Just wanted to share a belated, quickie review of two J.Crew coats I tried on earlier this season. I have always had a soft spot for pretty coats because they bring a little joy to dreary winters, and am willing to spend more for a special piece. I used to splurge almost annually on a designer coat, but have been so pleased with lady day coats (especially for the sale prices) that I turned to J.Crew once again.
I was looking for a classic camel coat, and was hopeful that one of these would be a winner. However, I was underwhelmed by both and am now passively looking for new options.
First up is the icon trench in wool-cashmere, on sale for $259 and comes in 3 colors. This pretty much met all of my requirements on paper, but in-person it made me feel like Friar Tuck.
Sizing & fit: Un-belted, this coat is extremely boxy with no waist shaping whatsoever. As a result, the amount of fabric at the mid-section causes unsightly bunching from all angles after the belt is tied. The chest and hips were slightly roomy on me, but could be filled up by layers in the winter. The shoulder width felt fine, but looks a smidge wide from the back. If you like every other aspect of this coat, the torso can probably be taken in by a good tailor for $40-$60.
Material: The camel wool material was "felt-like" to the touch. As you can see in the close-up below, the felting texture almost resembled the look of cardboard.
Design & quality: Aside from the shapeless waist and lackluster material, I liked the design and details of this coat. It bodes trench features that I like, such as a double-breasted front, shoulder epaulettes, tortoiseshell buttons, and belt with leather-covered buckle. It felt moderately heavy (more so than the next one, at least), but just didn't "wow" me...
Interiors - Top: Icon trench in wool-cashmere. Bottom: Double-cloth slim trench.
Next up is the double-cloth slim trench in "camel", starting at $280 and left in 5 colors:
Sizing & Fit: The fit of this jacket felt very similar to lady day coats from previous years, except it is a few inches shorter in total length. I am on the fence about the shorter length, but do feel the belt is disproportionately wide for the length. As some readers warned me, the belt was also much too short for tying casually, which I love to do with coat belts. Unlike the icon trench, this coat does have a slight hourglass shape and is more fitted in the torso. And good news for longer-armed petite ladies - the sleeve length is about an inch longer than lady day coats from past years.
Material: The material feels exactly the same as double-cloth coats from past years, however contains less wool and more nylon than prior years. In 2010 and 2011, J.Crew's double cloth was comprised of 94% wool, 6% nylon. This one was maybe 80% wool, 20% nylon (I wrote the exact % down before returning and unfortunately lost it - if anyone knows, please share in a comment!). This coat is also not available with Thinsulate lining, which both of my lady day coats have. The material felt noticeably less warm so I don't think it'd be able to sustain Northeast winters.
Below - trying to tie the belt casually but all I could get was a little nublin. I don't think it would stay put like that.
Design & quality: I think this coat is a good option for anyone who doesn't own the lady day coat, and prefers a shorter, belted version. After I saw this in-person, I realized it was much too similar to my existing lady day coats to warrant keeping. The single-breasted front, the collar shape, the curved seaming on the torso, and of course the material - all super similar. The quality is good aside from the small decline in material composition over the years, and the price may probably get marked-down more or be subject to further 25% or 30% off promos.
Compare of the Icon Trench vs. the Slim Trench:
Icon Trench in Wool-Cashmere (above pic, lying on the bottom): chest circumference: 33.5," waist circumference: 32," hip circumference: 34.5," sweep circumference: 44," across shoulder: 14," center back sleeve length: 29.125," and center back length: 34.75."
Double-Cloth slim trench (above pic, lying on top): chest circumference: 33.5," waist circumference: 30.75," hip circumference: 37.5," sweep circumference: 42.25," across shoulder: 13.5," center back sleeve length: 29.125," and center back length: 31.25."
So in summary, the Icon Trench is wider in the waist, hips, shoulder (slightly), and longer in length than the Slim Trench.
Compare of the Slim Trench (on top) vs. last year's Lady Day coat (on the bottom):
Other coat-related references:
Old J.Crew Lady Day Coat video review
2012 vs 2011 Lady Day Coat review
How to tie a coat belt video
Readers - Have you tried either of these coats? If so, what are your thoughts?