February 03, 2009

Building My Closet: The Lure of a Full-Skirted Winter Coat

A week or so ago, the Sartorialist posted a photo of two women in Milan walking arm in arm, wearing head to toe black, donning full-skirted coats. The photo was composed beautifully, (as one can expect from this now-iconic street style blog), and amidst an otherwise stark urban landscape, the whimsical coats offered a frilly, yet unfussy solution to the drudgery of winter.

This picture, depicting two lengths of a divinely feminine silhouette in a pragmatic winter weather package, really made me covet such a piece for my own wardrobe. Serendipitously, on the one-week anniversary of the published photo, I came upon a full-skirted coat to call my own.

Alice + Olivia striped wool coat

Finding the coat was bittersweet, as it occurred during the closing sale of a local boutique, Karma Fashion. As the economy struggles, small business retailers face fierce competition with the deep discounts of luxury department stores. Boutiques like Karma and the premium services they often provide are becoming an unfortunate casualty of the recession, as more and more people eliminate unnecessary purchases (unless they succumb to seductive epic sales, like me).

The always-friendly and attentive owner of Karma was just profiled in the Post-Gazette so I was especially shocked to hear that their doors were shutting and she was heading over to competing local boutique and national etailer, Chickdowntown, to handle some component of their online sales. I hope that the new staff addition will help turn around Chick Downtown's variable customer service and I wish the former owner of Karma good luck in her future retail endeavors! She has fantastic taste and (from our admittedly limited interactions) a great attitude so she will bring a lot to the table for Chick.

But I digress. Although my full-skirted winter coat is not the solid black of my inspiration, and I certainly lack the long, lithe limbs of the women in the original photo, I sated this coat craving and filled a hole in my closet with what will hopefully be a statement piece I can keep for years to come!

5 comments:

Jules said...

That is such a lovely shape. I think we have similar tastes!

May Kasahara said...

goooooooood coat. I like it better than the ones in the sart photo.

eye4style said...

The coat looks fantastic on you, I love it.

Anonymous said...

where can i get a coat like that? i've been looking everywhere and i can't seem to find a full skirted wool black dress coat with a belt..yet i see people on the streets with them..help!

Jesspgh said...

Thank you Jules, MayK, and Eye4style! I apologize for my delay in responding.

Anonymous, I am not sure of manufacturers who would have such pieces right now (since it is the off season). Your best bet would be to find one next year, at an outlet, or on ebay. I do know that this shape was popular enough that the fast fashion retailers carried versions. Forever21 and H&M for example had full skirted trenches. I know Mackage has a spring-weight trenchcoat (the Jules Birch) with a full skirt.

http://www.ssense.com/Mackage-Women-Coats/Mackage_Jules_Birch_Coat/11200

And I recall Anthropologie carrying a winter coat with a full skirt. You might be able to locate it on ebay. Good luck in your hunting! I think this is a shape that will carry through to next year so I imagine there will be options for f/w 2009.

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