A minor coat debacle (update: coat triumph)

It finally happened: I lost the receipt for something I bought before I made up my mind to keep it. And it's expensive. 

I bought this wool cocoon coat at Madewell a few weeks ago for $230. I've been looking for a roomy wool jacket or coat. Everyone who's seen it on me has loved it (boyfriend & shopping buddy) though the photos leave me less convinced.

I definitely need something in this vein, but I'm not sure this is the one. I love the look, but the thing is, this coat is warm, maybe too warm. It's incredibly thick wool melton. San Francisco is raw and chilly at night, colder than the temperature would make you think (40s or 50s). But even for nighttime, this coat is warmer than the wool coats I've worn here... and during the day (50s or 60s), it's definitely overkill. And it's heavy, so I can't fold it and pack it in my backpack like my lighter jackets. For context, I lived here for 8 years before I bought a wool coat of any sort. But once I had one, I was very happy to have it.

I thought this would be useful for Christmas travel but it's so warm on the East coast that I could get by with existing options.

Madewell doesn't have a way to look up my receipt, from my first inquiry, but I might be able to return it for credit or something. 

Alternately... I've been looking for a coat for a long time, so maybe I should just be happy that I found a really great one (but my dream was something jacket-length). The price is reasonable, all things considered, but I wasn't sure I wanted to spend money on something that might not see much use.


I kept the coat. It's been quite chilly this week, and I was very happy to wear it out to a bar last night. The walk home would have been pretty cold without it. Even the daytime was chilly enough that I was glad to have the coat today. Thanks for all your positive votes!

As it happens, Madewell does have some ability to look up transactions. I returned a shirt from the same purchase today with no problem. A few days ago a salesgirl said they couldn't look it up, but I was in a rush so I figured I'd wait until some time I had time to talk to them. Today I had more time and a more knowledgable salesgirl who explained that they'd switched to a new system this month so it was a roll of the dice as to whether something from a month ago would show up. So, the coat was returnable, but I'm very glad I kept it!

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • MTBGirl replied 8 years ago

    I do like it on you. I definitely drooled over the wine color one that Angie showed in Janet's post. It sounds like you won't get to wear it that often. You said you think it's great... do you love it? 

  • Greyscale replied 8 years ago

    I think I do love it, leaving aside any cost questions.

    Oh, the other thing is the size - I tried one size down and this one is much better (other was tight in the arms, which is exactly why I need a new coat to begin with). But the sleeves are certainly too long. I don't mind that for winter (keeps my hands warm!) but I think it would be possible to get them shortened.

  • shedev replied 8 years ago

    I think the coat looks pretty good on you.

  • JAileen replied 8 years ago

    Being forced to keep something in this way is certainly annoying. But I think the fit is good except for the sleeve length, which isn't a big deal to have altered, assuming there aren't any zippers, etc. to complicate things. It also seems like your style. So maybe losing the receipt is a non issue.

    ETA: we used to wear wool coats in summer when we to SF at night. It was often cold and windy. It seems like there would be lots of occasions to wear this coat there.

  • Firecracker (Sharan) replied 8 years ago

    It looks great on you and suits your style beautifully. Can the sleeves be turned back? They do look uncomplicated for a tailor to hem.
    I can understand your point about a heavy coat in SF; I didn't even have a current wool coat when I lived in the Bay Area. Granted, I was south of SF on the peninsula, where it was warmer.
    Unless you think you might have actually tossed out the receipt, I bet it will turn up.

  • Cerinda replied 8 years ago

    It does look great on you, and no big deal for a tailor to hem the sleeves.  And if it's really that warm, then you'd be able wear something light and fine underneath.

  • Greyscale replied 8 years ago

    The sleeves do have zippers but I'm imagining some way to chop off the last few inches and replace the little stops on the ends of the zipper. I can also fold them up inside the sleeve.

    I must have thrown the receipt away, though. I returned an online purchase the day I bought it - I wonder if I didn't notice the new receipt stapled to the big online invoice and just threw it all away. I can't find it anywhere, and the return window ends next week (when I'm away, so this week is it).

  • retailgirl replied 8 years ago

    It looks great on you. If you think you might make any use of it, keep it. I had a light pink trench from Ralph Lauren that missed the return window. I kept it, I've worn it for three or four years and I always get compliments on it. I also had a quilted jacket from Brooks brothers that missed the return window, and now it's one of my favorite wardrobe items. So maybe it's meant to be. A good tailor could take care of the sleeve length.

  • Elle replied 8 years ago

    It really looks good on you, the size is perfect, and you love it. So those are reasons to keep.  But if you really think it is too heavy and want to return it and you charged it, you might be able to use your credit card record of the charge (you can print it out from online) to return it at the store.  

  • crazyone replied 8 years ago

    Yeah, a too warm coat is no good. It does look good on you though!

  • Greyscale replied 8 years ago

    Well, I kept the coat. It was a classic SF night, around 50 but felt much colder with wind and fog, and I was heading to a bar with a friend. My jean jacket wasn't cutting it, so I cut the tags on the coat. It was perfect.

    My friend said, unprompted, "I like that coat! I haven't seen it before." So I guess that's another yes vote!

    Thanks for all your wise words. I'm glad this didn't turn into a sad thing where I was stuck with something expensive that people hated.

  • replied 8 years ago

    Shame about the receipt being lost and all that, but it seems like it was all meant to be Greyscale, :). I love how you look in the coat, it looks like it'll fit in with your style beautifully!

  • Style Fan replied 8 years ago

    I love the coat on you.  Perfect for your style. 

  • approprio replied 8 years ago

    Did you buy it on a card? I've managed to return goods in the past using a screenshot of the transaction from my own records. 

    It looks very nice and it totally suits you. Question is, if it's really that warm will it see much action? I'd decide based on whether the climate justifies it.

  • jenanded replied 8 years ago

    It looks nice on....

  • Janet replied 8 years ago

    I may be a bit biased since I have the same coat, but I like it on you. The sleeves do seem a little long, but I'd rather coat sleeves be on the long side than short -- short just drives me nuts! Besides, once you add gloves, you can't even tell. ;-)

    I am a little disappointed it's been so warm here so far this winter. I've only had two brief opportunities to wear this coat, but the loose fit is really nice for layering over bulkier or longer tops, jackets, or vests. In fact, I haven't had to zip the coat up either time I've worn it, but it has a nice line when left open. In fact, I've gotten compliments from strangers on it both times I've worn it. So I think you'll end up being glad you're keeping it!

  • Angie replied 8 years ago

    Are you wearing the right layers underneath? It has great potential!
    I'd have liked to see a size down. The sleeves are too long - but that's fixable. 

  • Greyscale replied 8 years ago

    Angie, a size down was tight in the arms, and since my main goal was something I could wear over sweaters, this was the best option. I'll talk to my tailor about the sleeves after I get back from vacation, because shortening them will help the overall look quite a bit.

    Janet, I haven't been reading YLF much recently, so I missed that you got this coat. Isn't it fantastic? Just browsed back and found your post, and it looks great on you.

  • Firecracker (Sharan) replied 8 years ago

    So glad to hear your update! I was thinking after I responded that any point-of-sale systems I've worked with have included the ability to look up a past transaction--as long as the transaction had the customer's name attached and we also knew the date of the purchase. I was thinking maybe one of those elements was missing in this case, perhaps.
    Anyway, it's good that the weather gave your coat a chance to prove its worth to you!

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