Why don't they have Big&Tall stores for women?
December 13, 2009 5:28 PM   Subscribe

I need to buy a warm winter coat for a woman who is a size 18 and is 6'2" tall. Where can I find such a thing?

Many retailers have long wool winter coats. Some sell size 18. Some sell tall sizes. But I can't seem to find a warm winter coat in a size 18 Tall.

I'm looking for a long coat in the classic wool overcoat style. Single-breasted is preferred to double, but at this point, I can't be too picky. The coat should be warm enough to wear at a 0 degree F temperature. Something with Thinsulate or another super-warm lining would be ideal. Hoping for a standard, conservative color, so bold prints or hot pink are not ideal. This would be absolutely perfect, but since it doesn't come in tall sizes, the sleeves would very likely be way too short. Given the price for these sorts of things, I'd prefer to buy something that will last a while.

Some of the places I've already looked include:
L.L. Bean (no tall sizes)
Land's End (no tall sizes)
J Crew (only goes up to 14T or 16)
Old Navy (nothing warm enough, quality likely lacking)
Burlington Coat Factory (website and store near me had no tall sizes for women)

Can anyone find this coat? Thanks!
posted by decathecting to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (23 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Have you considered a men's big/tall place? I would think a lot of men's wool coats could easily be called "unisex." Women can pull that kind of thing off a lot more easily than a man might.
posted by The Potate at 5:47 PM on December 13, 2009

Eddie Bauer has tall sizes (more than any other brand I shop), but the closest thing to what you've linked is not in the tall line.

From experience with a very expensive full-length alpaca coat, I know that a top-notch tailor can lengthen the sleeves. Mine did not have a big enough cuff allowance, and other substantial fabric was used by the tailor to make up the balance. She did an outstanding job. It is very long, so the hem wasn't a problem.

You would perhaps need to retain the tags and receipts, then consult a tailor. If needed, you could return the coat. Styles are still very long, so probably only the sleeves would be a problem. I realize that if this is a gift, as it sounds to me, that the whole buy-alter or buy-return thing is a problem.

Good luck! I know this is a tough nut to crack.
posted by jgirl at 5:49 PM on December 13, 2009

I've looked. They're not cut right for a woman, and the buttons are on the wrong side. I agree, it would serve the "keep body warm" requirement, but it doesn't look quite right, and at these prices, I'm not really willing to shell out unless it's right. I want to make sure she'll actually wear it. I'm really hoping that someone makes a woman's coat in the proper size.
posted by decathecting at 5:50 PM on December 13, 2009

The Tall Girl Shop - No experience with this place, just a link I saved.

Also, sometimes Lane Bryant has tall sizes, but I don't see anything on their site currently. You might have luck in a store.

Don't forget department stores. I need "big and tall" women's sizes, and I sometimes do okay at JCPenney. Other places to try are Macy's, Carson's, etc. Even Sears sometimes has good stuff, and if you do find a Land's End item, you can have it shipped to the store for free.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:50 PM on December 13, 2009

Here's a couple from avenue.com: one two. The site may have more as well, I didn't look.

No experience with this place, just some creative googling.
posted by cgg at 5:59 PM on December 13, 2009

Found this, which they have in a WT20 in camel. That might work. I usually buy a size larger to leave room for a sweater.
posted by SLOHands at 6:04 PM on December 13, 2009

There are some coats for tall, plus sized women beginning on this page (scroll down).
posted by gnomeloaf at 6:09 PM on December 13, 2009

Does anyone know about the quality of items from these online plus-sized stores? Everything I've ever seen from major plus-sized retailers (Lane Bryant and the like) was of markedly lower quality than similarly priced straight-size items. I'd be afraid that the coats would have cheap-feeling fabric, or simply not be warm enough. Does anyone have any experience with them that would assure their quality?

Thanks, all, for the suggestions so far. I look forward to exploring all of these and other suggestions still to be posted.
posted by decathecting at 6:32 PM on December 13, 2009

The Tall Girl Shop mentioned up-thread is where I've bought my previous 3 winter coats. No problems with quality and they go up to size 22, at least.
posted by cranberrymonger at 6:46 PM on December 13, 2009

How about this coat from Chadwicks? It's not specifically in a tall size but seems really long so might well work. It goes up to a size 24. The same site has other options as well.
posted by peacheater at 7:00 PM on December 13, 2009

(Oh and as to quality -- I bought a faux-shearling coat from Chadwicks once in a plus size. I've since stopped wearing it since I've lost some weight and can fit into an XL again, but I didn't have any problems as to quality and it kept me warm for a long and cold Ithaca winter.)
posted by peacheater at 7:01 PM on December 13, 2009

I'm not quite as tall but have a lot of trouble getting women's tops and coats to fit my big shoulders and long arms. I agree that plus-sized clothing can lack style. You might reconsider going the men's route, but maybe avoid conventional men's coats and look at vintage or otherwise interesting alternatives so she has something unique and stylish.

