You’re probably confused.
After all, I’m an interior designer.
How can an interior designer hate shopping?
Well, designing, selecting and creating is not the same thing as shopping.
And fabrics and home products, I am okay with.
That is another matter. And I am so not a clothes horse.
It’s not that I don’t like pretty things. I do. But going into a huge department store with racks and racks of clothes, bright lights, blaring music, a super-hard floor is a recipe for an instantaneous Excedrin Headache, not to mention how exhausted it makes me feel.
But, I very much need a few things for my trip to England!
Malvern Hall, Warwickshire 1809 John Constable 1776-1837
Bequeathed by George Salting 1910 – Tate Gallery
I’m leaving in 11 days!!!
Here’s what I need.
A new trench coat.
One or two pairs of shoes that are great for walking.
Probably a new pair of Jeans.
Probably a new dress.
I want a trench coat that looks something like this.
Now, you would think that it wouldn’t be so difficult to find a nice trench coat. But if you do, you need to get it by the middle of July when it’s 95 degrees outside. Now that it’s mid-September, and still 85 degrees outside, one can only find heavy winter coats.
She’s not saying the brand. I don’t think it’s a Burberry or a London Fog.
I went into Burberry and I have to say that the sale’s woman there was an absolute doll. But alas, I could not find the coat that I want.
So, I looked online. I actually LOVE to shop online.
- I can relax.
- I can hunt it down.
- I can ponder.
- I don’t have to get undressed.
- And I get to obsess.
What could be better? ;]
I didn’t find anything at Nordie’s. I mean, I did, but they are out of my size.
Neimann, nothing. Bloomie’s, nothing.
But Lord & Taylor has a good selection. (and they’re also running a great sale right now)
Here are my two finalists.
I’m leaning towards the Calvin Klein. I love the slight A-line because it looks flattering and feminine. Very English! But the Via Spiga is nice too.
Incidentally, they are both the same price and both on sale.
Do you have a preference?
Anything else I need to know from you lovely Brits who might be reading this or folks who’ve spent a lot of time in England.
Well, that’s all of the chit-chat today.
Time to get serious.
The primo award this week once again goes to Serena and Lily. And as if it wasn’t primo enough last week, they’ve also put their BRAND NEW linens and all of the beds on sale at 20% off.
You will need the promo code: GETCOMFY
And in case, you don’t remember, ALL of their gorgeous upholstery is on sale too. (same code) I made a separate sale’s page for some of my favorite upholstery pieces. And you can see some of my favorite linens and beds on the duhhh bed and bath page.
Like the Laurel Duvet Cover that they named in my honor. ;]
For the rest of this week’s hot sales:
For the main hot sales page, please click here.
For the hot clothes and there are a lot of new things this week, please click here.
And for the rugs, please click here.
And also, if you’d like to see the regularly priced furniture, please click here.
See you soon!
I think both coats are great – you’ll be glad for the hoods, I’m sure. You mentioned needing shoes and I can’t resist asking if you’ve checked out Rothys? They aren’t hard core walking shoes, but they are super comfy and darling flats. Don’t go with the pointed toe for this and maybe you need something with more structure, but I bought two pairs a month ago and can’t remember how I got along without them! Can’t be sure about delivery before your departure, but check out the website. I’m obsessed.
Thanks so much Mary. I went shopping the other day and got some what I hope are comfortable shoes. If there is such a thing. haha. my feet hurt sometimes even barefoot!
You made the right choice (albeit forced!). Lived in London for 7 years. The Via Spiga is slightly darker tan-nothing like a v. Light beige to show dirty cuffs 2 days into your trip or a black mark from your suitcase. Also less frou-frou on it than the Calvin, more of a classic. You will love it for years.
For shoes, try White Mountain. They have super comfortable shoes that look great. I have the Pearson Black Patent Oxford and walked all over Rome in them. Black Patent anything sheds rain and dust and looks smart. See also the Gilly and Tanner Oxford. Sub in black satin ribbon for laces for more feminin look.
Thanks so much Regina!
No prob. Don’t know if you’ll be in London and/or have been in the Liberty store there recently, but they have some beautiful things for interiors. You can also treat yourself to a gorgeous silk scarf, in their scarf department (yes, department) while there.
I’m sorry, but I can’t see the thread from here. I could, if I looked in the front end.
But anyway, I was only in London once for 12 hours in 1989. We will be in London and surrounding areas for a time and then moving around a lot.
Love my beige St. Michael TC given me by my mother years ago. When I was in England last two times, I don’t recall seeing even one TC on the streets, except my own.
Black is the color for europe as someone mentioned.
I might be picking fleas here, but why a coat that won’t protect your legs from the rain?
A Bb more likely to do that. But if it’s got to be one of these two, I go with the black Via Spiga. Give it a coat of water repellant spray and you are on your way. I’m guessing from what i can see that the hoods on each of those coats are buttoned on. So not going anywhere. Mine has no hood, but so comfy with a nice scarf.
I’m kind of thinking the waterproof the royals prefer will be great if you are outside a lot, but also think you will be indoors or on a bus most of the time. Still, i you want to impress folks when you get back to CONUS………..
Have a great trip!
Well, I’ve never had a coat that protected my legs from the rain and we get plenty of it here in NY. And correct, we aren’t going hiking or anything like that. And I’ll have a brolly and a couple of headbands to keep my ears warm if it’s really chilly.
But, I did get the lighter Via Spiga coat. I tried on a black coat today. And I just couldn’t get a black coat! Not this time. And I’ve had plenty of black coats. And I also got three pretty scarves and an orange Michael Kors handbag on sale! I guess that’s why I couldn’t have a black coat. Don’t want to look like Halloween. lol And I HAD to get the orange handbag. :]
I was really leaning towards the C Klein coat, (black buttons aside which actually don’t bother me) but guess what? They’re now sold out! I think it was a couple of people who read the post! Too funny, but it made the decision, not so much of a decision. haha
Lol – your comment about readers buying the Calvin Klein coat. I definitely considered buying it!!
I know it’s probably longer than you’re looking for but Cuyana makes one gorgeous trench: https://www.cuyana.com/classic-trench.html#wheat
Also, you can never go wrong with Barbour!
Thanks so much Katy. I so appreciate everyone’s help with my wardrobe. lol
Oh my dear, if you have foot pain you must try this stretch. It’s so simple and has changed my life. http://angryorthopod.com/tag/calf-stretching/
I know you’re busy but start doing it now. Read about it later.
Oh, thank you so much! The page is still loading! But… this is along those lines. I’m a dancer as some know, but haven’t been dancing nearly as much as I’d like. Recently, only a couple of times, the last two months.
However, in recent weeks, I’ve been pointing my feet a lot. Every time I think of it. Several times a day. And ya know what? When I went shopping the other day, I was on my feet for well over two hours and nothing. No pain. Tired feet, but no pain. What a blessing. Good God! That page is STILL loading! But I will definitely read it. Thanks so much!
Check out Zappo’s. There is one Diane Von Furstenburg that seems to fit your search (only one size left, large), and there is a Ralph Lauren that has leather trim that I think adds a nice uniqueness. Also, black is always classic and stays cleaner than beige. Black can be both dressy and casual giving you the option to wear it all the time. Have fun, and remember to look in both directions when you cross the streets.
I have a friend who travels to England annually and says that I MUST get black. Actually, I prefer the Via Spiga in black– definitely!
Trench coat, what better place to buy one then in old foggy London town? I’d wait until I got there to buy a coat, especially an iconic trench coat. I always loved shopping in Europe, so much fun. What has Princess Kate been wearing? I’d go for a classic Burberry or an all weather Barbour these waxed jackets are true workhouses and are handed down for generations. I love mine.
That’s a great idea but since I haven’t been before, and am going with a group, that might not be possible. Besides, I have to wear something over there.
I’d buy both the CK and VS, and anything else you think of in the next few days, try them all on at home to decide, and then return the rest. You want to make sure the coat fits well and is comfortable, and you can also try it on with the tops/sweaters you’re packing.
For lots of walking, especially when it’s wet/damp/rainy, look at the Ariat H2o line, like the Ariat Wexford. I also find Merrell shoes/boots very comfortable and great for travel. I have my eye on the Chateau Mid Pull, https://www.merrell.com/US/en/chateau-mid-pull-waterproof/29561W.html?dwvar_29561W_color=J45548#cgid=women-footwear-boots&start=1
Have a wonderful time, Laurel. Can’t wait to read all about your trip!
Thanks so much for the great advice. I will look into the shoes/boots.
I love Vionic for the comfiest walking shoes that are also “cute” and fashionable. They have a large variety of styles from sandals to Mary Janes to booties and boots.
Thanks Mollie. I need to look into them.
Love both the coats, however the Via Spiga’s collar, lapels, buttons and belt look better than the Calvin, imo. Good luck and you will look fabulous in either one. London Calling!!!!
Thanks so much Deb!
Don’t forget waterproof shoes/boots. Really important for England. Have a fun trip. Dee
Laurel, I have the exact Calvin Klein coat in red!! I love it & it’s very versatile. I urge you to buy at the great sale price!!!!
Good luck & have a great trip!
Thanks so much Cookie!
I cannot thank you adequately for doing this bit of shopping for me. I have had short trench on my in my wardrobe sights for soooo long. Just ordered the CK in khaki at a fabulous price. I agree the buttons may need to be swapped, but the belt keeper really sold me. Here is a tip I intend to follow once the coat arrives: Revivex Wash In Water Repellant (you can get it on Amazon) goes in the washer on a short soak then hang to dry and finally heat set in the dryer. The coat is machine washable, so should work like a charm. My camping background pays off in spades when it comes to cleaning, sealing, repairing and proofing (from insects, water, what have you) all types of things. Mother of an Eagle Scout. Proud mother.
That’s terrific! And thanks for the info about Revivex Wash.
I lived in Eng for 4 yrs, layers are essential, umbrellas can turn inside out w the wind & r cumbersome,u want your hands free!
Even not carrying a purse, just what u need in your coat. Small brush, passport, travellers checks & 1 lipstick.
I like the black because it won’t show dirt like white will, & hood is also the best.
It can already be cold there or you may have a day when the sun does actually show itself, so layers are mandatory.
England is not what it used to be, so be aware of your surroundings, stay safe!
Thanks for the great advice Cindy! I will be with a group of 23 architects and designers who are going on a classical architecture tour. I will definitely be bringing tissues. I’m already crying… (the good kind)
I am sure National Gallery will be on the tour around Trafalgar Square, it is a must. I have hit almost every major art museum in Europe and so glad I did! I am a big fan of Rembrandt,Monet, Renoir, just to name a few. Enjoy!
It’s a tour of classical architecture and our days are pretty packed. I don’t think that we’re hitting any museums. I’ll have to check the itinerary. Quite frankly, I would be plotzing myself if I could see the Royal Ballet. I LOOOOOOOVE THEM!!! But we are going to be traveling a lot through the country-side as well.
Knee jerk choice was the VS due to its colour and more tailored cut however do not care for the wide lapel and being a ‘trench coat’ for rainy/stormy weather the unpractical wider hood which have a tendency to never stay up. So by process of style elimination; my choice like yourself would be the CK unless of course you have broad shoulders or really big hair … winks! All said though, I think you will look great in either. (Is the first photo a Burberry Trench?) Wishing you a safe and enjoyable trip.
P.S.: IF you really wanted to fit into the British fashion scene, a Barbour (waxed) Jacket though very casual in style would be your choice as they are the Royal’s favourite. (I believe (ex First Lady) Michelle Obama also owns one.) Pricey yes, but apparently they are worth every penny.
Thanks Brenda. I’ll need to check out the Barbour jacket.
The Via Spiga gets my vote. The buttons look better, the CK is too busy,I would buy the black, because I am a dirt magnet.
The lighter trenches would look a mess after one trip!
