Best petite women's wool coat for $150
December 1, 2013 10:12 AM   Subscribe

My father has generously offered to buy me a new coat, and would like to spend $150. I am the type who will dither endlessly about this type of decision, so please help me locate the best coat available for that amount.

The details:

>> I am petite, 5'1" and I weigh about 105 lbs. This has made it hard to find something that doesn't overwhelm my frame.

>> I live in Western Mass and I walk and drive a lot.

>> I like long wool coats, but I am willing to consider something shorter or made from a different material.

>> Interesting color would be nice, but I'm happy with almost anything.

>> I would prefer something that will last for several years.

Please, please save me from several more hours of stressful online coat shopping!
posted by chaiminda to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Look for a coat that hits you mid-thigh, it will look more proportional than a long coat.
Add color by using scarfs, hats and gloves, choose a solid color like navy blue for the coat itself. Pick one that has a high (70%+) wool content. This way it will last several years.
posted by travelwithcats at 10:24 AM on December 1, 2013

I'd be looking to Lands' End -- they have several wool coats in your price range that are available in petite sizes and cute colors. Their clothes are high quality and they guarantee them forever. Plus there's a coupon code right now, so even the $200 coat is in your price range ($140 after coupon).
posted by katemonster at 10:28 AM on December 1, 2013

Can you just go to a department store and ask a salesperson to find you a coat? For something that's meant to last a few years, i'd want to try it on first.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 10:35 AM on December 1, 2013

Word of advice - if you're hoping to make this jacket last for a few years, I would stay away from any colour that could be described as interesting. Sure, it'll cycle around again, but accessories are a much more practical means of punching up your look!
posted by rideunicorns at 10:40 AM on December 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

I would be wary of Land's End for your size range, actually. I'm 5'2" and 120 lbs and I'm often sized out of their XSP or 2P, which is my size in most stores. I think the smallest coat size will still be too large and overwhelming on you.
posted by serelliya at 10:50 AM on December 1, 2013

Yeah, you're out of Lands' End range, and also LL Bean and...well, most major manufacturers, unless they have a good children's section. (Which is not an unreasonable option depending on the cut -- I find some kids stuff runs very wide/boxy, though)

J. Crew goes down to a 00P and it's easy to pick up a new or very gently used J. Crew wool coat on eBay. The Lady Day Coat is not the world's warmest and needs good layering for any sort of serious cold, but I have found it to be reasonably well-made and have had mine for a few years now and it's holding up well. It's a really nice cut and very flattering (er, I hope?) on a small frame. It is popular enough that a Google image search will fetch up loads of photos of it in different colours on different sizes, so you can get a pretty good idea of what it will look like in real life. There will be hefty post-Xmas sales on the site too; you might be able to snag something for $150ish but getting the size and colour you want that way is a bit of a gamble.
posted by kmennie at 11:13 AM on December 1, 2013 [1 favorite] has a pea coat in petite. I have their lined trench coat that has worn well, and is quite versatile. And a boiled wool jacket is warm, and will last practically forever. also has a trench. I've done well with petite sizes.
posted by theora55 at 11:15 AM on December 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

I was going to recommend the J. Crew coat. I don't know how firm your budget is but stuff at J. Crew is currently 30% off. The coat comes in beautiful colors. If J. Crew prices are too steep, J. Crew Factory might work. Be sure to have your coat cleaned after every winter to help extend its life.
posted by kat518 at 11:29 AM on December 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

J.Jill has a nice women's wool-blend coat on sale for $149. It comes in petite sizes and has some choice of colors.
posted by pantarei70 at 12:04 PM on December 1, 2013

You are small enough to be able to fit into a classically tailored vintage coat--made for a woman or even for a child--which will be better made than anything you can buy from a department store today, and with proper care will last you for the rest of your life. With $150, you can buy a very nice vintage coat.
posted by Scram at 3:58 PM on December 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

I am a petite, and I own several Eddie Bauer coats. I see one wool coat on their website, but, like the rest of their winter coats, it cost more than $150. Their stuff will last for years, so maybe it would be worth adding some money to the gift money.

Just noticed that they are having a 30% off everything sale (until 12/2) so the wool coat is within your budget.
posted by AMyNameIs at 7:12 PM on December 1, 2013

I'm very close to your size, and I have enjoyed the two coats by Miss Sixty I own. I have what appears to be a much more attractive variation of this coat and also this coat. I think the first was from a TJ Maxx/Marshalls type of place and the second was a lucky thrift store find (since I had the first for a few years and knew I liked the fit, style, and quality). Although, as I suppose the links suggest, I've found what look like good deals on what are probably last year's coats on; not a problem if you pick a classic style. Both were far under your budget.

I'm in the Chicago area and they both keep me quite happily warm, the first more than the second. I have size XS in both and, especially with sweaters on, they fit pretty well, maybe even a bit snug if you're curvy; the sleeves aren't bad in length either, if your arms are proportionally short. I like long wool coats too, and I don't think it will overwhelm your frame if you're careful about selecting a flattering length. I'd recommend getting something at least long enough to cover your rear, for warmth. I think a knee-length (or just under or over) is a nice compromise of extra length for warmth but not as overwhelming as an ankle-length might be. (Or maybe I just don't care if the extra length overwhelms me because I'm so much more comfortable!)

I have a couple of classically tailored vintage coats--more lucky thrift store finds--and I have to say, they aren't always that warm. The basketweave-patterned, plastic-buttoned one of indeterminate maker I just picked up makes me feel like Jackie O, but it is pretty much a fall coat, not a winter coat (at least around here). The Georges Rech is gorgeous as gorgeous can be and is thick 100% wool with a full lining; I love it, I love both of them, but they aren't my go-to coats. The lack of modern innovations like Thinsulate, natural/synthetic fiber blends which may have better pill resistance or fade resistance or washability or insulation or waterproofing or windbreaking, nice design details like a built-in attached zip-up wool vest as a second layer inside the buttons or a knit turtleneck storm collar inside the open wool collar (both features on my first coat)--as well as the fear that I will ruin my gorgeous designer one-of-a-kind vintage garments if I wear them on an everyday basis--keeps me from enjoying them as fully as I'd like to.

Even at your budget, you might consider searching on Etsy and the like for custom made (or for vintage), which you could order to fit. Some of the Asian ones in particular may be designed to begin with for slimmer or more petite frames. I'm drooling over the stuff in this shop (and the reviews look good, and the prices are not soooo low that I fear too much I'm employing sweatshop labor, even if it's from China). This one toes your budget and comes in many pretty colors, and there are several others with hoods or different lapel designs. If you can push the budget a little bit, this one is stunning (although I might worry about it being too long for a short person...but I'm not sure, if I owned it, I would care). I haven't actually tried it, though.

I don't think an interesting color is completely off the table, although some colors will be more classic than others (a cream, a bright red, a wine red, a camel, a navy blue, are more eye-catching than black but won't fall out of popularity enough to make you look dated anytime soon; whatever color-of-the moment like turquoise or orange or a print may be otherwise. But if you really like the color...who cares?). Certain details, like peplums or tiers of ruffles on the hem, quickly look dated; others, like military styling, have become classic. I think tie belts add bulk, personally. It doesn't look like pea coat styles are going away anytime soon (and they do sell actual Navy pea coats in small and extra small sizes, and even extra colors, but I found them too boxy to be very flattering, although they were warm).

Make sure it fits well and is comfortable for your everyday pursuits. If you don't enjoy wearing it, it doesn't matter how it looks!
posted by spelunkingplato at 9:28 PM on December 1, 2013

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