Okay, need a spring raincoat.
Normally, I don't like to wear raincoats; a coated coat feels like a Glad Bag, and if uncoated, I might as well wear a coat or jacket and carry an umbrella. But light packing translates to 'raincoat'.
I'd spend about anything for a great raincoat, but given my size (14-16) and height, most European brands don't fit. Burberry and Aquascutum do, but their double-breasted styles made me look like a Tommy Tipee cup. Not a good return for the steep price tag.
Some of the higher-end coats (Moschino, Akris, Nina Ricci, Boss) were chic but cut for shorter arms and torsos. The Olsen sisters' The Row, my kind of minimalist, is made for Olsen bodies.
After weeks of searching, including online, I ended up with a stone trench from Talbot's in quiet clay. It's clean, crisp, and the long placket is far better than a bust full of buttons. That closing, plus vertical pockets and an editing of flaps and furbelows deliver a sleeker line than most.
The coat comes in appealing non-neutrals like gypsy rose (shown) or viridian, fun as an extra but too limiting when packing just one.
The price was unbeatable: on sale on the web site for $90, with free shipping till June 27.
The trench cost so little that I'm treating it like a pair of basic jeans. If I find my dream raincoat, I'll still buy it.
I'll modify this coat, in two steps:
1. Change all buttons immediately, from fabric-covered to mother-of-pearl. MOP buttons are nearly like wearing pearls! Replacing buttons is always worth the cost and oddly satisfying to me.
2. Depending on how the buttons look, I might upgrade the wrist and belt buckles (currently fabric-covered like the buttons) to leather, removable for cleaning. (Talbot's say dry clean the poly-cotton blend. Another example of their bizarre fabric care directions.) I'll source these locally or order from Klein's.
I could also re-line the interior. Perhaps in a spring-hued silk, like this pale blue and mocha dot. (Tried the coat in the store but can't remember if it's fully or partially lined.)
Here, Billie Holiday sings"Pennies From Heaven" ca. 1936, accompanied by Benny Goodman's orchestra; Teddy Wilson on piano: