These photos were taken before the stay-home orders were issued
The open-front coat is a controversial item; it demands that its wearer consider this question: when is it cold enough to wear a coat, but warm enough to wear it open? But the question misses the point. The open-front coat exists “Because Fashion! Because the Outfit!!” But I also think it’s a fine replacement for the office shawl; and it also works as a fashionable housecoat.
One of my favorite open-front coats is the Theory Double-Face Wool-Cashmere Clairene Jacket, which adds polish and instantly pulls an outfit together. It’s also actively unfussy: clashes with nothing and fits over bulky items. So, if you are open-front coat curious, read on for a short review:
FIT The fit is relaxed so size down if you are petite or want a closer fit. I am 5’2 and the size P hits me at mid-thigh. For those looking for a longer style, Theory also offered a coat version called “Overlay Coat In Double-Face Wool-Cashmere” that’s a few inches longer.
MATERIAL/CONSTRUCTION The felt-like wool-cashmere blend (90% wool, 10% cashmere), which Theory named “New Divide Luxe,” is medium-weight and just heavy enough to retain structure and allow the material to drape naturally. The coat has no designed fasteners so must be worn open, though you might try cinching it at the waist with a wide belt to give it definition. This coat is dry clean only.
PRICE $595 is steep for a knit jacket, but the style is timeless so can be worn for many years to come… at least that’s what I told myself to justify the purchase. The Clairene is one of Theory’s evergreen styles so doesn’t normally get discounted in classic colors, and even the seasonal colors tend to get snapped up quickly on sale (pre-COVID19, anyway). In recent months, though, even classic colors can regularly be found at 15%-25% off.
SEASONALITY Warm enough, with a technical base layer, well into fall in New England or for early spring. But it’s neither wind nor water proof so will not work in inclement weather.
FEATURES The Clairene is the definition of “restrained minimalism,” and is defined more by which details are absent than by the ones that are present: There are no zippers or snaps or drawstrings or elasticized cuffs or a hood. It does have two side slip pockets, though.