Review : J. Crew Coats : Wool-Cashmere Icon Trench / Wool Melton Duffle Coat / Long Belted Puffer / Wool Melton Toggle Coat

October 20, 2014

I live in a part of the world where four months of harsh winter is the norm and for that I give myself a free pass on gratuitous coat purchases. For the brave, winter mornings are a time to show their mettle but for me, the first step--getting dressed--is the most difficult. Little things like pretty coats make a marked difference for me on especially trying days.

My first stop this fall was J. Crew, known for their extended sizes, fresh colors, and classic lines. Prices have gone up again this winter but are still affordable relative to coats of comparable quality.

As the owner of four Lady Day Coats (reviewed here), all of which continue to look new despite repeated wears, I deliberately  stayed away from the style in search of (a little) variety.

At bat is the Wool-Cashmere Icon Trench, as timeless a design as coats come. This is a style that J. Crew has offered three or four winters now so I was slightly disappointed to learn that only three basic colors--navy, camel, and wine--were offered this year. I can see it being stunning in emerald green or dark khaki.

What I like about this coat is that there are no extraneous details; it doesn't aspire to be more than just a "classic wear-with-all piece" and I appreciate its simplicity. The design is probably a little too monotonous for those with more adventurous styles but I am a fan.
J. Crew Wool-Cashmere Icon Trench in Navy | Size Petite 00
I am indifferent to felt, which is utilitarian (though slightly at odds with dressier coat designs like this) but can attract lint. The buttons are plastic and done in tortoiseshell finish.

The fit is true to J. Crew size but the style is more tailored than other styles reviewed in this post; the "right" size would probably not be suitable for below-freezing temperature and sizing up to allow layering probably defeats the purpose of a tailored coat.

This coat is probably best for mild winter days.
Warmth Factor: 6 out of 10. Bulky sweaters, lined gloves, heavy socks, insulated bottoms, and gloves/earmuffs/scarves are necessary to fully winterize this coat.

00P measurements: shoulder: 13.25"; sleeves: 23"; waist: 16"; underarm to underarm: 16.5"; total length: 38.5"
The Wool Melton Duffle Coat is a slightly unorthodox duffle coat; it lacks the signature toggle fasteners and fun lining and is missing the neck strap. In their place are extra pockets and gold hardware.
J. Crew Wool Melton Duffle Coat in Warm Camel | Size Petite 00
The coat is designed with a looser fit in mind but is perhaps not well suited for those who don't have a straight shape. I am a little bottom heavy and this resulted in unsightly bunching in the back (see back view below).

The coat is fairly warm but I would still only give it 6.5 out of 10 in warmth factor. With the hood you can probably skip the scarf, earmuffs, and the hat.

00P measurements: shoulder: 15"; sleeves: 22.25"; waist: 18"; underarm to underarm: 17.5"; total length: 35"
Puffers are necessary for some city-dwellers who usually travel by foot and public transportation; I drive to work on most mornings so do not hoard them as I do frock coats. I was, however, tasked to find a puffer for my mom this winter so will probably review a few this winter.

My initial thought about the Long Belted Puffer was that it failed to excite and I am normally willing to compromise on aesthetics for functionality. Steeper discounts will probably make this style more appealing to me.

Warmth Factor: probably 7.5 out of 10.

J. Crew Long Belted Puffer in Black | Petite XXS
The product description claims that the "waist-nipping belt" makes the coat flattering but for me, who doesn't really have a defined waist, this was an unfulfillable promise. I don't blame J. Crew, but claims like these are YMMV.

Your normal J. Crew size will work for this style (with plenty  of room to layer). The size chart can be found here.

XXSP measurements: shoulder: 14.25"; sleeves: 23.5"; waist: 19"; underarm to underarm: 17"; total length: 34.5"
The Wool Melton Toggle Coat in Heather Grass is my favorite coat from the order; this style in dark olive is already sold out online but I suspect it will be restocked. The Convertible Toggle Coat, also from J. Crew, was my favorite coat purchase last fall and aside from having removable hoods, is very similar to the Wool Melton Toggle Coat. For those who missed that boat last year, it's time to order! 

J. Crew also appears to be trying something new with inventory management so there's a chance that those late Spring discounts are a thing of the past.
J. Crew Wool Melton Toggle Coat in Heather Grass | Size Petite 00
Like the Wool Melton Duffle Coat, this is a looser-fitting style and also feels true to size to me. Some people may find the side pockets a bit of an eyesore but for pocket aficionados like me, this is a bonus.

00P measurements: shoulder: 14"; sleeves: 22.5"; underarm to underarm: 16.5"; total length: 34.5"
Most coats are 25% off today with code TGIFALL.

Happy shopping! 

Double-cloth Lady Day Coat with Thinsulate® // Nordic Parka // Wintress Belted Puffer Coat

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