Dress: Ann Taylor Coat: Burberry Harbourne sz 2 (similar in petites from BR)
My love for outerwear dates back to when I first moved to Boston. At times, the cold and precipitation here made me downright depressed, but a pretty coat would bring a little joy on gloomy days. The first time I ever set foot inside a Burberry store, I tried on a "Harbourne" trench. The amazing Newbury St SA, John, gushed about how slim it was cut, how it could be styled so many ways, and how much care went into making it, the stitching, and the meticulous waterproofing process...yada yada. I drank it all up. Even though I was decked out in abercrombie kids and clearly had no capacity to buy, he was very kind to me and wrote down the style name on a lil' card (which I still have after 4 years).
Last year, my mind went back to the idea of finding the perfect, classic, double-breasted trench. I think a trench is a wardrobe staple for women of all ages. Even though I knew that a great coat was hanging at the Burberry store, I wanted to try on a sale option from their more affordable line (Brit) and a kids one, to see if satisfaction could be achieved while saving some money. Enter, my past reviews:
- Part I - Burberry "Brit" Petites Trench
- Part II - Burberry Kids Mini Ivybridge Trench
But alas, I wasn't impressed by either option at those prices. Since classic trenches are always available at retail price and didn't seem to be increasing in price (a la Chanel), I was in no hurry to buy.
Imagine my delight when I discovered that the "Harbourne" trench was part of Bloomies' private sale this month. To sweeten the deal, I had the good fortune of winning a shopping spree earlier this year. Nick and I agreed to spend the spree cautiously like we do with our own money. Despite having had the gift card for months, his only purchase is a $7 pair of shorts, and mine - this coat.
Fit: Burberry only offers petite sizing in the US via Nordstrom. However, the petite selection is very small and doesn't necessarily fit better. Their regular US sz 2 (smallest size) is actually cut pretty slim, so I recommend going to the Burberry retail store for the best selection and shopping experience. Possible alterations needed on this coat are shortening of the sleeves, and slimming of the torso and sleeves. If you buy at the retail store at full price, all alterations are free.
Although the sleeves don't bother me too much right now, one alteration that I do need immediately on this coat is moving the belt loops up 2~3 inches. The Harbourne is designed to be a shorter coat on a regular-height woman, so the belt loops sit low on my hips and make my bottom half look shorter (see upper left photo). This can be a common issue when petite women wear regular-length coats. Moving the belt loops up a little with fix the proportion issue.
Measurements: 16.5" across at the underarms, 15.5" across at the waist, 20" across the bottom. 33" total length, 24" sleeve length, 5" sleeve width, 13.5" shoulder width.
Material: 65% poly, 35% cotton. Lined in large check. If I had to nitpick, I wish it didn't have black buttons (but I suppose buttons can be replaced).
Dear Anonymous, you are certainly not alone and not doomed in the fashion world. This is a topic that I feel strongly about. Although I admittedly enjoy designer pieces, I feel they should never define one's style. I crazy admire women who mix and match and look fabulous using creativity, versus those who plaster themselves with labels and have no personal style.
If you have financial constraints, I recommend making a list of wardrobe foundation pieces that suit your personal lifestyle (ie. for me that was a tailored sheath dress, a blazer, dark blue jeans, a warm coat, etc). Shop deliberately for these items, keeping an eye out for quality and fit. After you find winners, search online for sales & coupon codes or scour eBay to get the best deal. Accessories from places like Target, F21, and thrift stores (my personal fave) are a great way to style your outfits without breaking the bank.
Readers - Please share your own thoughts or advice!