Short Trench Coat

Trench coats are easily my most-worn outerwear items, and for years I’ve been seeking a warm weather option. While I own a few cropped trench coats, none have proved as versatile as their knee-length counterpart, until the Short Trench Coat (sold out in “light stone”; similar option on sale here) pictured here came along. I think what separates this little jacket from the rest is the swing coat silhouette (unfitted but not oversized) and the stretchy mid-weight material that maintains its shape well.

Unlike hip-length jackets, which can have a truncating effect on the petite, a (slightly-longer-than-)waist length jacket will pair well with both cropped and full length pants, as well as skirts and dresses with shorter hemlines.

In sale news:

Sale styles are an extra 50% off at J. Crew with code BIGGEST. My sale picks:

Also on further sale are already-discounted styles at Tory Burch. Use code EXTRA30 for an extra 30% off sale styles. Please note that all sales are final. My picks:

Happy shopping!

Sale Alert: J. Crew Icon Trench Coat

J.Crew’s extra 50% off final sale continues into a third week. While updates are frequent, restocked sizes are selling out almost as quickly as they have been replenished, as prices have become so attractive even final sale is not a deterrent.

The Icon Trench Coat that I reviewed here is now less than $100 after the extra 50% off code (SAVENOW) has been applied, and is still available in most sizes. If you are in the market for an affordable khaki trench coat, look no further.

A few other sale styles that I would recommend checking popbacks for (they are mostly out of stock right now, but sizes do get restocked from time to time; I own all of these and would recommend them all without caveat at these prices): Off-the-Shoulder Sweater Dress (SO warm and cozy; fit is oversized but not unflattering); Convertible Sweater Cape (see on me here); Striped Turtleneck Dress (surprisingly flattering; I wear an XXXS in this); Italian Double-Cloth Wool Lady Day Coat with Thinsulate®; Faux-Fur Leopard Coat; Cable-Knit Turtleneck Sweater-Dress (see on me here); and Academy Loafers in Leather (reviewed here).

Happy shopping!

Suede Trench Coat

The first day of fall is only a few days away, and with it come seesawing temperatures. One piece that I am loving for transitional weather is this faux suede trench coat from Zara. It comes in three colors, and the price–$89.90–is reasonable (especially compared to the Burberry Sanbridges Suede Wrap Trench–also here–that I almost purchased).

The material is on the thin side, which is perfect for early fall, and the piece drapes really well as a result of the lighter fabric. There are a number of minor fit issues that I chose to overlook and don’t plan to address with tailoring, but they are par for the course when one is short: on 5’2 me, the sleeves are about an inch too long (a hassle but not a dealbreaker), the overall length is awkwardly mid-calf (39″ in size XS), and the belt placement is slightly low.

How I plan to mitigate these fit-related issues: scrunch up the sleeves; wear leg-lengthening shoes and avoid footwear that could further truncate one’s leg line; and wear the coat open, instead of belted.

As I have been loving all things pink for early fall, here are two work outfits that I recently wore and that were well-received.

Zara Faux Suede Trench Coat in Pink (size XS) || Zara Trousers with Metal Grommets in Nude Pink (size XS) || Zara Lace Top (past season) || Saint Laurent Small Sac De Jour Leather Tote || Miu Miu Pointed Toe Pumps (past season)
Zara Faux Suede Trench Coat in Pink (size XS) || J. Crew Factory Scalloped Cami Top in Marine Salt (size 00) || Zara Trousers with Metal Grommets in Nude Pink (size XS) || J. Crew Signet Flap Bag in Deep Pewter || Salvatore Ferragamo Vara Pumps in Bisque (also here)

I know my posting rhythm has been irregular and infrequent over the last few weeks, but I hope to return to a 3/4 post a week schedule soon. Stay tuned.

Review: Burberry Sandringham Fit Cashmere Trench Coat

Christopher Bailey, head honcho of Burberry, announced early last month that the brand is moving to consolidate Burberry Prorsum, Burberry London, and Burberry Brit into one unified brand—Burberry—by the end of 2016. This announcement bears only the surprise of timing; it is part of a growing movement to prune—through consolidation, elimination, or reintegration—diffusion brands: Marc by Marc Jacobs was absorbed by Marc Jacobs in March, after a 14-year run; the Donna Karan Collection shuttered in June, following the departure of Donna Karan, leaving behind only DKNY as her legacy; Victoria Beckham Denim was folded into Victoria Victoria Beckham in May; Kate Spade Saturday merged with Kate Spade New York in January.

What’s more surprising is that more (struggling) brands aren’t doing the same. The weakening demand from Chinese consumers has been devastating to the luxury segment; Burberry has warned of softening sales from China for several quarters and was relieved to report flat revenue in its interim report, thanks to some growth in emerging markets.

Mature (and relatively stable) markets have a way of forcing players to enlarge their share of the pie through introducing new lines in the hope of capturing new customers. But, as this old McKinsey article so astutely summarized, “costs reflect the profusion of brands as well, since companies with too many of them suffer from increased marketing and operational complexity and from the associated diseconomies of scale.” The fashion industry is one of the most competitive markets; successful companies (using profit as a metric) tend to be extremely lean and highly specialized, with a brand portfolio that maximizes market penetration.

