as are argyle, cars, animals… pretty much any design under the rainbow except rainbows. And because the material had two appealing sides – both to the touch and eye – the most interesting pieces are reversible in order to maximize the fabric’s split personality. Some jackets feature a different colored interior using the opposite side of the fabric. Think two jackets in one: one casual morning matte, and another for flashy night-time sheen. But don’t expect to get a deal – it may be one article of clothing, but you’ll probably pay double for these features, as they can fetch up to $1,500.