Went Shopping and Got a Boucle Coat (and More)

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Thursday, November 12, 1914:  Mother and I went shopping. She’s doing more than I did of course. I got a coat, which is a blue and black boucle, a dress, gloves, and other things of lesser importance. I had a suit case full of stuff and then some more. Ma had her share, too. Fortunately we got a ride part way home.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

boucle coatI found this purple and black boucle coat on ebay. The era’s wrong (this is a 1950’s coat), and the color isn’t quite blue; but it can give you an idea of what Grandma’s coat looked like. I bet she looked awesome.


What a fun day! Nothing cheers a woman up like clothes shopping—especially when her mother pays for the clothes.

41 thoughts on “Went Shopping and Got a Boucle Coat (and More)

  1. “Fortunately we got a ride part way home.” I was enjoying reading Grandma’s post when that sentence struck home. They weren’t tossing their purchases in the back seat as they made them – they were CARRYING them! A SUITCASE full!

    Great reminder of how much easier life is these days, isn’t it? 🙂

    1. Yes, life is so much easier today! It’s hard to imagine how they must have started walking from town out into the country toward their farm carrying a suitcase of new clothes.

  2. Laura, in the comment above, had the same thought I did. Sounds like Grandma got quite a few things and her mom bought more? It’s fun reading about their shopping trip.
    I never heard of boucle til a few years ago; guess it’s been around a long time.

        1. You’re not going to believe this. I am such a doofus. I just went in the closet, and there, in my collection of coats I never wear because it doesn’t get that cold here, is a boucle coat. It’s forest green, with great buttons. It had a mink collar once upon a time, but I didn’t like it and took it off. It’s from the Jones Store in Kansas CIty, and has my monogram inside. I’m sure I had it in high school!

    1. When I read the word boucle in the diary, I knew it was some kind of cloth, but wasn’t quite sure what it looked like-so I googled it. Once I saw pictures of it, I immediately realized that I was familiar with this fabric, I just hadn’t known what it was called.

  3. I can’t imagine going shopping and carrying my suitcase along. So that’s what shoppers did before plastic bags.

  4. Nice to hear her so cheery and that’s quite a haul! Perhaps it was her winter wardrobe? My mother recounts that back in her humble beginnings – a new dress for the season was such a big deal.

    1. Sometimes I think about how the old farmhouse where I grew up had few closets (and they were very small). People just didn’t have nearly as many clothes years ago as they have now.

  5. And here’s a true shopping story from my junior/senior high school days. If I needed a new dress for something, sometimes my dad would stop by the store and ask Dave, the owner/manager, to pick out a few things he thought I’d like. Then, Dad would bring them home. I’d try them all on when I got back to school, decide what I wanted to keep, and the next day either Mom and I or Dad would take the rest back to the store and pay for what we kept.

    It was called “taking things out on approval.” Can you imagine?

  6. With so many purchases, I am surprised that the store didn’t offer delivery. Maybe that only happened in the big cities.

    1. I also was surprised by how much they bought. Based on past diary entries, it seems like Grandma and her family generally made relatively few purchases.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s