Trench Quest, Part III (& final!) – Burberry Harbourne Trench


Dress: Ann Taylor   Coat: Burberry Harbourne sz 2 (similar in petites from BR)
Low heels: Aldo (similarBelt: F21  Ring: YSL Coral Arty  Clutch: Chanel WOC

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.

Picture 168
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).

Before I sign off, I wanted to share this comment from a reader on my last post:

Picture 169
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! 
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  1. Anonymous wrote:

    I literally cannot stop worshiping you as soon as I saw these wonderful pictures!!!! -Bill

    Posted 8.10.14 Reply
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi Jean,

    Just bought a size 2 Burberry Queensbury trench in black as a present to myself for passing the bar and wanted to share sizing tips with your readers after trying on a bunch of trenches at the Burberry San Francisco store.

    I'm usually a size 0 at Jcrew, and 00 at Banana Republic. I was able to button up a Size 0 Burberry trench wearing a tee shirt and thin merino wool sweater, but standing up, the trench felt too snug. I'd be unable to wear a thicker sweater. But Size 2 regular cut was too big on me, the shoulders were all wrong. Luckily, a Size 2 slim cut (Queensbury) fit perfectly.

    As for tailoring… The length was perfect, it hits about 1 inch above the knee. The sleeves need to be shortened. The on-site tailor said he'd shorten them by undoing the shoulder/arm seams and taking excess fabric in from there. I asked for the belt loops to be raised and he did not recommend that because the needle holes would show. If you insist, I'm sure he would do it. But for me, I told him he could take apart the belt loop, and make an executive decision about the needle holes in the fabric. Since I purchased the trench on sale, tailoring was not free and came to $30 for shortening the sleeves.


    Posted 12.26.13 Reply
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    Jean, can you PLEASE post a few photos of your now altered (?) coat? I'm dying to see the final results of your alteration ! And how much you altered, took off, ect. I am very similar to your height and body proportions so it would be great to have an idea of how much to expect to change, if I ever get this coat ! Thank you !


    Posted 12.5.13 Reply
  4. l'étoile wrote:

    Any tips for weather proofing your trench once you find one? Thanks!

    Posted 1.13.13 Reply
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    Posted 11.9.12 Reply
  6. Edlyn wrote:

    Hi there! Did you ever get the sleeves shortened/slimmed? I have the same problem with my trench (though I bought the Buckingham instead of the Harbourne) and would love to see what you did 🙂

    Posted 3.24.12 Reply
  7. Dani wrote:

    now that you mention it (or have you before and i missed it?) what would you consider "wardrobe foundation pieces" or wardrobe essentials? i have been considering this for a while, as i think i not only have too many clothing items that are no longer appropriate for me age-wise, etc, but also just have so many clothes in general and want to pare it down. do you have a post you already addressed this in?

    Posted 11.10.11 Reply
  8. Kira wrote:

    I love this trench coat on you. I tried looking up Harbourne trench coat but if it does come up then its already sold out. Is there another name for this coat?
    Thank you 🙂

    Posted 11.1.11 Reply
  9. y. ta wrote:

    Love the trench on you! I tried on quite a few trenches too and ended up with the Harbourne trench also (in black)! I think I got my petite size in store at the Burberry section in Bloomingdale's (maybe they have it in only select stores? Or maybe they don't carry petites anymore, I bought it at least a year ago during one of those 40% off sales which I had to get the SA to ring up the trench too since they were thinking it would be excluded also). Great find! Just ran into your blog and love it! Thank you for the various outfit looks/inspirations!

    Posted 8.14.11 Reply
  10. C wrote:

    Just came across your blog and love your style. I think I can hook you up with some Burberry harbourne buttons if you shoot me an email.

    Posted 8.11.11 Reply
  11. Liz wrote:

    Anyone cares to explain what a shopping spree is (in this case) – and how you get it?

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  12. @aileen Hi Aileen, it's a half knot half bow..I'll try to show it in greater detail sometime!

    @Sophie Yep, fellow SMG'er : )

    Posted 7.15.11 Reply
  13. aileen wrote:

    Beautiful trench coat! Could you tell me how you tied the coat belt? The way you did it is really nice… Thanks!

    Posted 7.13.11 Reply
  14. Sophie wrote:

    Omg, I just read your comments and saw that you did undergrad at BU. I go to BU too. From reading the posts when you mentioned about your job, I assume before you were in SMG? We have a school connection!! Lol.:)

    Yeah, I should do a post on my trench. In fact, I have a lot of fashion/beauty related things to talk about, but never get around to do it because of school. Now that I'm done maybe I should try to blog again and be consistent with it. 🙂

    Posted 7.2.11 Reply
  15. Wendy wrote:

    The trench looks great on you. I agree that a trench is a must for every woman! I got the Idra Clinton Trench from Anthro that I absolutely adore. I feel great every time I wear my trench.

    Posted 7.1.11 Reply
  16. miran wrote:

    Thanks for this post! It covered 2 topics I always love to research- investment trenchcoats and smart shopping. Waiting for stores to make room for new season items (ie. August for summer clearance and late January/early Feb for winter deals) is one way I scored bargains. However, I have to go in with a "let's see what I can find" vs. "Hope that tiny dress is still there!" mentality. Always appreciate reading your kind and helpful reader responses, too! 🙂

    Posted 7.1.11 Reply

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