An Unusual Alteration - Burberry, Part 3 - Black Wool Cashmere Coat

Can you spot the difference between the two pics?

Before --> After

We've all had hems shortened and waists taken in, but what about ... a lapel job? As many petites know, the key to a perfect fit is not just length and width. The key is the proportions. Clearly this rule of thumb was something that I overlooked when I acquired this coat in the cold early months of 2008.

I had been hunting for a basic black wool coat for a while, even before I started working. When I saw this coat, I immediately fell in love with the heavenly soft cashmere blend, the cuffed sleeves, and the waist-cinching self belt. So thus I somehow overlooked the floppy oversized collar. After wearing it just twice, several friends commented on the collar, and I slowly realized myself how silly I looked. To give you an idea of how big it was, the collar measured nearly 18 inches across (my shoulder width is only 14 inches). Thus, the coat was sadly put into storage for a year.

Last month, I randomly thought to take the coat to my tailors to see what they can do. Oh no, they said, this is a HUGE job. The collar and the coat itself was one piece, therefore, in order to alter the lapel, they would have to detatch coat from lining via the white piping (shown below) and re-shape the collar with no pattern, then reattatch the piping.


I pleaded, offering to compensate them fairly for their time, but the response: "It's not about the money. We would not forgive ourselves if we didn't do a perfect job on this coat, therefore we cannot accept."

Next stop, back to the Burberry store. They had done the initial alteration for me - shorten sleeves (as usual, they had refused to shorten the length or narrow the sleeves, because they thought the fit was fine...grr). The entire team of tailors were called down to evaluate my unusual request. "We cannot do this," Mr. Head Tailor said, "By policy we cannot alter the design of our coats. By minimizing this collar, it would no longer be Burberry." Sigh ... (insert dramatic eye roll)! I was certainly not trying to change the design. I loved the design and wanted to keep as much of it as possible, while making it proportional to my below-5 foot frame!

Needless to say I was very sad, and was ready to put this coat up for sale. But I just couldn't bear the thought of parting with it, so I took it back one more time to my personal tailors. After much hushed whispering in Korean and a thorough inspection of the coat, they must have taken pity on me ... and agreed to work on it!

End result:

Burberry Wool Cashmere Blend Coat, Sz 2 altered to fit a petite


In addition to removing 2 inches of material along the parameter of the collar, they moved the buttons over 1 inch on the belt so that it would be tighter. Very creative. One of the tailors said it took her an entire day of work ... and I couldn't be more pleased with the results!

It's unfortunate that there is no Burberry petite coats in their US retail stores. Nordstrom's online Burberry petite selection is so limited, plus a huge part of the coat buying experience is trying on different cuts and styles in person to find out what works for you.

8 comments:

  1. wow! The end result looks great.
    Your story about the tailor made me giggle. It sounded like something my mother would have said to a customer and depending on how she felt she'd give in or not. The coat looks amazing though.

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  2. That's awesome that your mom was a tailor...I hope you learned a part of the "art" since it truly is a dying art! I would love it if I could just take items to my mom to get altered : )

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  3. do you mind me asking who your "korean tailor" is? i'd like to use them as well.

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  4. that's pretty darn awesome. ive vowed to make the nearby tailor my best friend because my pants never fit right...know of any "girl with curvy booty trying to find pants that fit right" blogs? lol

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  6. I know this post is going on 3 years now, but I only discovered your blog and Youtube channel 3 months ago and now am coveting a similar classic, black wool coat for the winter. I'm wondering how much this Burberry coat was, and where I might find a similar coat this year in the $100-$400 range. Thanks so much, and I want to add that I'm a huge fan of your classic chic sensibility and alteration wizardry.

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  7. Great Job !!!, I am so wanting to buy a burberry coat from long time, but size is always the issue. I am also petite, 4'9" , 107 lbs, love reading your articles. I am in Chicago area, not sure I can find a sales associate like John here or not.

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  8. Hello there

    Love your style. I'm looking to get a burberry coat for Winter (Australia).

    Wondering if you recommend the Buckingham or the Balmoral wool blend coat?

    Thanks very much

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