Originally Posted by Plait
I need a new winter jacket and I am close to getting the heritage wool pea coat from ll bean:
I like that the outer fabric is 100% wool and the inside has some Thinsulate Insulation. This should keep me warm in the cold New England/ Mass winters. I know $200 is a little pricey but I guess I'm paying for the ll bean guarantee. Do you think this is a good choice?
I don't know much about the LL Bean pea coats, but I am familiar with other outerwear the company sells--high quality serviceable items that are generally warm and comfortable to wear. But here we have to realize it is a merchandising company that is highly influenced by fashion. The company markets its pea coats as soft Italian wool. The weight of the wool is only 18 oz. while all of the vintage pea coats are 32 oz. I believe the current issue, since 1980, are a little lighter than that--maybe 28 oz.? So that might indicate the shell isn't as windproof as you might like. I don't think you would have to worry too much about whether the outer shell is waterproof as you will be more concerned about snow than rain. It will do fine in that situation. Bean has added a thinsulate liner to give it some warmth. The sizing is "relaxed" to allow layering under the coat, which you will need way up there in the frozen northland. The best part about the coat is that it is available for you to try on and to get the fit you want. You can also judge the weight while you are there; it should feel heavy.
As to fit in the vintage models, it depends on whether you want a slim look or room to layer a sweater under the coat. With a 38.5 chest, I would say a size 36 would give you a slim look and may even allow a sweater to be worn underneath. A size 38 would definitely allow for a sweater, but might not look so trim. Most of the posters on this forum go for the trim look. As an example, my chest is 42". A size 40 peacoat is a trim fit, but it is too tight for me to comfortably wear a sweater. A size 42 allows room for a sweater and still gives me a good fit without one. But keep in mind that I like for my outerwear to be a little larger than many people prefer. Most of the posters on this forum would say that a sweater under the size 40 fits just fine. So, it is all subjective.
Another thing to keep in mind is the tighter the fit, the less need for a sweater. A sweater takes up the space between the body and the inside of the coat. This reduces the amount of cold air transfer and allows the body to heat that space and keep the heat in with a sweater. If the peacoat fits close to the body, there is less air moving around that area, and the need for layering is reduced. In your area, I would think a sweater would be needed frequently.
If you haven't done so, read my article that is linked in my signature line below. That will explain the differences in the vintage and current issue models, and will give information on dating the vintage coats. It will also give you some information on pit to pit measurements and what to look for.
If you have other questions, let us know. Good luck.