Coats and jackets

First up, coats and jackets. I was actively in the market for: 

  • a great pea coat or military coat and/or trench (not black), 
  • a coat to wear with midis in winter, and 
  • a utility-type casual rain resistant coat to replace my beloved J. Crew utility coat. 

I might be able to eke another year or two out of that coat if I get it cleaned and then re-wax it. I'm just not sure, because the canvas is starting to wear. It has been a total workhorse for me. 

I was actively not looking for leather jackets or puffers. 

As for jackets, I was hoping for a fun plaid, not Black Watch (since I have one), and I'm always on the lookout for ways to add red. 

ETA to add fit notes for those curious. 

I really wanted to try the VB Harriet red plaid -- but it is completely gone. For comparison I tried on several sizes of another of her jackets. It wasn't exactly the same cutaway style (the Harriet looks a bit shorter) so it's difficult to say for sure, but anyway, right now in VB, I seemed to be between sizes -- the smaller size felt a bit snug and the larger size looked better but something felt a bit off with the proportions. Probably the stance was too low in that size. 

I will still stalk Harriet to see if I can try it on, and would consider it. It is pricey for me even on sale, but this is the kind of thing I'd wear into the ground if the fit was good, so it's still worth considering if I get a chance. 

The red double breasted coat is beautiful quality for the price and "my" true red. I tried Angie's on -- it was a size too small. Alas! There are none to be had anywhere now in any size. So I will stalk it. Christina asked about fit -- I would say it is fairly straight through the hip but not ridiculously so. 

I took home the water resistant moto detail coat. It's a really good casual item. I loved the hardware on it, and it has a nice cozy faux fur lined hood that is removable. I'm not 100% sure I will keep it, though. I need to try it out with some outfits and consider the wear level of the J. Crew. Might make sense to wait another year. On the other hand, the price is right, and as Angie pointed out, the slippery fabric would repel cat hair. :).  I got the S in this coat. With added weight, these days I'm sometimes XS and sometimes S and this time I needed the S. 

Although I wasn't in the market for puffers, I tried on a few by Bernardo. I tell you, that Rachylou knows her business. Bernardo makes great puffies for a moderately cold or damp/chilly climate. They are not really up to the rigours of Quebec winters, but they are super for more moderate climates or for people who are mainly wearing them in and out of their car. I liked the fit of both the long and short and both colours were sophisticated and flattering. They seem TTS to me. 

Surprisingly, the dark red or mulberry or whatever you call that colour looked good on Angie as well as on me. As did the green. Good hardware and waist fit on those coats. The only complaint I had was that the zippers were not two-way. That is pretty much a deal-breaker for me when it comes to puffer coats. But if it is not an issue for you, and you need a puffer, give these a chance. 

For fun, I also tried on some lightweight coats and long line jackets. The zebra coat was super fun -- almost a "swacket" -- a lightweight item with some stretch, not a true lined coat but something to wear as an indoor topper or on days with a slight fall nip to the air. It looked terrific with my silver hair and I quite liked it. But I didn't think I'd wear it much, plus, as Janet pointed out, the fabric seemed likely to catch and with a cat in the household...

The Summit version was also fun -- not quite as flattering to me as the VC, I think, partly because of the collarless style and partly because the white is "brightening" for my complexion. 

The double face wool Black Watch pattern coat was gone or it would have tempted me. I did try the star pattern coat and it felt like a lot of coat to me -- a bit overwhelming, but the 80s vibe was fun. It's very lightweight -- more for fall than winter (even in my current climate) and not lined. It lacked side entry pockets. For some that might be a bonus but my hands always look for those pockets. Note that many of this year's coats lack side pockets, including the red midi coat I'm stalking. 

The shawl collar blazer is gorgeous for the price and really fun looking, but not my colours with the gold hardware and yellow. It will be stunning on Angie

The Topshop red and white check was adorable on, and fun, but I wasn't completely at home in it, though the fit was very nice. I had to size up 2 to 3 sizes larger than my typical box store size and larger even than my designer size. 

The Madewell oversized denim jacket was really cool, but I didn't feel ready to make the styling commitment. Angie thought it looked good with what I was wearing, but it felt proportionately "off" to me and I figured I would need more time to consider the look. 

The 1 State Windowpane ruched sleeve blazer felt like a winner the second I put it on. There's a bit of stretch to the fabric and for me it seemed like a really easy item to wear. Considering the VB wasn't even available, this seemed to fit the same yen without breaking the bank, and the fit might actually be better for me. 

The wrinkle? I had promised to avoid black items. And this is called "deepest black." Ha! Well, I could be in denial but I swear the black looks more like deep ink! Laid next to black jeans it looked downright blue! Anyway, I took it home. (Shhhhh). ;)

I also tried on and really liked the long line jacket (same company). I needed a larger size in this to accommodate my hips, and while I really liked it, it wasn't quite up to the standard of the jacket on me. So I passed. I might reconsider, though. 

