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Ask Belle: Trench Style Winter Coats

Hi Belle,

I’m in the market for a new winter coat.  I tend to look best in styles that cinch at the waist, so I’m hoping you can help me find a great wool trench, preferably $250 or less.  Thank you!

Holly

A belted winter coat is a great option for those ladies who want to emphasize their shape.  I found several lovely choices in the $175-$250 range, so let’s have a look at them.

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Betsey Johnson Skirted Wool-Blend Coat ($198)

I love the marine navy color of this Betsey Johnson coat; it looks so rich and vibrant.  I also found this white T Tahari coat that is pure Olivia Pope.  And don’t miss this long, camel coat from Mango.

Looking for something under-$175?  Gap has this charcoal wool trench (also in tall and petite). This double-breasted Calvin Klein coat comes in black and has a great funnel collar.  And I adore this white Via Spiga coat with a chic leather piping for just $105 at Bluefly (also in black for those afraid of white).

Plus-size? This DKNY coat with faux-leather trim comes in four gorgeous neutrals.  Petite? This Kenneth Cole Reaction coat has a great look to it.

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    15 comments

  1. Caroline says:

    I’m having trouble finding a fall-weight trench. For the past four years I’ve scoured every store in the DC area but haven’t been able to find one that looks good on me. I’m petite and like things very fitted, but everything I’ve tried on is too voluminous. My cousin and I were just commiserating about this– for such a basic thing it’s truly impossible to find. Does anyone know of a place we can find a short trench with a slim cut?

    October 20, 2014/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Caroline, If the coat fits in most places, you need to look at tailoring it. Clothing off the rack is not designed to fit the majority of body types. I would go to a dept. store like Nordstrom, pick out a coat that mostly fits and call alterations to give you an estimate of the rest. You can decide whether it is a price you want to pay, but if you’ve been looking for four years, you need to tailor this.

      October 20, 2014/Reply
      • Caroline says:

        Well, if it comes to that I’ll just wear my winter coat early like I’ve been doing. Seems like we don’t get much transitional weather anymore anyway! Still, I’m surprised there’s nothing out there for smaller women. I’m not especially small or unusually shaped.

        October 20, 2014/Reply
  2. Kelly Andthenblog says:

    Caroline, I’m in love with good ole’ London Fog for a great classic, on-budget trench. Most have zip-out linings so that they can be worn almost all year, and they come in petite! I have three, actually. Yikes! https://www.londonfog.com/women/outerwear/trench-coats.html?size_type=22

    October 20, 2014/Reply
    • Caroline says:

      Thanks Kelly. I feel like I’ve tried on hundreds of London Fogs at various department stores, and although they’re the best I’ve found they’re still too big in some places. I was trying to talk myself into buying one last week, actually, but I sent pictures to my girlfriend first and she agreed that it wasn’t very flattering.

      October 20, 2014/Reply
      • Kelly Andthenblog says:

        Ah how frustrating! It looked like they had some slimmer cuts in non-petite sizes, but they were not the classic trench style if that matters. I think that’s the issue with a trench: the very nature of being belted makes it so hard to be slim to begin with. I wish you luck in your search!

        October 20, 2014/Reply
        • Caroline says:

          I’m not wed to the classic trench style. Any basic jacket will do!

          October 20, 2014/Reply
    • Jennifer D says:

      Greetings Kelly – Wow, I didn’t realize LF had their own website. They actually have a really nice selection. Plus some great looking bags too. Cheers – Jennifer

      October 20, 2014/Reply
  3. Jennifer D says:

    Greetings Caroline – This may or may not help you, but . . . J.Crew’s Icon Trench, while not offered in Petite, has a slimmer cut. Many reviewers have commented needing to order a size up. Their Icon Trench in Wool Cashmere is offered in Petite. Banana Republic has a couple of trenches (classic khaki, black) in Petite. And while not offered now, Fossil was carrying the Catherine Trench, which is actually a shorter trench coat, earlier in 2014. This may come back in the Spring. I have read on several fashion blogs of petites needing to invest in alterations for some trench coats to ensure the length of the sleeves and coat overall works for them. The expense of alterations was reserved for more expensive items. I believe J.Crew offers complimentary alterations for cardholders.

    October 20, 2014/Reply
    • Caroline says:

      Surprisingly J. Crew and Banana Republic don’t have trench coats in store! I’ve checked several locations so far this season. Online ordering seems like a hassle, given the strong possibility of it having to be returned, but my winter coat is BR and it fits beautifully so I may try them.

      October 20, 2014/Reply
      • S says:

        Caroline, I’m not sure where you’re located but most of the BR stores in the DC metro area carry them. It’s harder to find the petite size in the regular store, but the dedicated BR Petites store at Tyson’s corner usually has them. Have you tried the “Find it Now/Reserve It” function on the BR website? I just just did it for the BR trench in black, and they have sizes XS and M available at the Tyson’s BR Petite store.

        October 20, 2014/Reply
      • LS says:

        Hope this doesn’t sound rude, but if you don’t like ordering online, that’s probably why you haven’t had much luck. JCrew, Nordstroms, BR/Gap/Old navy, Ann Taylor all have massive petite selections online including coats, but very minimal in stores (JCrew doesn’t have petites at all). Nordstroms and the Gap companies offers free return shipping so that shouldn’t be a deterrent…

        Lastly, not sure where you live but Tyson’s has a separate BR Petites store (which you can now metro to – go silver). No idea on their current coat selection but they usually have good stuff. Happy hunting!

        October 20, 2014/Reply
      • Jennifer D says:

        Unfortunately, some stores (e.g., J.Crew) do not carry their full line of stock in store, so online ordering is often the only way to go. The good thing is that most stores have no problem with returning online orders to a brick and mortar store. If not, most will provide free returns with a postage paid UPS label included with the invoice (but check each store’s policy just in case), and refund your charge promptly. The added bonus is that you can often get better deals online.

        October 20, 2014/Reply
  4. Beth says:

    Holly – I was at a Banana Republic factory store this weekend and they had a gorgeous belted wool-blend trench taht might fit the bill in camel, a sort of muted berry, and navy for less than $100 when 40% sale was factored in. It had a detachable hood, which I appreciate living in an area with frequent fall snows, but that may not be your style. There were still a lot of size options available at my store.

    October 20, 2014/Reply
  5. Style by Joules says:

    I actually like ModCloth coats. I know that sometimes ModCloth’s quality can be a bit iffy, but if you take the time to weed out the cheap stuff, they have some really unique coats and they’re very big into the cinched waist look.

    October 20, 2014/Reply