Thank you Karen.
I think I have that same J Crew trench, Katie! I love that coat and always get compliments. Wish they would bring it back. Did you try Everlane, Laurel? Not sure whether they have one, but if they did it would probably be a good one. They have cute loafer flats that you might want to check out!
I’ll have to look into Everlane. Thanks!
I’d buy something a little more technical – waterproof with sealed seams. Although these look pretty, I’d want something more practical. How about the REI La Selva Jacket or Columbia Pardon My Trench or a Helly Hansen trench. Perhaps Everlane.
Thank you Christina.
I’m so excited for you and your trip. I leave for England in 13 days. I’m sure we’ll both have a fabulous time. safe travels
Thanks so much Don and the same to you!
Thank you for sharing your wonderful blog. I enjoy reading it every chance I get. I really love helping friends shop. Both coats look very nice but taking a closer look, the VS trench does have nice clean details such as the larger lapels and crisp collar. Also, it seems the belt loops hold the belt closer round the front which might be more convenient.
I vote for the Calvin Klein. I can see it setting off bold or pastel sweaters, bright scarves, your jeans or black pants. They’re both nice choices, so you’ll look fantastic on your trip with whichever one you choose.
One more thing, if you’re going to be in dark British interiors or out in clouds or rain, I think the lighter trench will pop more in photos.
Have a wonderful trip!
Thanks so much Leslie. They’re both beautiful!
they’re both handsome, but i can tell i’m flying solo re. the VS buttons. i agree that the CK buttons may be too dark, but i can’t stand that kind of mottled-y plastic button the VS has. are they supposed to look like tortoise shell? they don’t, and never have. so tired of the ‘eddie bauer’ button!
i know–pick-y, pick-y, lol!
Well… the buttons can always be changed. One could make the case that the contrasting buttons make a striking design motif on the CK.
Listen, to what we’re yakking about. Talk about your first world “problems.” Too funny!
Laurel, you’ll look like a US tourist. Do what the smart UK women do and shop at boden http://www.bodenusa.com/en-us/womens-coats-jackets#nav
lol. I will? To my way of thinking, A US tourist wears a sweatshirt with the University of blah blah on it. I do not own any sweats of any kind. :] I did look at the clothing at Boden. Some nice things but I can’t wear the real bright colors.
Via Spiga gets my vote, but I like Calvin also. When I lived in London I was the only one in my office with a Burberry! Imagine. Have a ball, you deserve a lovely holiday. I will follow the fun on Insta.
I like the second one (Spiga) better because of the back waistband. I like the buttons not the plain placket. The Spiga also looks more thinning. Have you looked at the “Banana Republic x Olivia Palermo | Asymmetrical Trench Coat” in golden beige. Not your typical trench. Different but timeless. Might order it myself. I love the classic look of the trench but like when they change it up a bit. They have a 25 percent off if you give your e-mail on full price orders.
I did look at BR. Actually, 90% of my clothes come from there. I generally prefer shopping at stores where I can see everything in one or two gulps. :]
I would buy both and return one. I prefer the Via Spiga for the following reasons:
-nicer buttons on the front
-cute buttons on the back that will accentuate your waist
-nice pleating on the derriere to flatter you figure
-the slightly darker color will be lower maintenance.
It’s hard to tell which one has the nicer fabric. Are they both nylon, or is one polyester? Polyesters repels water better because it is hydrophobic, but nylon is generally more durable and repels water with a good coating.
Thank you Jane. I think that they are poly or poly blend.
You ALWAYS look fabulous Darling!!!…. I’m back and can’t wait to connect at some point…. but, I know what you mean… I’d rather have ice picks shoved in my eyes rather than go shopping for clothes….. shoes however….. mmmmmmmm… shoes….. SHOES!!!…. did I say shoes?!?!….
Oh, I’m so glad that you’re back! Too funny! xoxo
You can’t go wrong with either trench! I was in London last year and when packing think layers. The temperature fluctuates so much. And throw in a a pretty scarf or two into your suitcase. It’s a perfect way to dress up an outfit and doesn’t take up much space. Have a great trip!
Thanks so much Wren. Will do.
You mentioned shoes…ARCHE makes THE MOST COMFORTABLE ballet flat EVER!!! The toe is not too rounded and not too pointy – they are the most flattering flat! There is just enough “lift” inside that your heels, legs and back stay happy all day. They are made of all natural materials (leather, nubuck, etc) so your feet don’t sweat. I had ankle surgery this year and am always on the look out for great looking shoes that are super comfortable! Bought them in navy and black in NYC this past weekend! A little expensive but totally worth it!!
also – go up a size for the Arche flats. I normally wear a size 8.5 (39) and I purchased both pr. in size 40. very happy!
oh, good to know. I also have a wide foot.
I need to look into that. Although, I have noticed recently, that my feet have “calmed down.” Don’t ask. Pain doesn’t begin to describe it. But today, I was walking around for well over two hours and no problem at all.
Get them both. Kinda wad them up, maybe overnight, shake them out and see which one looks the best. Have a lovely time!!!
Good idea Nancy!
BRILLIANT. I shall remember that!!
I have a lighter trench from J Crew with jewel sleeves. I wish I had a darker one. Honestly I love the khaki and the black. Those two trenches are in my wardrobe goals this year. I have a loose light gray trench that suffices for a light trench and I feel like the light gray is a more versatile piece than the light tan. Both cuts are very flattering. I just think the med khaki or black gets more wear.
The reality here in NY is that it’s either hot, mild or FREEEEEEEZZZZING! The times when one needs a light jacket/coat are about 50 days out of year–tops. But thanks for your thoughts. This should be my worst problem. lol
I like the Calvin Klein for you…the lighter color is probably more flattering to your skin color, more buttons and their closer spacing create a flattering/slimming line and the lighter color will make you more visible when wearing this coat at night. They are both classic..I just prefer CK.
That is a very good point that I thought of too. I am verrrrry fair.
The Via Spiga gets my vote! Love the khaki color and the buttons are really nicer.
The CK might show every single mark and the buttons are a tad too dark for the light color coat. You’ll look fab in either though. You made the right call choosing a coat with a hood. That’s essential in Britain. When it’s too windy for your brolly, you will appreciate your hood.
P.s. I hate shopping too for all the same reasons and I love shopping online for all the same reasons …including obsessing;)
Remember to take one or two nice scarves too. They’re handy in that unpredictable British weather.
Have a fantastic, wonderful trip Laurel !!!
Yes, scarves! Thanks so much!
I am voting for the Via Spiga. I will say that for travel you need lots of scarves to change up your look. You can wear one under the coat for extra warmth and not bulk. Be sure to pack your brolly. 🌂And a hat.
LOVE your blog.
Thanks so much Beverly!
Go with the darker khaki one for 2 reasons. 1) better color going into fall, and, 2) better for hiding stains.
Good points! Thanks Susan.
I agree Completely! Travel always involves inadvertent stains and nothing looks worse than a piece of clothing you wear daily that looks grungy. I vote for the dark trench. Black is always chic and you won’t be worrying about stains and smudges you can’t do anything About! As others have said, pack some colorful scarves for that pop of color! I lived in Europe for 18 years and never regretted my black travel wardrobe.
I like the Via Spiga! Nice color, fewer buttons. I think it looks just a tad more dressy making it sharp for wearing with a dress, jeans or anything. Traveling can make one feel less presentable and you can hide it with a nice jacket!
Thank you Shannon!
I have the Calvin,and it is adorable on and I get many compliments when I wear it. Dress it up or down…. The Via….yawn… looks like a typical London Fog to me…. but if that is what you want..go for that one. The Calvin is definitely a more feminine silhouette than the Via. Plus sit down a few times in that Via…. notice the extra welting…. those will open up and look messy from the back side…plus add inches to your derriere. Get the Calvin you will not be sorry. Have a fun time and a safe trip!
