Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pennies from heaven: Talbot's trench

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 sp
end 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 o
f 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:

11 comments:

Deja Pseu said...

I picked up a fabulous single-breasted trench from Talbot's on sale at the end of the year in a wonderful pine green. Every time I wear it I receive compliments, even from sales associates at high end stores! Mine had horn buttons (maybe the cloth buttons are a spring thing?) but I love the idea of adding a fun lining....hmmmm....

Duchesse said...

Pseu: Single busted rules for us gals with chests! Talbots clearly has some serious coat designers. And can you believe the price!!!

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

What a clever idea changing the buttons to MOP...that will add interest and a luxe look.
I cannot do double breasted..as I am amply busted!
I like the simple slimming lines of this trench and at the price you could almost justify two!!

lagatta à montréal said...

That is an astonishing price. Yes, what is it with all the double-breasted garments? I've even seen them in plus-sized shops - bizarre.

Duchesse, as you may recall I travel to Amsterdam at least once a year for work/research. You are average height there. Sure, the young gals tend to be slim there, but the middle-aged and older women can be sturdier looking. I'd think you might find quality garments in Netherlands or Germany, and no, they aren't all matronly and stodgy; I've seen some women in lovely raincoats (I wasn't looking for any raincoat more serious than a poncho for my bicycle, so I didn't check out where they might have bought them).

In the Netherlands all the garments are too long for me!

I love the idea of the mother-of-pear buttons; I have always loved those. Personally, cute though your lining choice is, I wouldn't bother putting such an effort in a garment of that price range.

Pseu, I LOVE pine green. Why is that flattering colour so hard to find?

Duchesse said...

lagatta: I'm a standard size for German and Dutch goods but they are nonexistent here. Lots of French and Italian, some Japanese, the occasional emerging Belgian.

The "garment of that price range" is in fact remarkably well-made. While I would not throw good money at a so-so coat, and this would be worth it, if I want. I inspected it in the store.

lagatta à montréal said...

Lovelier still! The price of a decent sweater, and I don't even mean fine cachmere.

lagatta wants a pine-green one...

Well, I guess you'll just have to make a lovely cycle chic trip to Amsterdam, or peruse nearby German cities, next time you're in Europe. I've seen so many tall, elegant women of a certain age in such places, not all of them razor slim like les Parisiennes (though very fit with all the cycling and walking). Often on tall, stately, upright bicycles.

Beautiful shoes in long sizes are also common there.

With the Thalys train to Brussels, Amsterdam and Köln, or the TGV-EST from Paris to Strasbourg and beyond, the trip can be swift, pleasant, and inexpensive if you search out the deeply discounted fares ahead of time.

Duchesse said...

lagatta: One time when Le Duc was in Paris alone he wanted to buy me clothes and, frustrated, actually stalked a man accompanying two tall, ample women. He approached to ask them where he should shop and they sent him to Jil Sander (whom he did not know). Of course, a German designer!

metscan said...

I don´t like to be out in the rain, but due to my hobby, it is a must. Aigle and Barbour have at least had practical oilcloth coats. I at one time had a long, large d.green Aigle coat, which was very chic for town too. Now, that you took this subject up, I might even start searching for a new one. Here in Finland, I ( 177cm ) consider myself very normal sized and shaped. There is a little bit something around the stomach area, which I hate, but it doesn´t enable me to find fit clothes. Maybe you should move to Europe! ; )

Rubiatonta said...

This spring I bought a single-breasted taupe London Fog trench from Nordstrom, which I fiddled with to love it more -- it had a hood with drawstrings (bleh), which I removed and snipped off the buttons under the collar.

I repurposed the drawstring into beltloops, since I can't stand fussing with a belt that isn't moored to the coat. The icky wool lining is out, and I'm liking the idea of having it relined with something warm and smooth, like silk twill. The wool was grabbing onto the clothes I had on underneath, and moving them around. Not good!

The funniest thing is that I discovered it's even more chic worn wrapped and belted, like a bathrobe, than it is buttoned and belted. Since the fabric isn't at all slippery, it stays closed nicely, as long as I'm not sitting down. Much better than the "sausage tied in the middle" look!

LPC said...

I am in awe of your capacity to customize.

sallymandy/bluekimonostudio said...

I love swapping out buttons on garments, too. Makes such a difference, kind of like putting new throw pillows on your couch.

Love this trench in rose.