Fashion and the military look: it’s a permanent fling.
Classic lines, authenticity, distinctiveness, the whiff of romance… and let’s not forget function. These clothes keep their promises. Swoon.
Hidden in the inside pocket, this coat’s fabulously utilitarian label indicates it’s West German, 1960s. My good friend and German to English translator Adam Ramsey tells me "Altenkessel – Saar" is the location of the manufacturer “Werner Mahlberg”.
I picked it up at my local Oxfam shop for £5 (in international currency, the price of two Starbucks lattes). Yes, I am rather smug about that.
I have spent some time imagining a colourful history for it, but I suspect it was army-surplus. Un-issued. No derring-do has been done.
In soft grey wool with a full satin lining, it’s tapered at the waist and surprisingly small. Eye-catching on a boy but jaw-dropping on a girl, especially one with an hourglass figure and pepper-red lipstick. The enemy will surrender; willingly.
As feminine as it gets, this tiny chrome lighter sits pretty at the crossroads between glamour and gadget.
Embossed with twirling leaves and vines, deliciously tactile to bare fingers, you may overlook the pattern's very practical purpose: it's easy to grip in white gloves.
And those leaves go everywhere, embossing the whole case as it gently curves to a slender edge.
Among hourglass figures, sweetheart necklines and frothy lace petticoats, this shining accessory knew how to ... accessorise.
Ronson patented the mechanism that lets these lighters be operated with one hand. In a piece of genuine vintage copywriting, they marketed this feature with the line: "A flip - and it's lit! Release - and it's out!".
Ronson also did things differently by designing lighters for women. Tiny. Delicate. Sparkly.
What girl wants to fumble with matches and snag her nails? What woman wants to wait for a man to light her cigarette?
We all know the answer to that: a woman loo…