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.

Rain, Rain, Go Away - Burberry, Part 2 - Black Trench Raincoat

The only upside to rainy days is that my water-resistant Burberry pieces get to come out and play. This brings me to my second Burberry coat: a single-breasted raincoat in size 2 with detachable hood and fleece warmer, acquired circa 2007 at a Burberry outlet store.

Looking back, the fit was so awful that I should have left it behind. But at the time, I knew that size 2 was the smallest size they make, and I was stubborn about "making" it fit. I think of this poor coat like a child whom has undergone many surgeries:

1. Burberry retail store shortened and narrowed the sleeves (barely), refused to do shoulders or the body.
2. Burberry retail store elongated the sleeves, having mis-pinned the first time and made them inches too short!
3. My tailor narrowed the shoulders by 1.5 inches each side, tapered the entire body of the coat, and slimmed sleeves a little more.

End result
(a little wrinkled from storage):

I like how there's many subtly different ways to wear this coat - hood on or off, collar up or down, with fleece warmer or without, belted or unbelted A-line style:

My coat had to undergo several stages of alterations because the tailors at the Burberry store often challenge or flat-out refuse my requests. For raincoats, they said they would not work on the shoulders, because all Burberry rainwear is dyed in one piece into water-resistant material, and any detatchment of individual pieces (like removing the arms from the shoulder) will cause damange to the water-resistancy. Another example - I wanted the sleeves slimmer but the Burberry tailor just kept scolding me repeatedly with "It's a coat, not a dress!" Ok...thank you for your opinion, but its my coat, so shouldn't I be able to decide?

As soon as I took the coat to my own tailor, she clucked her tongue at the poor fit and immediately started pinning away. She muttered in disapproval about how wide the shoulders were and how baggy the sleeves were. Sigh ... a good tailor is truly invaluable for us petites!

Petite Outerwear - Burberry, Part 1 - Pink / Cream Check Coat

For some ladies, it's purses. For others, its shoes. But for me, its coats. Living in the Northeast, winters can be long, cold and dreary, which is why I eventually turned to beautiful coats and winter accessories to put a smile on my face. But finding a coat that is beautiful, well-made, and perfectly petite sized can be a difficult and costly journey.

Enter Burberry, the iconic brand known for its timeless trenches and coats. Any retail-priced purchase comes with complimentary alterations done by their nimble tailors, so it's basically like getting a coat custom-fitted. Granted, pricing is steep, but for those who can afford it, it is well worth the occasional splurge. Also, be sure to sign-up for their seasonal in-store sale mailing list.

Here is my first Burberry purchase from 2006, back when I thought shopping children's coats were my only option. Let me just say, what a long way I've come since then! This is a kids coat, in a little girls size 12, purchased from eBay UK (photo courtesy of another eBay seller since I cannot find a pic of mine pre-alterations). Note the proportions designed obviously for children:

1. wide arms
2. small chest with roomy waist/hip area
3. short and stout overall silhouette

But the texture was rich, the colors were girly, and the lining was TDF, so I saw potential.