I've been on a major quest to find a new spring coat this year. This year, and last year, and the year before that. I've done my research. Pinned lots of images. And over three springs, tried on what seems like a million coats. Three years ago foiled by the yawning chasm between what I wanted and what I found in the stores, I bought a light spring jacket from Theory instead. Last year I gave up, entirely. Everything was too long, too short, too lightweight, too cheaply made, or too expensive.
This year, as usual, I sought inspiration first. Vogue predicted that trench coats would be a big trend this season. Maybe I'll be lucky in 2018, I thought. As it happens trench coats are a big trend; emphasis on big. Over-sized has become the new black, it seems.
|Trench coats are a big trend this season. source|
So, there's over-sized, and then there's just plain weird. Seriously. Put on any of these coats in a hurry, and you might shove your arm down a non-sleeve extra sleeve, try to belt a decorative not really a belt belt, or get lost in your coat within a coat. Sigh. I kept looking.
|Decontsructed trench coats from Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, and Celine source|
I wanted a classic shaped, classic tan trench coat. Not an over-sized one, not one of the super lightweight, super long, floaty ones with no lining. Not one of the very short ones that look more like a jacket. Perhaps something to conjure up images of timelessly chic Parisian women, or maybe Lauren Bacall wearing Humphrey Bogart's trench coat back in the day.
|Lauren Bacall in Bogey's coat at the 1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II source|
Maybe something along the lines of these two images from my Pinterest board. Not too long, not too fussy. Warm enough to be able to wear in April. Roomy enough to pull over my denim jacket, or a light blazer.
Last week I hit the stores. I tried on a couple of over-sized coats, just for the purpose of elimination you understand. They looked ridiculous on me. And I tried on a super light, super long one too. I imagined trying to make sure that the extra long coattails were tucked around me every time I climbed into my car, not dangling on the ground, or flapping outside the car door as I drove. I actually did that a few times with a super long trench coat I owned in the nineties. Closed my car door with half the coat on the outside. One day, driving home from work, the untied belt fluttered away outside the car, longer and longer until I drove over it. Left tire tracks and everything on the fabric. Ha. I'm not keen to go there again.
I thought I might have a winner with this coat, below, from Aritzia. It's a classic trench, well made, lined, not too long, and priced right. The fit is good. But... I wasn't sighing with delight. Or in love with the "me" it seemed to represent. With the coat buttoned and belted, I looked like an escapee from a remake of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, and, horrors, even somewhat portly. And portly is NOT what I'm going for. So, turns out I don't much like a classic tan trench coat on me anymore. Maybe it's just that, in a serious coat, I look too... well... serious.
|Parisian chic or Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy?|
A few days later I was off to Nordstrom to meet up with my friend and fashion adviser Liz. Shopping with a buddy who knows your lifestyle and your taste, and who has great taste of her own, is the best kind of shopping. And if that friend also happens to be the personal shopper at Nordstrom... even better.
Liz was well ready for me. Tucked into her change room were a few coats, some jeans, a few tops she thought I might like, a couple of pairs of a new brand of loafers Nordstrom are carrying, and several versions of a plain white tee. She had been doing her research too, by reading my blog wish list.
Ah, yes, this is more like me. The current version of me. Casual and a little bit pulled together. After all, I'm retired; I don't need a serious coat. But as much as I love this Montcler jacket, I can't justify buying it. I still have that Theory spring jacket from a couple of years ago, and a red Columbia windbreaker for cycling, and walking, and for throwing in my suitcase when I pack for summer trips. I wore that red windbreaker a lot when we were in France in 2015. In this jacket I found myself veering further and further away from the idea of a classic trench.
|Montcler jacket, AG jeans, Earth loafers, and Eileen Fisher tee|
And more and more towards the idea of a longer anorak, like this navy Montcler coat. After all, according to some of the best on-line fashion prognosticators like Vogue and Marie Claire, anoraks are big this year too. I tried an olive anorak at Aritzia a few days before, and loved it. And I loved this one even more. I envisioned it with my jeans and a tee, my navy Rag and Bone dress and sneakers, my old Burberry denim skirt and a red sweater, and of course my white cropped jeans. Maybe even my striped ALC midi skirt, with a tee and sneakers. I was besieged by outfit ideas.
|Now this is more like it.|
So what did I go home with, you ask? A new pair of AG jeans, that white Eileen Fisher tee shirt, those red loafers. Love those shoes. And Liz ordered the next size up in the navy anorak; I'll go back next week and see which size fits me best.
Yep, once again I've been foiled in my plans for trench coat ownership. Ah well. It's for the best. I'll get much more wear out of an anorak. Besides, I can't really see me impersonating Parisian chic, timeless or otherwise. Or trying to look like Lauren Bacall in Bogeys' coat. Or, horrors, looking portly and impersonating a character out of a John Le Carré novel. Much as I like John Le Carré novels, his Smiley's People trilogy being a big fave of mine back in the eighties. No, I'm much better off with an anorak. It's more me. The retired, casual, no need for a serious coat me.
I walked past this tee in a store window in the mall on my way home that day. It had my name on it. Literally. I might have to go back next week and pick it up too. Just for fun, you know.
|If you can't remember what a burpee is.... check out this link.|
Still, it feels good to move on. Mustn't dwell on the past. Besides, I need to start looking for a red sweater to wear with my jeans, and my new anorak, and those fabulous loafers.
P.S. When I haven't been shopping lately, I've been reading. And I really need to qualify one recommendation I made in my last book post. Hubby and I have for the most part really liked Peter Lovesey's books. I'm well into his novel The Stone Wife, and while I'm enjoying all the references and the trivia about Chaucer and the Wife of Bath... the plot at times has driven me crazy. Some bits are so unlikely, they're exasperating. What was Lovesey thinking? And yet, I can't put it down. Hubby felt the same. And we can't explain it. So if you pick up that particular book of Lovesey's... be warned. And if you do read it, do let me know what you think.
Now, I really must finish up this post and go and finish that darned book.
What shopping quests are you on this spring, my friends? Have they gone the way you planned? Or did you take a fashion detour like me?
Linking up this week with: Visible Monday, Fake It Till You Make It, #IwillwearwhatIlike, What I Wore, Style Me Wednesday, Passion 4 Fashion, Fun Fashion Friday, Saturday Share Link-Up