Your favorite long (and long-lasting) wool coat?
December 12, 2004 6:25 PM   Subscribe

Inspired by this thread, I'm thinking of investing in a real winter coat, of the long, wooly variety. Is anybody out there really, really satisfied with a long wooly coat that's held up for years and years and was affordable?

Extra points if it buttons all the way up the neck, looks nice, and is orderable online! Really I'm just looking for a reputable place to buy something quality. All the usuals (J. Crew, Banana Republic, etc.) aren't really doing it for me. I love in Boston where it's cold, so it has to actually be pretty warm.

(And sorry for contributing to Ask-Meta-mad-consumerism-in-the-Christmas-season-Filter, if that's bad.)
posted by josh to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You know, I've had half a dozen wool coats ranging from pretty nice $370 coats to cheapo $60 ones, and the best of these, which I've used for about five years now, was made by ... gasp... Member's Only.

I guess it depends on what you want in a jacket though. It's not very good looking, but it's warm and comfortable, and I don't have to worry about getting it wet or dirty, like I do with my tailored coat, which mostly sits in the closet looking pretentious. What are your criteria?
posted by Hildago at 6:36 PM on December 12, 2004

they're not long, but Navy Pea Coats last forever and are usually really warm. Maybe you could find a long version?
posted by amberglow at 6:37 PM on December 12, 2004

Second hand shops often have really cool vintage wool coats . Check the lining around the armpits and the pocket linings to make sure they are in good shape.
posted by LarryC at 6:48 PM on December 12, 2004

Response by poster: Hildago: Hmm, criteria... besides being warm, the main thing is that it should be pretty dressy. I only have room in my closet for maybe two coats; I have one already, which is a technical, gore-tex type parka, under which I wear a fleece. I'd like to acquire something I can wear to work and out on the town that's also really warm. Black, preferably.

I'm just hoping that 'dressy,' 'warm,' and 'tough' aren't mutually exclusive.
posted by josh at 6:50 PM on December 12, 2004

Secondhand shops are where all my long woolen coats have come from, but most of my male friends have just gone to Filene's Basement or Burlington Coat Factory and tried on a few dozen coats until they find one that strikes their fancy. If it gets ripped, most of the cleaners here are good about inexpensive and inconspicuous repairs.
posted by amber_dale at 6:53 PM on December 12, 2004

You can get great tweedy overcoats at a vintage place, but they're not warm at all, i find.
posted by amberglow at 7:01 PM on December 12, 2004

I've had my one winter coat through ten years of Boston winters, and other than needing to have the hem restitched once, it's held up perfectly and is the warmest coat I've ever had (and I walk everywhere, so it's seen me through snow, hail, ice, and wind). It's a Navy officer's coat, double-breasted and ankle-length, dressier than a pea coat. I bought it for $90 in a thrift shop in Atlanta, but I would imagine that places that carry pea coats might also have the long officer's coats, too.
posted by occhiblu at 7:01 PM on December 12, 2004

A 3/4 length down parka is warm but breathable, fits fine over a suit jacket, and doesn't look out of place on Wall Street or the ski lodge.
posted by mendel at 7:08 PM on December 12, 2004

(This is more or less what I'm talking about.)
posted by occhiblu at 7:10 PM on December 12, 2004

(Or, from amberglow's website, like this.)
posted by occhiblu at 7:12 PM on December 12, 2004

i got a pair of gloverall duffle coats (found in closet) and a non-hooded imitation (four dollars) and so far they're holding up.
posted by noisia at 7:33 PM on December 12, 2004

I fourth the thrift store. Please, try it. It's definitely worth a look. I got a fabulous-virgin-wool-mid-thigh-long-thick-heavy-silk-lined little number at my local Salvation Army for $7. After a drycleaning and button tightening for $12 it's good as new. YMMV. Good luck!
posted by tinamonster at 7:56 PM on December 12, 2004

I have a Gloverall duffle coat. It is definitely very warm -- almost too warm. You can find discounted authentic duffles here. I compared the prices to the same coat on noisia's link, and it looks like they're much cheaper. Still, duffles are a particular look; perhaps they aren't as dressy as you'd like, but I promise they're warm!
posted by katie at 8:08 PM on December 12, 2004

I suspect that Josh is talking about a men's dress overcoat, not a duffle coat or pea coat. Here's one from Paul Stuart that's a long coat - ankle length. And it's only $1,787! If that kind of thing is what you want you'll get what you pay for. A cheap one will quickly look cheap and fall apart. I've made that mistake. An expensive one (all or mostly cashmere) will cost a lot (duh) but look great and last for years. And I'd really love one of the ones I linked, hint hint hint. I have been very good.
posted by TimeFactor at 8:49 PM on December 12, 2004

And, yes, you can find great ones at thrift stores but it'll be hit-or-miss. Used clothing stores would be a better bet because they'll wade through the dreck for you but charge more. There used to be a great one on Comm Ave near Brookline border. Don't know if it's still there.
posted by TimeFactor at 8:53 PM on December 12, 2004

I have a nice one I picked up at Macy's 6 years ago, and it still looks and feels great despite near daily wear in the winter. It's Macy's house brand, "Alfani," and it has 10% cashmere, 1% nylon, and the balance is just regular wool, dyed black of course. The cashmere makes it softer to the hand and the nylon apparently adds strength. The list on this was $400 but the salesman was in the Christmas mood as I was buying some slacks too, and he applied some wacky discount to let me have it for $180.

Mind that it's not cut in at the waist; it should hang/fall straight.

I also have a Brooks Bros. camel hair coat, which I'm completely in love with, but because it's camel-colored I don't wear it out much - I don't want a cab splashing it. But it's really gorgeous and makes you look great. If you keep your eye out for their occasional sale on this, and also open a Brooks Brothers account, you can pick one up for about $330.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:36 PM on December 12, 2004

Not cheap, but you "might as well have the best." - Filson. I'm very happy with the gore-tex coat I just got from Cabelas and it's on sale for $75! They have lots of warmer stuff and great service. Overstock has some good deals on designer stuff worth looking at as well as some funny B movie pimp, hood, and KGB costuming.
posted by roboto at 5:41 AM on December 13, 2004

I have had a WWII surplus Russian Great Coat I got from ebay for $60 for several years now. It is insanely warm, very dark grey, closes all the way to the neck and has no military stuff on the outside (the inside label is in russian, and it had green patches for rank insignia which came off easily with a razor).

The styles change from country to country, but plenty are available and sound a lot like what you are looking for.
posted by gren at 6:16 AM on December 13, 2004

If you want durability, Russian overcoats are definitely the way to go. I don't know where to get one outside of Russia, but just thought I'd throw in my two cents.
posted by somethingotherthan at 8:10 PM on December 13, 2004

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