I also really liked but ultimately passed on the little Chanel style bouclé jacket. It looked really good, but I didn't feel I needed it. 

Angie's aviator jacket was so much fun and a great red for me. But it felt a bit too long and narrow through the hip and there was no two-way zip. Plus, I didn't want pleather or leather, so that was out. 

I also tried on a few pleather jackets for fun -- they came in nice cool blush tones and pale blues. But again, I wasn't in the market so they stayed behind. 

To summarize (at last, you're thinking!) I'd say this is a really good sale for mid-range and inexpensive coats and jackets. The higher range stuff was mixed, and some of the best sold out immediately, so I couldn't examine it. The overwhelming themes were plaid, double breasted, colour, animal print, texture. The mood is fun, playful, statement-making. 

Given the sell-out rate of some of these items, I actually wonder if the whole marketing plan for the sale differs from previous years -- there is so much *less* online than I seem to recall and stock in the flagship store at least seemed to sell out very quickly.  But they do re-stock and some items will come back in, so it's worth continuing to look if you are curious. 

Finally -- my non NAS related disappointment -- Angie kindly brought her Hobbs trench for me to try on for size. We determined that I needed a size up from her and I went back to order it immediately. But (sob!) -- no more Saskias in navy with white stitching. And none in my size on the UK site period. I will have to wait for another year. Sigh...

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29 Comments

  • Chris987 replied 1 month ago

    Thank you SO much for these reviews! I ordered that Bernardo puffer in black because it's one of the rare ones that comes in petite sizes and I have so loved my Bernardo puffer vest. Given your comments about it not being super warm for the Quebec climate (which is only a little colder than my New England climate) and not unzipping from the bottom, I will review it carefully once it arrives. A new black puffer is on my wish list but it sounds like this one might not be the one.

    I love that plaid shawl collar blazer but it was already sold out in most petite sizes by the time I was able to log in at the start of NAS for those of us with Nord credit cards but not high levels of spending on it. Will stalk it but not rigorously since it was kind of an impulse idea.

  • Kathie replied 1 month ago

    Thanks for all the notes and reviews. Good luck stalking the VB Harriet and red Avec Les Filles. Both are clearly perfect for you. So glad you’re keeping the windowpane- you were radiant in the picture of that one.

  • Suz replied 1 month ago

    Chris, it's possible the Bernardo would be warm enough for you with layers and movement. Depends how you're wearing it, you know? And see what you think about the zips. I was disappointed because I find the two way zip helps with sitting situations (car, mainly) and even with certain underlayers. On the plus side, it's super flattering. 

  • lisa p replied 1 month ago

    Interesting notes , thanks for sharing . Odd about the lack of 2 way zips = total deal breaker for me too .

  • Barbara Diane replied 1 month ago

    Suz, sooo much fun following your shop. Glad you are finding some winners, and keep stalking :)

  • Gretchen replied 1 month ago

    Thanks for the details! I loved my Bernardo walker puffer last year, and am considering the green to replace an aging Gallery coat that lost its belt. 

    I also had the star print avec les filles on my wishlist. Was it overwhelming for you b/c of the fit, or the print? Wondering if its worth stalking...

    Good luck finding the next ones on your list!

  • Angie replied 1 month ago

    Thanks so much for doing this, smiley Suz! You rock in every way.

    *SOBBING* about the Hobbs trench. But at least you know which size works.

    Bernardo is a pukka coat manufacturer, so that’s why they make excellent outerwear.

  • lisa p replied 1 month ago

    I clicked through on some of your finds, and the first 4 I clicked are already sold out .  I find this sale and marketing strategy endlessly fascinating, yet frustrating.  It definitely encourages repeat visits to the site to check up on availability  - in a way that one probably and normally wouldn't for any other sale. 

  • rachylou replied 1 month ago

    My Bernardo Puffy from two seasons back is really holding up... *sigh*... no excuse for a new one :(

  • columbine(erin) replied 1 month ago

    Thanks for these reviews! Fingers crossed that you can get those pieces you’re stalking. I love your dress.

  • Style Fan replied 1 month ago

    Great reviews!  I find 2 way zippers useful on puffers too.  As you said, they are helpful when you are driving but also for other times.  Interesting, that some of the coats did not have side entry pockets.  I don't reach for my Theory coat because it doesn't have the pockets.  

  • Laura replied 1 month ago

    Dang it, I am bummed to hear the long/narrow fit of the Sam Edelman red aviator jacket. I ordered it in two sizes, but I'm guess it will NOT work for petite, curvy me. Ah well! I guess the true test will be the try-on. Your water-resistant moto-style trench is stylish and looks incredibly practical for Vancouver. I can see that becoming a new workhorse!

