The air smells like essence of damp leaf, the next season of Grey’s Anatomy is premiering in a few short days, and my deodorant is magically working again. You know what that means?? It’s fall, baby! As a resolute “summer girl,” I can’t exactly say I’m thrilled about this development, but I am thrilled about the excuse it offers to jump down a new and seasonally relevant shopping rabbit hole.
The perfect warm and sleek ankle-length coat that’s roomy enough for winter layering, Ideally one made of a warm material (like wool) and priced under $200.
The Origin Story
The good news is I’ve actually already found the perfect warm and sleek ankle-length coat, but the bad news is that it’s from The Row and costs a cool $7,590, which is … not even remotely in my budget. This coat — which I saw for the first time when images of The Row’s fall-winter 2022 collection were released online — is essentially the raison d’être behind this rabbit hole.
It opened my eyes to the fact that ankle-length is a superlative length for a winter coat — with the power to transform it from functional outerwear into distinctive expression of personal style. Isn’t it crazy what the right proportions can do? I always appreciate that reminder. The right proportions are often the crux of what makes an outfit or a garment really sing, so identifying them helps narrow down a shopping search by a significant margin.
- A length between 50” and 55”
The measurement from the base of my neck to the bone of my ankle is 52” (for reference my total height is 64.5”), so I tried to target a length range between 50” and 55” in my search with the idea that if the coat is too long I can always hem it. I would recommend taking the same measurement on yourself and adjusting that range accordingly.
For any finds I include below, I will note down the length in inches whenever that information is available so that it can inform your purchasing decisions.
The Rabbit Hole
First step: Look for secondhand options.
I began my rabbit hole on the RealReal, combing through all 17 pages of “women’s long coats” currently listed on the site while listening to the latest episode of Poog as background entertainment and snacking on leftover carrot cake my sister made. (Podcasts and snacks are critical for sustaining a long rabbit hole, I’ve found).
I wasn’t sure about the collar on this one, but I love its dark-brown color and the 100 percent wool fabric content. If you love the collar, then I love it for you.
The buttons on this 54-inch coat were a bit too statement-y for me compared with the sleek and simple design that inspired this search, but I hope someone else falls in love with it because I do think it’s really unique, and the fabric content (part wool, part cashmere) is fab.
I love this 54-inch coat from Cinzia Rocca. The combo of 72 percent alpaca and 28 percent wool sounds perfect, but it’s not my size (someone who is typically an XXL, please scoop it up!).
I looked through the RealReal’s “men’s long coat” selection as well, and this vintage Yves Saint Laurent is the only thing that caught my eye. The site says the length is 28 inches, which is obviously a typo. My guess is they meant double that, so 56 inches? Again, I don’t think the fabric content looks warm enough based on what I’m after, but I hope it’s perfect for someone else who wants a lightweight trench in a statement color because the olive-green satin is really fun.
Second step: Expand keyword search.
I did a few searches via Google but everything I saw was either not the right look or too expensive, so I decided to stay in the secondhand/vintage lane so I decided to test out the keywords “ankle-length wool coat,” “floor-length wool coat,” and “extra-long wool coat” on Etsy with “vintage” attached to all of them.
The silhouette is perfect on this one. Fabric content looks too light for me, but I would absolutely buy this if I were looking for a lighter coat. I almost think I should get it anyway. Actively resisting.
This 49.5-inch-long coat reminds me of Nicole Kidman’s fantastic outerwear wardrobe in The Undoing. Nixed for me because I’m looking for something with a sleeker texture but still a great vintage option for someone who is into the faux-lambswool look.
The cut of this one is beautiful, and at $134, it’s a great price. I rejected it for myself because I wasn’t sure about the color of the buttons, but if you don’t mind that and you’re looking for a classic tailored black wool winter coat that is 51.2 inches long, this might be the one!
Part of the fun of a rabbit hole is sometimes you find things that might not be exactly what you’re looking for but are perfect for someone else. I sent the yellow quilted 58-inch robe coat to my hair stylist, Mischa, because it matches the color of her hair, which I knew she would appreciate.
This 46-inch coat is too short to be the one for me, but I’m including it because it’s made from Loro Piana wool, which is supposed to be incredibly soft and warm, and it has a great double-breasted silhouette. As long as you don’t mind the length, I love this for you.
This 46-inch coat (and this other 44-inch coat from Open Market Vintage) are a little shorter than the range I’m targeting, but I love their silhouettes, and I’m including them here because this vintage shop has a more inclusive size offering than most I was seeing on Etsy during this search. This one is beautiful and is a size 3X. If you’re thinking of buying it, I would message the seller to ask if they can provide any additional imagery.
Third step: Search for discounted designer options.
Next stop was Yoox. I have a love-hate relationship with Yoox because it’s a bit overwhelming to navigate and the discounts aren’t as good as they used to be, but it’s worth browsing when you have something specific in mind because the selection is truly vast, and if you look long and hard enough, there are gems to be found. Here’s what caught my eye after combing through 29 pages of women’s long coats:
I’m more of a non-belted-coat type of gal, but this lovely option is perfect for anybody who loves to accentuate their figure despite all the layers.
While out of my budget, this 54-inch one is really nice for anybody who has extra money to spend on a 70 percent wool coat.
After reviewing the fruits of my labor, I ended up buying this navy Louis Feraud coat from the RealReal. It won out over the others because of the fabric content (a delicious-sounding combo of angora and lambswool) and the color (navy). It was also reasonably priced relative to everything else I saw and liked ($187). Now I just need to find the perfect ginormous scarf to go with it that doesn’t cost more than a month’s rent … If you give a mouse a cookie, etc.
Since I snagged the only one, here are a few other secondhand favorites that are still available: