Awesome, Extremely Expensive Coats: The Luxury Edition

Teresa Crowninshield is a coat company that excels at luxurious, comfortable, well-fitting coats with a unique design. For this weekend’s upcoming Secret Style Saturday event, subscribers to their email list will get a discount on five new designs.  I thought I’d take the opportunity to tell you a little bit of why I’m so personally excited (and somewhat conflicted) about their coats.

Let’s start with the positives:

  • Their coats are entirely made out of high-quality natural fabrics. Teresa Crowninshield’s signature Azurean coat is lined with a silk thicker and heavier than that of most silk blouses.
  • There’s a coat for every body type: some coats I couldn’t have tailored to fit me better, and others look awful on me but would look fabulous on people with straighter figures.  While Teresa Crowninshield only sells up to a size 16 on their website, they’ve “gone well into the 20s” for clients who needed bigger coats.
  • Every design is both classically tailored and unique, usually with fun colorblocking.  Teresa Crowninshield coats are appropriate for any occasion where you really want to impress people.   They’re the kind of coat you choose to wear on stage with the President of the United States.

And now, the negatives:

  • None of her coats are entirely vegetarian, and many of her fabrics are sourced from China, including angora. China’s got a history of animal cruelty when it comes to angora farming, and Tess doesn’t do anything special to ensure her Chinese angora is cruelty-free.  (If you’re interested in avoiding Chinese angora but still want one of her coats, she still has some incredibly beautiful silk coats, and a few newer designs in silk-lined bamboo).
  • Teresa Crowninshield coats are priced like something you’d wear on stage with the President. Your first coat will generally cost between $375 and $695.

That’s a reasonable price, considering the materials (I ballparked the cost of the raw materials of her Azurean coat at $222.40)* and the labor (Teresa Crowninshield coats are USA-designed and USA-made on a small scale, and each Azurean takes the better part of a day to make).  That price also comes with perks– she gives you a lifetime 20% discount after you’ve bought your first coat (so subsequent coats will cost $300-$556).

That still doesn’t mean most people can afford that investment.  So if you’re interested in a sharp-looking coat that has a less inventive design and less luxurious materials but is cheaper and weatherproof, maybe check out Mia Melon’s Ultimate All-Weather Coat for $129-$139.

Tess (the owner) was kind enough to let me take a bunch of pictures of myself wearing her beautiful coats at a local craft fair to demonstrate how they fit.  Those are below the fold.

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Bust-Friendly Dress Shirts, Part 1: Front Room

A few weeks ago I rounded up the best silk blouses I could find through research– and now I’ve actually tried one of them!

Full disclaimer:  I got this blouse as a gift from the lovely owner of Front Room, Melanie Love.  She did not give this to me for review, although she was aware of the existence of this blog at the time that she gave it to me, and it being a gift from her does not affect the honesty of this review.

This bust-friendly shirt review comes first because apparently, Front Room is closing their web storefront for the summer starting mid-June!  They started a semi-annual sale for their mailing list subscribers on 5/15, and they’ll be extending it to the general public on 5/17.

Front Room, as far as I know, is unique among specifically bust-friendly clothing companies.  Everything they make is not just office-appropriate, but appropriate for a very formal office.  Melanie Love comes from a finance background, so she’s got experience standing uncomfortably next to men in $10,000 suits while “praying the double-sided tape on [her] shirt-front [was] going to hold until the end of the presentation.”  Her clothing is designed for that environment.

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Who Makes The Best Silk Blouses?

Good news if you like silk: if you can pay $29, you can afford a top made of reasonable-quality silk.

But that top won’t work for everyone!  Online reviews say Grana (the company that makes said $29 silk tanks) generally has a petite-friendly boxy fit, so if either of those don’t work for you, you’re likely out of luck.  Also, Grana’s silk is the most affordable decent-quality silk on the market, but not the best silk at any price point.

So whose silks are the best on the market (in terms of quality, fit, ethics, and affordability)?  Join me as I delve into esoteric topics that I might be the only one interested in!

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