I wore a white lightweight wool mohair spring coat for a time-defying 10 years. The shelf life of almost any fashion item that is white in New York City is unbelievably short, so I was very pleased that my special care of this precious item prolonged its life. Then The Husband took it from me last year, declaring that he would not be seen with me in a “coat that had bald spots all over it, like a dog with mange.” Well! To assuage my depression, he took me in September to my retail therapy store to replace the coat with another lightweight version. I thought of it, however, as my new “fall coat.” It was a terrific Akris three-quarter-length, sleek wool gabardine coat in a glorious shade of poppy. I loved it, but it had limitations—the three-quarter length precluded its use to slim pants and pencil skirts, and the color meant that anything I wore with it had to look good with this very particular shade of red/orange.
I planned, nonetheless, to buy a replacement coat in the spring. Little did I know that Spring Coats as I knew them no longer seemed to exist. When I was a girl, Mommie made all my clothes, including an Easter coat every year. I would help her design the coat and choose the fabric. I still dream of my favorite coat, made for me when I was 12—a swing coat of lightweight white wool with a jewel neckline. No adornment. One button at the neckline. Unlined, but with bound seams—so feminine and unusual. All spring coats have been measured against the memory of this perfect coat.
I called Stacey at Quintessence, who is also the editor of our Fashion Friday pieces, for three weeks, asking that we do a piece on spring coats, thinking that this would cut down on my shopping time. Finally she gave me the bad news: There is a variety of offerings for spring, but the coats I had in mind were a rarity. There are some that “would do,” but none to match the coat that Mommie made.
I discovered that what I think of as spring coats should be purchased in the fall, so one would need to buy a white or bright coat at that time of year, well before the spring season. Still, here are a few coats I liked that might take us through the chilly days of early spring, which officially starts next week. While these are designer coats at designer price points, they represent a few styles that differ from the ubiquitous, standard trench coat and raincoat.
Chado Ralph Rucci ILLUSION-TRIM COAT
Lela Rose REVERSIBLE COAT (orange twill to burlap)
Dolce & Gabbana BRACELET-SLEEVE TWEED COAT