I’ve long been an Etsy lurker, saving tons of items to my favorites list but never actually buying any of them. Most of the time it’s because it’s out of my price range. Custom, handmade clothing tends to cost quite a bit, and rightfully so. But I recently found a few China-based sellers that have the most amazing coats at a slightly more affordable price point.
I’m usually a little hesitant about ordering from China because I’ve been burned by China-based eBay sellers before and, more importantly, I’m concerned about contributing to sweatshop conditions. But the couple of stores I was looking at on Etsy have pretty extensive and legitimate-sounding shop descriptions, complete with names and photos of the employees. Can it be trusted? I don’t really know. I hope so . . . because these coats are so awesome I want to buy them all! It helps that the pricing is not exactly sweatshop-level. Most of the coats are around $130–$170, which is inexpensive for custom-made, but not at all what I consider “cheap.”
After trying on a full-skirted coat from Guess in a random store, I decided I needed a similar one. The skirt was so feminine and fun and it balanced my chest really well. But I did not want the Guess one, because it was mostly acrylic and was so itchy. All the Etsy coats I found were instead wool-polyester blends, which is exactly what I wanted. I know that blend is very warm and not scratchy because I’ve had coats in that material in the past.
After searching around, I found two shops that had a ton of coats I loved, including plenty with full skirts. The first is YL1dress and the second is Xiaolizi. I had such a hard time choosing from all their offerings, but I eventually settled on an asymmetrical collared one from YL1.
The best part about ordering clothes through Etsy is that most sellers are happy to customize the sizing or design for you. So I requested to have plain straight sleeves instead of the “lantern” ones pictured, and I asked for houndstooth fabric that was in another listing in the same shop.
YL1 offers customization for a flat $30 fee, so I got the sleeve alteration, the new fabric, and I provided my measurements (noting my long waist, especially) even though I’m right in the range of what they list as a size “medium.”
The shop had excellent communication, usually writing me back within hours of anything I sent them. They also included charts with instructions on how to properly measure yourself and requested additional measurements beyond the usual chest/waist to ensure the best possible fit (specifically, length from shoulder to waist, height, and weight).
It seems they forgot to mark the parcel as sent when they first shipped it, because I received a shipping confirmation that day after it arrived, so I have no idea how fast it was made or how fast it shipped. But the final communication occurred on November 14 and I received the package on December 10, so I’m pretty happy with that timeline.
So! How’s the final product? Here, have a photo essay (in front of our little Christmas tree that we just started decorating!):
Love it love it love it love it!!
The quality is so far beyond what I was even expecting. The first thing I noticed is it is really heavy. Also, the lining is high quality and sewn perfectly; the fabric is nice and soft; and the care that went into the details is truly impressive.
The fit is just the tiniest bit off. I wish the chest was just a little roomier. You can see it pulling a tiny bit in the closeups below. And the armpits are attached a little low or at a weird angle or something, because when I lift my arms up high, the rest of the coat goes with them.
But there’s definitely room for layers under the coat and it certainly fits better than my old boxy wool peacoat I replaced it with. Plus the asymmetrical collar and high-low skirt are so fun! And considering that it kept me totally toasty in Thursday’s mid-30s (Fahrenheit) weather (and I was outside for most of the day), it’s practical even though it looks more “fashion-y.”
Here are some of those details I mentioned:
Even with the minor fit issues, I am really happy with this coat and heartily recommend this Etsy seller.