Ideal for Autumn | Belted Coats

To know me, is to know that once I have a fashion idea in my head I cannot let it go.  I’ll see something I like and then I’ll find a way to make it mine.  Thus it has been with my wardrobe for a decade, and when I spied Aimee Song in this coat I realised it wouldn’t be long before I too would be hunting down long leather coats. 

Next thing I knew, I was coveting the red Valencia trench from Kate Sylvester – a cool $799 (which I appreciate may seem cheap, but keep in mind it’s not leather).  I tried it on in David Jones, I sent my Mum photos of it (which is typically code for “please enable me”) and I even linked to it as the splurge item in the Mode and Methodology newsletter – but I never quite got to the place where I could pull the trigger and buy it. 


That has not stopped me from getting to a place where I have three coats inspired by Aimee and the Valencia trench (for a fraction of $799 I might add).  Now, three is arguably too many, but come on a journey of understanding with me. 

First up, when I was traversing the greater North Island last year, I happened across a trove of vintage treasures in the SaveMart in Whanganui.  In addition to my beloved Hullabaloo dress, I also picked up the coat I included in this blog post.  It’s red, it’s belted, and it’s a weird fake suede texture.  Can’t wait to wear it with boots and some kind of chiffon skirt situation.  (Also, note how I also referenced both the Valencia trench and Aimee Song in that blog post.  I am at least consistent).


Then I found this navy option at Ruby in the Boxing Day sales (it’s no longer available).  Obviously it’s a very wearable colour for me, a lover of blue from way back (and my god, do I ever wear a lot of blue and orange.  Yeesh).  I loved the contrast stitching on this coat, the shape of the collar and the double breasted style.  The only criticism I have of this coat is that it will leak dye onto light coloured items, and because the fabric runs onto the inside of the coat before the lining, that includes the things you wear under it.  Otherwise, it’s a delight and surprisingly warm with it.


Finally, I picked up a jade green vinyl coat at The Vintage Vault, in the closing up sale they were holding while I was conveniently just down the road at Omaha.  This little lady has seen some living, but her brass hardware and unique colour made her irresistible (and she’s in pretty good condition considering – I’m about 10 years younger than this coat and I’m definitely in rougher shape).  She has no belt, so she’s a bit of a departure from the style trend; however, I plan to wear this coat in basically the same way as the others so I’m lumping it in.


These coats are perfect for the slow slide into cooler weather, and now we’re past daylight savings I’m all excited for the chance to start wearing them regularly.  Talk to me again in June and I will laugh wryly at this attitude, I know, but these days where it’s warm enough in the day to go bare-legged, but cool enough in the evening to warrant a coat, are ideal for those of us who love fashion.  This style of belted coat, or a standard trench, is a great purchase because it never really goes out of style, it looks equally good over dresses and trousers, and it’s flattering yet utilitarian. 


While it’s still a bit warm in Wellington (I wore this earlier in the week and I did not need the coat), there will come a day in the near future where I wear this coat over a pair of 501s and my orange jumper from Tuesday, with sneakers.  Perfect for a day at the zoo or pootling around in the city.  I can totally see the green coat over my chunky black knit jumper and striped mini skirt, with a purple bag I got as a leaving gift from my first real job (keep everything forever, you guys). In both instances I’ll be warm as toast, and feel fabulous, and that’s my idea of a dream winter coat. 

For a few online options, check out these links:

Very crisp black check trench from Karen Walker

A pretty pink trench from Country Road in a more relaxed cut

Navy, double breasted…but only limited sizes left

Plain black and double breasted, the work horse of coats

The Valencia trench is now available in pale blue

A brand new David Lawrence trench coat for $75 (thanks TradeMe)

In other TradeMe finds, black with white piping

If you’re after vintage leather, try this