As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been on the lookout to add a coat to my wardrobe for a while now. I’m always trying on coats (always have one eye on J.Crew) but nothing has been so amazing I had to have it (and of course, willing to invest in the alterations). Thanks to SoCal mild winters, I’ve been able to get away without a coat, but have found myself wishing for one during recent travels. This fall season, my eyes were especially peeled for a coat, and I fell insanely in love with Stella McCartney’s navy pinstripe number.
I decided on the Zara look-alike for a few reasons:
Petite-Friendly Proportions – The small lapel and fabric weight were friendly to my height. Also, the overall silhouette was less over-sized than the original design, which made it easier to tailor down.
Special Details – Things like the all over chalk-stripe (the Mango version had a contrast lapel which I wasn’t as fond of), breast pocket (I do love my pocket squares), and inside pockets (there’s 3 of them!) made this coat the better choice for me.
Decent Fabric – I would have preferred all wool, but those versions (Stella McCartney & Topshop) were either too far out of my price range, or didn’t have the details I wanted (no breast pocket & too big of a lapel). The Mango version was also a wool blend, but I know from experience that I’m always disappointed in Mango fabric quality. The Zara coat feels substantial and quite nice for the price.
— Alterations —
Coat/Jacket Alterations In General
If the coat is lined, the tailor will need to open or remove the lining before making alterations, and then re-attach when done. This increases the cost of most coat alterations.
I was almost able to get away without, but my tailor recommended I have it done and after seeing the results, I agree. It just helps the coat sit better on my frame. This is the most difficult of the alterations done on this coat, and one that should be avoided if you have the luxury. Due to my height coupled with already having narrow shoulders, most coats and jackets need some modification in this area on me. The sleeve needs to be removed, shoulder and shoulder pad cut back, shoulder reshaped, and sleeve reattached. Only a skilled tailor you really trust should be given this task, and high price tags should be expected. Price range: ~ $75 – $150.
I know that oversized silhouette is very trendy right now, but it’s hard for me to pull off at my height. I look like a child trying on an adult coat, so I knew I would be better served with a more classic, slimmer shape. There is no closure for this coat, so my tailor pinned it closed about where a button would be, and then contoured it to my natural shape. This gave it a very nice drape on my figure when worn open (a closure can be added later if I want). For this type of alteration, the lining is opened and the torso is slimmed by taking in the seams that already run along the side and back of the coat. Price range: ~ $45 – $65.
Since there were no buttons or cuff details, the sleeves were simply shortened from the bottom. Price range: unsure.
Overall Length Shortened
I love the elegant look of long coats on others, but let’s face it…I was swamped in all that fabric. Luckily there were no bottom details that risked getting lopped off, and the back vent was so long, it’s still a good length after shortening. I went for just above the knee, as I like the visual presence that length gives me from all angles, while still appearing to be a long-ish coat. Things to think about before doing this type of alteration: bottom details that risk being lost after shortening; awkward button placement of the bottom-most button; awkward vent length. Price range: unsure.
* prices are meant as a rough guide only. They are highly subjective and can vary wildly based on many factors including (but not limited to) average city storefront rental rates/taxes, tailor skill level/experience, competition from other tailoring shops, and complexity of the individual tailoring job.