Monday, November 1, 2010

Make Believe Monday | Peacoat

I'm all about classic pieces, and I think I have most of them covered, except for the ever-elusive peacoat. What's so difficult about shopping for a peacoat, you may ask? Well, nothing in particular, I'm just a really picky shopper that only recently figured out that I have a straight figure and that clothing can actually help give me more of a shape (I'm slow sometimes).

Peacoats are a great piece to transition you into and out of the colder months, and depending on the weight of the wool (or whether it's wool or not) can carry you through fall and spring as well.  Even though I have a longer wool coat (looks kind of like this but with a belt), it can feel like overkill to wear it before winter actually hits, and rarely jives with a more casual outfit.

Buying a peacoat is rarely as easy as going into store and picking one. Here are some things to consider.
  • Material. I'm a big fan of classic wool or a wool blend, even though these are usually dry clean only. I just love the weight of it and feel like they last longer.
  • Double or single breasted? Now this is the million-dollar question, and where body shape really comes into play. Generally, double-breasted coats are best for narrow figures, and single-breasted coats are recommended for those with bellies, large busts, wide shoulders, pear shapes, or straight, boyish figures (like me).  Tall gals and petite gals can wear both (although for petites it's best if your coat is more fitted rather than boxy).  These aren't hard and fast rules, but are a good place to start.
  • Length. This again may be influenced by body shape, but generally stays right around hip-length. Petite gals should aim somewhere between the hip and right above the knee.  Curvy women should look for something that hits just above the hips. If you have a large bust or belly, try a mid-hip length.  Again, not a rigid rule, but if you're lost, start here.
  • Color. Why go with black or tan when there are a ton of colors out there to choose from?  My long winter coat is a dark forest green, and I wear it as if it were a neutral.  I'm thinking a raspberry-toned red or mustard yellow for my future peacoat.
  • Details. Like any other piece of clothing, peacoats come with a variety of details.  Think about and try on coats with different ones to see how you like them.  Some common variants are belts, shoulder epaulets, hoods, and different types of pockets.
  • Price. As a born bargain hunter (my mom and aunts are amazing at finding deals), coats run a lot more than I'm usually comfortable paying. Since I'm a fan of classic styles and I know a good quality coat will last years, I've dealt with that.  Still, it's not like I'd consider buying more than one coat or buying something at full price (Macy's has the best outerwear sales I've seen, even in December--K bought me my long coat there for our first married Christmas and my down parka there for our second married Christmas). Coats are one of the few things I would suggest investing more only use them half the year, if that, so they last twice as long! 
  • Care. Since you're wearing this on top of your clothes, you won't be getting sweat or anything on them (well, maybe around the collar a bit).  If you're wearing your coat more than a few times a week for an extended period of time (not just in between indoor spaces), try to get your coat cleaned sometime mid-season.  Otherwise, just be sure to get them cleaned at the end of each season and store them in a breathable bag with some cedar.
So based on the above, my best bet is a single-breasted coat with a defined shoulder that nips in at the waist, with or without a belt. Based on personal preference I don't want a hooded coat. So let's get to shopping!

After today's web crawl of coats, I'm seriously considering having K get me a peacoat for Christmas this year (of my choosing, of course). I am totally itching to try some of these babies on!

What kind of peacoat do you like best or do you wear a peacoat at all?


  1. i love a nice deep red pea coat or bright yellow. im a color kind of girl!

    Avid Accents: A Frugal Fashion Destination

  2. Since they moved our parking garage 6.5 BLOCKS AWAY, I actually think I need a peacoat! My morning walk is freezing. I really like that yellow one!

  3. i LOVE coats in general, but peacoats even more! (I oft seem to say this on your website "LOVE" but its true...I do.) Nevertheless, I agree with you on the investment piece part of a coat, it took me awhile to adjust to the prices too, but they are worth it. I love the blue and mustard colored ones you chose to show. And I am always a sucker for a beautiful white jacket.

  4. I love peacoats, but I have such trouble finding ones that are the right length. I have a long torso so the backs always look weird, but the one I'm eyeing right now is the velvet one from Boden. I just love beautiful coats!

  5. I have a peacoat in black microfiber raincoat material I bought at LL Bean years ago before a trip to Italy. It's a wonderful coat.

    You can put a hoodie under it when it's cold, wrap a silk scarf around the upturned collar when it's just cool, or put it over a light outfit alone when it's breezy.

    Sorry to say they discontinued it so I'll probably wear it until I look like a bag lady.

  6. Sounds like everyone could use a good peacoat! I agree--it's pretty hard to shop for one. I searched for years until my mom bought me one from Marshalls. Eight years later it is still wayyyy too big so I rarely wear it. Fit is everything!

  7. Oh goodness, I do rely on a peacoat. When I think "peacoat," I think only of the traditional version -- hip length, wool, double-breasted, large buttons & vertical pockets. I have a red wool one from Old Navy and a lighter weight turqoise corduroy one from GAP (no basic colors here!).

  8. oo turquoise sounds like a great color! I'm pretty sure that if I had a peacoat I'd wear it a lot, too.

  9. These are such great tips-- I especially love that you encourage people to play with color! During a cold, grey winter, I found that wearing a vibrant colored coat did so much to improve my mood...

  10. Color totally boosts my mood, too!


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