The Vance Winans Co.
Although a dry goods business, Vance's Cloak House was listed under the “cloaks & suits” heading in the 1905 city directory to let its clientele know that this type of merchandise was a specialty. Later known as E.W. Vance & Bros Exclusive Cloak and Fur House. Edwin W. Vance moved to Columbus from Cincinnati where he had been working as a dry goods clerk. His store first appears in the city directory in 1894 at 75 N. High Street, next door to Burns Tailors at number 73. His brother Herman joined him in business for a few years before Edwin partnered with Carey C. Winans in 1908 to form The Vance-Winans Co. Winans had started as a buyer for the Vance Cloak House in 1903. The American Cloak and Suit Review announced in 1914 that Winans had taken over the business of the company and that, “The Vance-Winans Co. is the largest store in Central Ohio dealing in women’s ready-towear garments exclusively, and has progressed to this point under the management of Mr. Winans…and in future will be known as The C.C. Winans Co.”
The evening coat with a blue silk satin and gray silk velvet floral pattern (pictured right) carries the label The Vance Winans Co. Columbus, O. While its shape and length imply it could date from the late 1920s, the wording of the label indicates a date before 1914. Upon looking closer at the fashion magazines featuring narrow, hobble skirted fashions of the early 1910s, one will find coats with just this silhouette and length. This coat, like the Daisy Schaefer dress from 1897, belonged to Fannie Barker Brown. The coat is beautifully made, and like most of Mrs. Brown’s clothing, reflects the quality of belonging to a wardrobe of a woman of status and means in society.