Vintage Brooks Brothers overcoat

Five Coats for Fall

It’s finally fall! I absolutely love pulling out my favorite sweaters and well-loved coats each September. I have four coats that I wear when it’s cold outside, and all of them have been in my wardrobe for at least a decade. Today, I’m sharing these four and why they are special. Here’s what’s in my outerwear closet…

Burberry Waterloo Trench

I’ve written extensively about this trench coat (notably here), which my mother purchased in 1983 or thereabouts. It’s nearly forty years old and you would never know it! I was so excited to wear it the other day in inclement weather This coat is a testament to the longevity of good items if you take care of them. It’s truly a classic and I am sure it will last me decades to come.

A waxed cotton jacket

I have three waxed cotton jackets–two Barbour Beauforts and one Barbour Bedale–all three have been put through the wringer. They’ve been worn in the city, in the country, in town, on archaeological sites, hiking, through the snow, in just about every situation you can imagine, and they still look wonderful. (In fact, I’d argue they look even better now that they’re thoroughly worn in.) Barbours are an investment, but a worthwhile one. The Bedale that I favor is thirty years old and thanks to regular rewaxing, will easily go another thirty years. If a Barbour isn’t in your budget right now, I love the look of J. Crew’s new waxed canvas jacket.


A classic peacoat will take you from your teenage years well into adulthood. We found my black wool peacoat at Benetton in 2004, just before I started boarding school, and I’ve worn it every fall and winter since. For a new look, you can always replace the buttons on the coat. One of the most awful recent store closings, for me, was the permanent closure of the wonderful Tender Buttons, a gem of a store that will never be replaced. So now I’m off to track down another charming buttons-only shop to replace the buttons on this old peacoat to give it a new lease on life. If you’re in the market, Everlane and LL Bean have great options.

An overcoat

I wrote an ode to my mother’s overcoat early on and I stand by every word. Every woman should have an overcoat, but good ones are few and far between. I feel like I scoured the internet to find a selection of grey wool coats (100% wool or wool/cashmere), and only found a small handful. You can find that edit here. A good overcoat is a timeless, chic staple you’ll have in your closet for your life.

A quilted jacket

I’ve had a quilted Barbour for many years and I’ve absolutely loved it, but its narrower cut just doesn’t work for my lifestyle today. I was so pleased to find this great version from Jane Post, which has been worn non-stop this fall. You can read more about it here.

4 thoughts on “Five Coats for Fall

  1. I have been going back and forth on whether to get a wax canvas jacket for years. I love the idea and the look, but I’m hung up on the cleanliness issue. Do I really want a coat that I can’t put in the wash or take to the dry cleaners? Would love to hear some thoughts about that aspect of it from you or any readers.

    1. Think of the wax as a protective layer–like Teflon. Most things just roll off when the jacket is properly waxed. For other things, like mud, you can clean with a damp sponge. They are the best and I highly recommend!

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