  • suntiger replied 1 month ago

    I'm guessing that most will be restocked later (hopefully the long red coat)! Lucky to have a fun shop day with Angie and Anna :)

  • Bijou replied 1 month ago

    That VB Harriet blazer is likely to be amazing on you - when I saw it in the catalogue you were the first person to spring to mind. I really love the window pane check blazer you bought - absolutely stunning on you and enough red to break up the navy/black. Such a wonderful and comprehensive review. You have to be super fussy because everything looks wonderful on you, the plaid blazer and Chanel are also so good on you.

  • Janet replied 1 month ago

    I honestly don’t understand coats without pockets. Seems like that’s just a cheap shortcut.

  • JAileen replied 1 month ago

    I ordered the Black Watch coat and a few others as soon as I could. I’m not expecting a lot from it, though. It’s not lined, low wool content, and weird buttons. Is it double breasted or not? I love Black Watch, though so I’m giving it a chance.

    It’s too bad about the red coat. I thrifted a red boiled wool recently, otherwise I would have been right on it. Last year I kept a tab open on something I stalked, and just refreshed it every so often, and eventually had success. Good luck.

  • Christina F. replied 1 month ago

    Thanks for the reviews! I will order that black watch coat if possible. I see JAileen says it's unlined, but it's to replace a coat I used in 40-50 F weather, so that's probably okay.

  • Column replied 1 month ago

    So I am guessing you considered but ruled out the Hobbs trench in red for color or practicality reasons? If the color is cool enough, it should be spectacular on you. There is an extra 30% off sale prices now, which puts the cost at $160 USD (I think). Last I looked, your size range was still available.

  • Suz replied 1 month ago

    Column, thank you! I did consider the Hobbs trench in red but it's not available in my size in the UK shop and as a Canadian that is where I have to order it. Sigh. Luckily, this is a repeat style. I will wait for next year's offerings. Or stalk it on Ebay?

    Christina and JAileen, the black watch is (I think) double breasted in style but only has one set of buttons. You can see how it looks more accurately by looking at the grey version. It might work in 40 to 50 degree weather, yes. I tried on the star version because that's all they had, and I'm not even sure it was my proper size (my memory is already a bit of a blur) and it was just way too much pattern on me and the sleeves also felt wide somehow. Plus, I was searching for those side entry pockets. But it really has potential. Angie will say more in her comments I suspect. 

    Janet, I had wondered if side entry pockets could sometimes be an issue for women with curvy hips and there were complaints about that. I can see how with some styles they might pop out the way pants pockets can. And that would be really annoying. But if you and Style Fan both want pockets, I may be wrong about that and your theory makes a lot more sense -- it's probably just a way to save the makers money! 

    Laura --  you might get lucky with those coats. The red midi coat is not SUPER narrow -- it's just straight. Angie didn't think the Aviator was too snug on me at the bottom but I felt it pulling and it was also snug for me in the shoulders. A size up would have been way too big. In other words, I was between sizes. If it had fit more smoothly on my hip the length would have looked okay. 

    Also, I have a photo just for you. :)

  • smittie replied 1 month ago

    Suz, I though the black/red window pane blazer was navy or ink until you said otherwise! The red probably makes it look more blue.
    It's the perfect thing for you.

    I know you have a bit of gingham in your wardrobe already. Maybe it could be your 'signature'? The red/white jacket is so fun!

  • Suz replied 1 month ago

    Smittie, you enabler, you. :) I didn't go back to buy that gingham jacket though I might order it online just to try it on again. It won't be part of the Vancouver sale because Nordstrom doesn't carry Topshop there. 

    Thanks for confirming my blue bias on the windowpane jacket. You might be right that the red makes it look more blue. I'm not telling anyone, anyway! ;) 

  • JAileen replied 1 month ago

    The red coat has been restocked, if you’re interested.

  • Suz replied 1 month ago

    Thanks, JAileen -- not available in my size in red. SOB!!! 

  • JAileen replied 1 month ago

    XSmall avail right now

  • Angie replied 1 month ago

    YES. It's been restocked!  

  • DJP replied 1 month ago

    I think Angie has this coat, does that means it's a warm based red or is it a cool based red (blue based) ? 

  • Angie replied 1 month ago

    DJP, it can go both ways. It's NOT my warm and orange-y tomato red, but not overly cool either. It's a little brighter than in that photo. 

  • Suz replied 1 month ago

    DJP, I'd call it a true red. Not quite fire engine -- not that deep/rich -- but not cool and not warm either. Really a CLEAR red. 

    Also, having worked with Angie this visit I would say that her current red specs mean she can wear a much wider spectrum of reds than she might typically choose or gravitate toward. She looked really pretty in a mulberry coat, for instance, as well as in this true red and some darker cooler reds. 

  • Angie replied 1 month ago

    Suz, YES. Good observation. My watermelon specs have made me much more open to wearing an assortment of reds - but tomato red remains closest to my heart :)

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