As a Burberry fangirl, I think this consolidation is a blessing. There have been times when, instead of finalizing my purchase after a 20-minute deliberation, I close the tab because I accidentally stumbled upon something almost identical in spec to the one I’m hoping to buy, but at a different price point. As that famous jam experiment illustrates (okay, I know there have been efforts in the last year to debunk the findings of that experiment but it holds water for me), more choices do not necessarily lead to more sales; it may even have the opposite effect. 

On to the topic at hand, after failing to find a fit with the Kensington Cashmere Trench Coat, I had hoped for better luck with the Sandringham Fit styles but was ultimately disappointed. The belt placement on this style simply doesn’t work on someone my—I’m 5’2—height (or with my proportions) and I really don’t want to spend more money on alterations to move up the belt holes.

Sandringham Fit Cashmere Trench // Size 00 // Umber Yellow
Sleeve Length: 23.25″ // Overall Length: 40″ // Shoulder: 13.5″ // Waist:12.5″ // Hip: 17.5″ // Underarm to underarm: 15.5″

The rainbow of colors that this style comes in ensures that everyone will find a hue that they like but as someone who is price sensitive (I admit I evaluate most purchases by calculating the number of chicken nuggets I can buy with that money; $2,595 buys a lot of nuggets), I find the lack of lining (justified with a simple “it’s more slimming that way”) and random loose threads unacceptable, making my decision to return an easy one to make.

I’ve always liked that Burberry styles are fairly utilitarian; there’s rarely an unnecessary button or extra pocket that proves to be an eyesore. And the material is warm (though thin) but perhaps best for late-fall or places with mild winters (temperatures above 55°F).

I also struggled with the belt—it had two rings in the back attached to the bottom, for what purpose it was not immediately clear to me; it did make my attempt to tighten the belt difficult as the belt would not reposition with just pulling the ends.

Sizes run 00-14 in this style; Sandringham is the most form-fitting of the three Burberry trench styles so I would suggest sizing up for the most comfortable fit. Personally I wish the sleeves were slimmer but the overall fit wasn’t great on me so even with slimmer sleeves I doubt that would’ve swayed me.

I ordered the style in both 00 (umber yellow) and 02 (camel) and find that the difference between the two isn’t pronounced. I think the differences between them are closer to a half size than a full size in mass retailer sizing.

Sandringham Fit Cashmere Trench // Size 00 // Camel
Sleeve Length: 24.5″ // Overall Length: 40″ // Shoulder: 14″ // Waist: 12.75″ // Hip: 15.75″// Underarm to underarm: 16.25″
Long Heritage Trench Coat: Sandringham | Kensington | Westminster
Mid-length Heritage Trench Coat: Sandringham | Kensington | Westminster

I thought I’d share these stock photos that do an adequate job of highlighting the difference in fit across these styles. The Sandringham (Slim Fit) is the slimmest of the three, with more fitted sleeves and a slim torso while the Westminster (Classic Fit) is looser fitting, with the belt lightly tapering and highlighting the waist. The Kensington (Modern Fit) is somewhere in between, with a little more room in the torso and slightly more taper past the waist.

Happy shopping!

Review: Burberry London Kensington Fit Wool Cashmere Trench Coat in Camel

Despite having every intention of keeping this Burberry coat, in the end I didn’t think it met enough of my criteria to earn a place in my overstuffed closet (I also admit that I subject luxury items to a higher level of scrutiny).

The double-breasted style, smart point collar, and detachable medium-width belt with a leather buckle are all details that I like about Burberry cotton trench coats and they translate well to this warmer fabric. The material—80% virgin wool and 20% cashmere—is lightweight but warm. It doesn’t provide the same degree of warmness that a down coat does but should be warm enough for above freezing temperatures. The coat is also fully lined in a tonal check print.

The Kensington Trench, with what Burberry calls a “modern fit,” is cut slightly narrower through the bust and shoulders compared to the Westminster but a little looser compared to the Sandringham and is available in a number of different fabric and lengths. I chose this mid-thigh style because I’m shorter and it predictably fit me better than some of the longer styles do. It falls about two inches above the knee on 5’2 me and the waist-placement wasn’t off by much.

This style is available in US sizes 00-14 (or UK 0-16/IT 32-48); I’m wearing size 00 below. It fits a little smaller than mall retailer sizing (like a J. Crew or Ann Taylor) so those between sizes should order a size larger. People with shorter limbs like me may need to get the sleeves shortened.

Burberry Wool Cashmere Trench Coat | Camel | 00
Sleeve Length: 24.25″ | Overall Length: 36.5″ | Shoulder: 14″ | Waist: 14″ | Hip: 17.5″ | Underarm to underarm: 16″

At $1795, the price is consistent with other styles in the Burberry London line. This is not a coat that I foresee will go on sale in popular sizes so those of you who are interested might plan your purchase around double or triple point events, use department store sign up codes (Saks and Neiman Marcus both offer 10% off), or buy it from Net-a-Porter for $1595 (with free three-day delivery and returns in the US).

I’m sad to report that the Sandringham Fit Cashmere Trench Coat also didn’t work out for me. I plan to blog about them within the next few weeks, if you have any questions in the meantime, please leave me a comment or write me an e-mail.

Happy Friday!

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