My favorite coat is a long men's coat that I got from a vintage store. It appears to date from the 1960s and has a bit of a waist to it, so it doesn't look like I'm wearing a refrigerator box. As for the buttons being on the "wrong" side, as far as I know, no one has ever noticed. They're too busy commenting on the coolness factor of my coat.
posted by PatoPata at 7:24 PM on December 13, 2009

This coat at Talbot's looks very nice and at that price it should be very warm and last a good long while. It comes in both regular sizes and plus sizes. This is the same coat, which you can get in a size 18 and since it's not a plus size, it's about $50 less.
posted by Kangaroo at 7:26 PM on December 13, 2009

I am plus sized and tall & yes... it is a pain. Lane Bryant are saviors when it comes to jeans and short sleeved tees, but everything else is either cheaply made for the price or the sleeves are short. I have long arms & legs, but a rather normal length torso. Why is it that the wider you are, the shorter they think you must be??? an xl from a regular size store has sleeves that are just a tad too short while an xl from lane bryant or avenue or similar will be way too short.

For a size 18, I'd try Eddie Bauer as most of their regular sizes go up to 20 and most everything comes in tall sizes too.

You may want to consider JC Penney catalog (not store) too.
posted by Empyrean_72 at 7:40 PM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

I would not buy a wool coat intended to last many, many seasons at Chadwick's. Perhaps in a trendy color, for fun wear for a year or so. Others MMV, as above.

Talbots plus sizes are generally a bit longer, and you can call them for the garment measurements not provided in the link above. I see you are in DC, and you might find a try-on at the Chevy Chase, Alexandria, or Tysons stores. The downtown store has a very limited selection of plus sizes.

Also consider checking out Nordstrom and the venerable Rizik's. You will get better service, and Nordies would do a good alteration if it comes to that. They will also be helpful suggesting other sources, whereas many department (not specialty) or discount stores would not be quick to do so.
posted by jgirl at 7:43 PM on December 13, 2009

The stuff at Avenue and the other retailers at onestopplus.com tends to be pretty cheaply made, in my opinion. I would buy a "fashion" coat from them but wouldn't trust them for warm, long-lasting stuff.
posted by cabingirl at 7:46 PM on December 13, 2009

Tall Girl coats are generally quite good quality. I'd also recommend them.
posted by Go Banana at 8:22 PM on December 13, 2009

Apparently Nordstrom's has some size 18 coats, and they (theoretically) offer high quality/durable clothing.

Would this be long enough? They have size 18, and it's 37 inches long from the shoulder.

This one's available in a 20 (not 18), but is 37.5 inches long from the shoulder.

There are a couple of other shorter options (~32 inches): 1 2

Nordstrom might have more choices in a store, and like jgirl said, they might be able to make some good suggestions and do alterations if need be.

There's also this one from New York & Company. It looks pretty long, though there's no length specified.

Ideally, how long would the coat be? Maybe one that's not designated as "tall" would still work if it's long enough...
posted by sentient at 2:17 AM on December 14, 2009

The need for the tall size isn't because of the length of the coat; it's to get the right proportions and sleeve length. I'm 4 inches shorter than the intended wearer, and my coat sleeves need to be at least 26" in order to keep me warm. None of the non-tall coats I've looked at have sleeves anywhere near that long. In addition, darts and belts are placed wrong, shoulders tend to be too narrow, and buttons are too high. Having a tall size is pretty important.
posted by decathecting at 9:20 AM on December 14, 2009

I would not buy a wool coat intended to last many, many seasons at Chadwick's. Perhaps in a trendy color, for fun wear for a year or so.
Fair enough, that was my first time buying from them and I only used the coat for one season.
posted by peacheater at 9:41 AM on December 14, 2009

I'm 6'1" tall woman and Tall Girl has the fit that I like. The quality is excellent. I've had a black wool coat from them for 11 years now. Sizes fit up to 20 (sometimes 22). All of their clothing is designed for women who are tall and/or with longer legs or arms. The sleeves are longer, the details are flattering for a longer torso and the waist/darts will actually hit at the right place.
posted by saradarlin at 10:48 AM on December 14, 2009

This coat comes in a Tall XL, which, according to the size charts, is considered a size 16/18.

(disclaimer: I'm not tall, but I have this same coat in another colour and it is nice.)
posted by Ouisch at 4:44 PM on December 14, 2009

Boden ship to the US and go up to a 20. Because they're designed for yummy mummies, their sizes tend to be longer (I'm 5ft 10 and their regular length, from memory, hits my knee) so long length should be fine, and I've heard they last very well. However, a) the sales are on so they may not have them, though the classic style you want is likely to be there b) they're designed for the intemperate British climate rather than a freezing Minnesotan winter.

Whoops - just realised that as a US person you'd be a UK 20. In that case, Dorothy Perkins also ship to the States and they offer a tall range up to that size. We also have Long Tall Sally which is for 6ft plus women - might be worth seeing if they ship.

I feel your pain: one fashion retailer's 'tall range' is for women '5ft6 and over'. Finding nice skirts that are long enough is a pain.
posted by mippy at 10:21 AM on December 15, 2009

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