Soft Jackets For Fall - une femme d'un certain âge

Retail Reconnaissance: Soft Jackets For Fall

Blue velvet jacket from Beltaine. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Retail Reconnaissance

Our local mall has been undergoing a major renovation/upgrade. Most of the retailers there had vacated for the last couple of years during construction, and are beginning to return in stages, along with several new ones. I took some time last week to go explore, and was impressed with the space and some of the stores going in. But I also realized just how little in-store shopping I’ve done since the construction began. Most of the concentrated retail areas within a few miles of us are a headache to get to (traffic/parking). And the few that are closer/easier don’t seem to have a lot of variety or options.

Online shopping is convenient, and often provides a better selection of sizes and colors, but for pure research value, it’s good to get out there in person. It’s often how I discover new brands, or find something fabulous that would never have caught my eye online.

I’ve seen quite a few iterations of soft jackets in the fall merchandise that’s starting to hit the racks. The blue velvet jacket above had just arrived in the store the day before I spotted it on the mannequin. It’s from a new-to-me brand, Beltaine. This was an absolute coup de foudre, and it came home with me. Look for an outfit post soon.

Camel sweater jacket from J.Crew. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

This sweater jacket from J.Crew is another piece that looks much better in person than online. It’s a lightweight merino wool, perfect for transitional season weather. Also available in Charcoal.

detail: Eileen Fisher boiled wool jersey jacket. Details at une femme d'un certain age

Here’s another easy fall jacket. Don’t be frightened off when you see “boiled wool” in the description. It’s actually pretty lightweight and drapey, not stiff at all. The dark green is a nice alternative to black. Also available in a mustard yellow and black. (Plus HERE. Petites HERE)

Detail: Marc Fisher metallic chelsea boots. More at une femme d'un certain age

No, not a jacket but just had to show you these boots. I saw them on the shelf but didn’t have time to try them on. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about them, and will be going back to see how they fit.

Do you prefer to shop in person or online? What types of pieces will you be looking for this fall?

More Soft Jackets


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  1. Ann Marie
    August 22, 2017 / 3:53 am

    I usually do my reconnaissance online and then purchase in the store (unless we are talking about something other than clothes that is too big and bulky to carry home, like a 40 lb box of cat litter). There are a few reasons why I ultimately buy in the store. First, sometimes things look better online than in real life. Second is sizing. Often I will think I am a certain size and then when I try it on at the store, it turns out I am a different size. Third, I want to support my local businesses. Shopping online put stores out of business, which means people lose their jobs and store fronts remain empty, negatively affecting our communities. That is one of the reasons why so many malls are going out of business, for example. The other day my co-worker lamented the loss of all the quirky small stores in his NYC neighborhood yet he does ALL his shopping online, including food. I reminded him that it is because of this (and rising rents) that these businesses disappeared.

    • Liza Elliott
      August 22, 2017 / 7:08 am

      Amen. I like to look on line first and then go to the actual store to try on and check out the fit, fabric and color. All these delivery trucks aren’t helping the environment any more than us driving to the store. Unfortunately, with all the online shopping, stores are not carrying as much variety as their catalogues.

      • Susan B
        August 22, 2017 / 7:15 am

        It’s also challenging to shop in stores when you’re considered a “special size” (Petite, Tall or Plus). I can sometimes wear “regular” sizes (often need them altered) but if I need something in a Petite, I have to go online. It’s frustrating!

        • Susan Gardner
          August 22, 2017 / 3:14 pm

          Exactly. I’m 6′ 1½”, and refuse to traipse all over the mails already knowing virtually all I’ll find will not fit me properly. Online shopping is a godsend to me.

        • Kristin
          August 22, 2017 / 8:55 pm

          Yup to the petite-online-only problem. Unfortunately that keeps me in a rut as I gravitate to stores I know and can easily return to. The environmental impact is bad (but what I want is not act) but because of the rut problem I’m not putting local stores out of business – just moving my chain store shopping online from the brick and mortar location

  2. Shawn Brown
    August 22, 2017 / 7:39 am

    Adore the blue jacket! Considering where it hits on the 5’10” model, will you be getting it tailored to fit your petite self?

    • Susan B
      August 22, 2017 / 7:50 am

      Thanks Shawn! The sleeves shortened, yes, but otherwise I like the longer length.

  3. Becky
    August 22, 2017 / 7:49 am

    I just purchased a gorgeous aubergine silk velvet jacket from Emerson Fry (responsibly made in NYC) and look forward to the arrival of cooler temperatures so I can wear it. Here in NH, shopping malls are stocked pretty sparsely compared to more metropolitan areas. Very little of what is online is actually available here to try on and purchase in person. I also enjoy supporting smaller independent designers, so I do almost all of my shopping online.

