Fashion Advice: Updating an Old Winter Coat

Dear Budget Fashionista,

I have a long camel colored wool coat that is 1 size too big on me now and has shoulder pads that I would rather not have. 1) Can I have the pads removed, and 2) I’d love to wear this with a belt to have a gathered look.  It didn’t come with a belt.  Would I be able to use an alternative belt like a fashion belt, or would you know where i could go to find one?

1. Yes you can remove the shoulder pads. In fact you should remove the shoulder pads
2. You can go to pretty much any tailor/dry cleaner to get a basic belt made. However, purchase a wide red or black belt to wear with the coat. This will give it an updated look and save you the trouble of having to find material that matches your coat. You can find these belts pretty much everywhere- from Forever 21 to Urban Outfitters to Target.

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  1. S says

    I am a former for-hire dressmaker.  I have done several of these types of alterations in the past.  If you remove the shoulder pad the shoulders will collapse. This would require altering not only the shoulder line, but the top of the sleeve, as well. 
    A coat is created so that the shoulder extends slightly beyond the shoulder of the garments worn underneath.  This requires the use of a small shoulder pad, at the very least, to support the extension.  This little bit of extension gives you the room to put the coat over other garments.  Without that room, and without the pad, the coat will feel and look tight and uncomfortable. 
    I would recommend that, instead of removing the pads altogether, you ask a dressmaker to cut them down or insert a smaller pad.  The belt advice is right on the money:)

  2. Anne says

    You can also change the buttons and switch out your accessories.  Camel will go with just about any color hat, scarf, glove you like.  My winter coat is a camel-colored cashmere swing coat and I love to change up its look with different color accessories – black fur and velvet hat with black velvet scarf and fur trimmed black leather gloves; whimsical multi-colored striped fleece gloves from Old Navy; a wild looking multi-colored knitted sari silk scarf with fringe; turquoise scarf & gloves, etc.

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