I first mentioned this coat in my Black Friday shopping post here. When J.Crew first came out with their Chateau Parka coat in Italian stadium-cloth wool, I fell in love with it. The idea of a medium length and clean A-line cut anytime coat with an easily hidden zip closure, a high neck, and multiple pockets is perfect!
I went to the store a couple times to try the Chateau Parka on but there were not any Petite sizes in store and the regular size was a tad too long for my arms. I was tempted to order online but it kept being sold out in the colors I wanted (tan and gray). Then J.Crew Factory (the more affordable outlet of J.Crew) came out with the Vail Parka coat.
Except for some visual differences such as the lack of side zip pockets, the Vail Parka has a striking resemblance to the Chateau Parka. The price of the factory version Vail Parka is also much better at $268 while the Chateau Parka is retailed at $365. Since J.Crew Factory frequently have promotions, I got mine for under $130.
Luckily, I saw this coat on a friend and was able to determine the right sizing from trying on her coat. The size 0 Petite (0P) fits perfectly, especially in the arm length. It is roomy enough for layering under the coat while still maintaining the slim look.
Size 0P measurements:
. Arm length: 22″
. Chest width: 18″
. Body length: 27.5″
I picked mine in this gorgeous bright red color. The color remains one of my most favorite things about this coat. I wanted a red coat for some time but never saw a shade that attracted me as much as this one. The color is an instant perk-me-up in the cold weather.
I wear this coat even in light snow. Surprisingly, the snow falls off quite easily. The fabric dries quickly even when it gets wet from the snow. The fur on the hood is removable with easy snap buttons. Speaking of buttons, I love the way the gold hardware contrasts against the red wool. The fur may not be the softest but it is quite fluffy. The weight of the hood allows it to stay put on your head.
After owning this coat for a while, I noticed more differences from the regular version. The Vail Parka coat does not have the two top zip pockets where you can just tuck your hands in from the side. However, each of the two pockets has two different compartments. This basically combines the typical four pockets on the Chateau Parka into two on the Vail Parka :).
The second difference is in the material. This is where the more expensive Chateau Parka shows why there is a price premium. The wool fabric on the factory version feels thinner and less smooth. The soft silky lining (which I believe is the key in making J.Crew coats so warm) only exists in the coat body and hood, and does not extend into the arm area. The lining inside the arm area is a thin polyester-feel fabric which allows the scratchiness of the outside material to peek through to your skin. You can see a change of fabric right at the yellow arrow in the picture. For the most part, this does not bother me as I tend to wear long sleeves in the winter. However, if you happen to wear short sleeve, you might feel a bit scratchy near the arms.
Despite these minor things, I love this coat and hope that J.Crew Factory would come back with more colors. I found Heather Saddle and Navy here. I would also highly recommend the regular version Chateau Parka coat which is currently at 30% off.
Here I was wearing my trusty velvet-lined leggings that I mentioned before. I also picked up this cute BABE sweatshirt for a great price (under $12) from SheIn. The sweatshirt is not thick (as expected for something at this price), but it has a fleece lining, and it is comfortable to throw on and go. I am surprised how much I have worn this sweatshirt ever since I got it.
Stay warm xx.