Thanks so much! This is such a difficult decision! lol
Laurel you asked about the sizing. Runs true to size. Hope that helps, plus I think the CK looks more stylish and youthful. One reader said you will pop in photos taken ,and you will! Dress it up or down…any color will go with it! Put a leopard scarf with it…black leggings and a black turtleneck…. done ! Enjoy !
Thanks so much Donna!
I like the color and the lines of the Via Spaga.
Have a great trip!
Thank you Rose!
I suggest getting a waterproof or water resistant coat.
Absolutely. That’s why I’d prefer a hood and of course, I’ll have an umbrella with me too. I just thought of another reason to get the light coat. And that’s so that I don’t do some crazy A thing like decide to take a nap in Ben Pentreath’s garden! haha!
Your blog and products have been so helpful to me, I am pleased to have an opportunity to return the favor. Just today I received J.Crew’s Icon Trench. Right now it is not on sale but maybe your time frame will work if they advertise a sale this weekend or something. Anyway, it has excellent traditional styling and is made of cotton. It has a silky polyester interior lining with a bit of a contrast detail around the interior edges- something that people who appreciate a good lined curtain will like! 😉 I will note that it is a bit heavy, like a good curtain, and that the lining is therefore also warming. But as far as cut, styling and color goes it is a classic. For travel you may want something lighter (even unlined) but I guess that depends on your preference, the weather, and how much space you want in your luggage for souvenirs! Also, mine was delivered on a hanger in plastic and tissue paper but there are some wrinkles. Personally I would let the rain iron them out but my mother, for example, would iron it first thing upon arrival in her hotel room. Anyway, just something to consider! Safe travels! I hope you have a wonderful adventure!
Hi Laurel Leaves – ;]
Thank you so much!
I just took a gander at it. It is everything you say it is. For traveling, I’d like a shorter coat and yes, lighter that I can layer underneath.
P.S. Via Spiga gets my vote.
P.P.S. When I travel I pack an unlined Cole Haan raincoat. But for looking chic in my home city, I’ll be wearing my new khaki trench.
Go with the Via Spiga coat. The buttons look better, I feel like the Calvin Klein coat has too many buttons on the front. Also the VS is a little darker in color and will hopefully hide accidents. I am just thinking that I sometimes make a mess of an outfit before I even leave the house.
Yes, me too. Total klutz here! lol
I hate shopping too. I do most of mine online. I am usually ordering from Nordies, but sometimes Neimans Last call. I like the Spiga. Not crazy about the “backpack” look of the Calvin. The black will show less dirt.Just my opinion. Have a great time in England!
Thanks. That’s true about the black looking less dirty, but somehow, I feel I want a lighter coat.
I do most of my shopping online too. For all of the reasons stated and probably a few others as well. It’s just so much easier!
Oh my gosh! Clothes are so much easier for me than interiors. Have you tried Jcrew, Brooks Bros., or Ralph Lauren? I liked the Via Spiga because of the khaki color. I say with a trench go traditional.
Have a good trip!
I did go into J Crew and they were phenomenally nice in there as well. But they didn’t have anything for me. I took a gander in Brooks and walked out. I went to Tory Burch, too. Gorgeous store!
Well, what do I know . . . but I prefer the Via Spiga. The other one is busy-looking with eleven buttons showing on the lighter- colored fabric. The Via Spiga only has 5-6 buttons showing and the color is richer, IMHO. If you want more of an A-line, you can always tighten the belt! It might come down to how they actually look on you so . . . why don’t you order them both so you can compare them? It’s a hassle to have to send one back but then you’ll have the peace of mind that you chose the right one!!
No, apparently, it’s what do *I* know? See… apparently, I can’t decorate for myself OR dress myself! My mom was forever changing the buttons on clothes. I agree with you on that and would also prefer them to be lighter.
Try Nautica-the Calvin Klein is great. Also North Face makes a nice lighter ivory trench.
Thanks Kate. Great ideas!
The Via Spiga one gets my vote! I Loooove to shop! Or is that Liiiiiive to shop? 🙂
lol Thank you Erin! And that’s two for VS since I got a text message also voting for it.