Plus Size Wardrobe Capsule Essentials – The Trench Coat

The Thin Line – Blondie

It’s been about a year now since I started learning about all the new plus-size options that are available online.  After discovering places like Torrid and Eloquii, I wondered – where do you start?

The first tip that I read was to find a “uniform” that you could change-up every day.  Since I wear uniforms to work, that idea wasn’t really all that appealing to me.  Then I discovered the concept of the capsule wardrobe.  That might be something that most people have heard of, but the concept was totally new to me.

I saved a bunch of articles on pinterest.  Later, I’d go back and read them.  What I discovered is that most everyone agrees on some of the same things, but then there are things that no one agrees on.  I altered my list a bunch, but finally narrowed it down to these items:

Trench Coat
Moto Jacket
LBD
Silk Blouse
Button Down
Cambray
Sailor Shirt
Cashmere Sweater
Basic White Tee
Black pencil skirt
Straight legged jeans
White jeans
Black Skinny jeans
Black pump
Black loafer
Sunglasses
Black bag
Leather belt
Neutral purse
Fedora

As I gathered information, I realized that although there were a lot of thoughts about the capsule, there weren’t always good ideas about where to shop.  If shopping was included, the items were usually very high end and not in my size at all.  What’s a big girl to do?

After a lot of looking around, I started finding things here and there.  I figured if I had a little bit of a problem finding the items I wanted for my capsule, other plus-size women might be running into the same problem, so I thought I’d share my findings with all of you.

Today, I’m going to start with just the first item on the list.

The Trench Coat

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The Trench Coat has an interesting history.  It was originally designed as a military officer’s coat which was later adapted for them to wear in the trenches, hence the name “trench” coat.  Two companies claim to have designed the original – Burberry and  Aquascutum.  If you’re from the States like me, I’m guessing you maybe never heard of Aquascutum until you just read it here.  Unfortunately, their coats don’t seem to be available in plus sizes, unless you’d like to buy one made for men (and have it altered).

In a lot of the articles, there is a consensus that the Burberry Classic is “the coat” to own for this category.  I would agree.  Over the course of this past year, I’ve come to understand that there are some manufacturers that do what they do because they do it so well.  Burberry is that kind of brand.

For my purposes here, I chose “The Kensington – Long Heritage Trench” for comparison, straight from the Burberry website.  It’s considered a modern fit coat with a tapered waist, made with weatherproof cotton gabardine, and considered an “all season coat” as it can be worn in warmer or cooler weather, plus worn as a raincoat on rainy days.

However, for us plus-size gals, there’s a couple of problems with Burberry.  The Burberry Trench is only available up to size US16 and the cost of a classic trench is $1,895.  I do want to mention that I’ve seen a couple of articles that say that Burberry will tailor your coat to fit.  I haven’t been able to find out if that means they will tailor to fit sizes larger than US16. However, the same goes with the Burberry.  If you decide that this is a must have for you, then you could buy a male coat and have it altered, pricing is the same.  Keep in mind that not all the colors are available for men.

Most articles will tell you to splurge on the capsule wardrobe items on your list as they are considered classics, so they will never go out of style, and they will most likely last your lifetime (with proper care).  The trench is at the top of the list because of its versatility and iconic style.  It’s also the most expensive item if you buy the Burberry.  Let’s break down the cost of the Burberry.  Let’s say that you buy this coat and keep it in use for 30 years.  That means this coat will cost you approximately $63 a year to own.  The cheapest coat I have on the list is from Simply Be (currently on sale) comes in at $74.99.  While it’s a nice coat, it doesn’t touch the level of the Burberry, but on the pro side, it’s going to last longer than a couple of years, so the cost may make it worth it.

All-in-all, if you decide to make a capsule wardrobe, there’s no doubt that a trench coat is a must-have.  I personally don’t think you can go wrong with any of the coats on the list as they will all serve the purpose of finishing off an outfit to make it look great.  Just keep in mind that not all of them are “all season” coats and not all of them are raincoats.

Since I was starting out, I decided to go with a cheaper option for a couple of reasons.  For starters, I am still pretty new to the concept of having options for fashion, so I didn’t want to start off getting a very expensive item, which would have to be from the men’s section that I’d have to have altered.  Next, I wasn’t real sure that I’d need that much coat.  In the South, we get about two or three weeks of really cold weather.  I wondered if I’d really get enough use out of the coat to make the expense worth it.  I ended up adding a very inexpensive, light weight trench from Forever 21 (see it here).  I didn’t add it to the list as it seems to be currently out of stock.  I have a feeling that Forever 21 will bring it back as it’s been out of stock a couple of times before.

Feel free to let me know what you think of the list and if there are any must-have items that you’d add.

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