The Search for a Grey Overcoat
After streamlining my wardrobe based on size and fit, I’ve started going through what remains and evaluating my clothes by color. I’m coming to terms with the fact that many of the colors that make up my wardrobe–particularly darker colors like navy and black–don’t flatter me as much as other colors. Longtime readers may remember one of my first posts, about my mother’s chesterfield I appropriated in boarding school. That coat–a true classic that will last forever–is the essence of buying once and buying for life. The quality and craftsmanship are more notable today than they were in the 80s, when my mother purchased it, simply because very few pieces are made like this today.
A grey coat is an excellent wardrobe staple for everyone because it’s a neutral, less harsh than black or navy, and can be dressed up or dressed down. I also recently inherited a grey topcoat of my grandfather’s–we were nearly the same height, so I look forward to wearing that this winter.
For those of you looking for a classic overcoat (my preference over a puffer coat–you can read my thoughts here!), now is the best time to purchase one, as many are on significant sale. A grey overcoat is an ideal wardrobe staple–neutral, chic, practical, and timeless. I rely on mine to pull any cold-weather outfit together, and I’m so grateful to have such a beautiful piece in my closet! Each year, I receive many questions on where I found it, and if there are similar ones to purchase today. This year, I wanted to be prepared with a list of alternates!
To do that, I spent hours looking through the many offerings online. While I knew finding something that matched my “fewer & better” criteria would be difficult, I had no idea how few good options there were–at least under the $5,000 mark. I try to only purchase items of natural fibers–and try to only recommend them, too–and it seems as though just about every wool coat out there is only a “wool blend.” (This article on Permanent Style was incredibly eye-opening–it shows how different fabrics decompose, and their subsequent effect on the environment. I’ve also written about climate change and its link to fashion.)
What I’ve learned during this search:
- Check the fabric details! Most “wool” coats are only partially wool.
- Most pure wool coats are now unlined.
- Wool coats are an investment, but they are well worth the price. If you treat them well, they will last forever–as evidenced by the one I own. I’ve been wearing it for twenty years and my mother wore it for twenty years before me; you would never know.
However, I have tracked down a handful of pure wool (or wool/cashmere) grey overcoats. Below are the seven I’ve found, in a variety of price points and styles, if you’re in the market for a new coat.