  4. August 22, 2017 / 7:59 am

    I really enjoy and appreciate that you are providing shopping choices outside of Nordstrom!

  5. Cathy D.
    August 22, 2017 / 8:27 am

    I’m a petite (5’2″) and therefore do most of my clothes shopping online. Few stores seem to carry petite sizes anymore, and the ones that do have a very limited selection. Two years ago I spent nearly an hour trying to find petite coats at Bloomingdale’s (at the headquarters store here in NYC), only to finally be told they no longer carry petite coats. So sad, but shopping online is the only alternative.

    • Susan B
      August 22, 2017 / 9:29 am

      That’s been my experience as well. 🙁 Stores are shrinking or eliminating their Petites sections.

  6. August 22, 2017 / 9:47 am

    That J.Crew sweater/jacket also comes in a slightly more fitted style with front pockets and three buttons. I tried them both on last weekend and like them both…couldn’t decide so didn’t end up buying either one. But very useful items indeed!

    • Susan B
      August 22, 2017 / 10:31 am

      Thanks! Didn’t seen the buttoned version in the store, but did include in the widget below in case anyone’s interested. 🙂 And here’s a link:

      • Kristi
        August 23, 2017 / 6:34 am

        I ordered the J Crew “unbuttoned” version in charcoal – had the 3 button version last year and ultimately, returned it – lovely merino, very comfortable, and sizing was a bit off. So, we shall see.

        Thanks, as always, for your blog – my favourite!

        • August 23, 2017 / 8:34 am

          I admired that sweater/jacket in J. Crew last week (also beginning to do some fall reconaissance, in brick-and-mortar shops), but I’m leery of their merino after having had one too many sweaters pill horridly. Anyone else find that has been a problem and perhaps able to report that it’s been addressed? I often like the look of their sweaters but, you know, Fool me Once. . . .

          • Susan B
            August 23, 2017 / 9:08 am

            I’ll let you know. 😉

        • Kristi
          August 31, 2017 / 6:40 am

          Update – ordered the jacket and tried it on last night when totally tired out from work – didn’t like it – will give it another chance this weekend – and then back it goes, I suspect. I am tall and it should work on me but alas,….

      • September 13, 2017 / 12:28 am

        The buttoned version has just been released in a dark burgundy colour, looks lovely

  7. Linda
    August 22, 2017 / 10:34 am

    I like the blue velvet, but at 5’1″ I am afraid the underarm seam would fall closer to my waist than armpit, the shoulder seam would fall several inches down my upper arm, pockets at mid-thigh… Garments like these make me look like a (very old) little girl dressed up in Mommy’s clothes, and I’m not willing to pay the cost of the garment over again for a complete remake. As someone above mentioned, clothing for petites is becoming more and more scarce. I don’t understand it, because I see many women my size out in the world. I apologize for my negative response, but it’s a real problem for us.

    • Susan B
      August 22, 2017 / 10:47 am

      Hi Linda, I’m 5’1″ too and didn’t find the jacket to be too oversized, though that is often a problem with many “regular” sized garments. I’ll be showing it on the blog soon.

      • Linda
        August 22, 2017 / 4:26 pm

        Oh, I look forward to seeing on you, Susan!

  8. Briar Gregory
    August 22, 2017 / 11:40 am

    I’ve been wearing a boiled wool jacket in charcoal this New Zealand autumn and winter and I love it. So versatile for styling in different ways and really warm.

  9. Jill Ann
    August 22, 2017 / 8:12 pm

    I’m lucky to be fairly “average” sized…5′ 7″ and usually a size 10 (in other words, 8, 10, or 12). So I can buy most things off the rack. As such, I prefer to buy in person. It’s so important to be able to try things on, because sizes are so inconsistent. My daughter, though, is 6 feet tall, and she has to buy certain things online, since stores never carry “talls”. Wish women’s stores carried more sizes, like men’s do.

    • Jill Ann
      August 22, 2017 / 8:15 pm

      Btw loved the blue velvet jacket…just got blue velvet loafers from the Nordie’s sale. Don’t need a jacket too, but am tempted!

  10. Lydia Jones
    August 24, 2017 / 6:22 am

    I’m interested in the silver boots. If you do make the purchase, how will you integrate them into your wardrobe? I love a touch of metallic and short boots. Have not ventured into wearing short boots other than with slacks. I stand 5’4″ by the way. Thank you!

    • Susan B
      August 24, 2017 / 6:31 am

      Hi Lydia, I have them on order; they were out of my size in the store. If you do order them, I’d caution that they run 1/2 size large. I’d wear as I do any other ankle boots: with jeans, skinny or cropped pants. Maybe even a skirt once it’s cool enough for tights.

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