Looking good is the last thing on your mind when it’s freezing out and you can’t feel your fingers and toes. If you’ve lived in the northern tier of the continental United States, you have an acute understanding of the meaning of the word “winter”. As we get further into December and closer to the New Year, I’m pretty ecstatic that Wilsons Leather asked me to review their Contemporary Lamb Topper Coat. Given that the last few weeks in Spokane have been filled with snow, wind, and cold weather, it was a perfect time to give the jacket thorough consideration as a winter coat.
Sometimes the company says it best. In this case, we’re going to let Wilsons Leather tell you a little bit about them:
Wilsons Leather is a leading specialty retailer of quality accessories and outerwear. Currently operating under two formats, we offer fashion and value through an assortment of designer brands and special purchases for both men and women. Categories include outerwear and accessories such as handbags, briefcases and travel items. While holding tight to our leather roots, we also carry an assortment of additional fabrications such as wool, cotton and faux-leather to give our customers more options. Our e-commerce site offers an extension of our store experience and is intended to increase brand awareness.
Wilsons Leather has been around for a long time and understands the business of providing quality leather goods at prices appealing to leather enthusiasts.
The outer shell of the jacket is genuine chrome-tanned lambskin, with Thinsulate® insulation and a polyester interior liner. The image on the Wilsons Leather web site boasts an open-slit pocket on the left chest, but you won’t find one on this jacket (the description on the site indicates that pocket doesn’t exist either). That leaves you with two open flap pockets four buttons on each cuff, a 3-button placket, and a slit tail to allow for easy movement.
The stitching is black, non-contrasting, polyester thread that I found to be well done without any loose threads or uneven stitching, something I’d expect in a jacket of this caliber and price range. Overall weight is 3 pounds, 5 ounces (1.48 kilograms), making it light in its class for 3/4-length leather jacket designed for colder temperatures.
A jacket like this is going to serve dual purposes: keeping you warm and looking good. It succeeds on both accounts. I spent an hour walking outside in 20º (F) weather in downtown Spokane, and felt comfortable; I wasn’t sweating, and wasn’t cold. It fit well over the sweater I was wearing without constriction. It fits to a few inches above my knees comfortably, without restricting any movement due to the slit tail in the back.
One concern I have is that the jacket opens into a “V” about 3/4 of the way up without the possibility of further closure. Should you find yourself in the middle of downpour or snowstorm, that part of your suit or sweater is going to get wet. This is a traditional design for many coats like this, so a scarf would be one easy way to keep the snow or rain out.
The two front pockets (remember there is no breast pocket) will let you hold a wallet and phone without making unsightly bulges in the jacket, though a ring of keys or pair of mittens might be too much. Due to the angle of the pockets, you can’t really use them to keep your hands warm, but they will provide great security for anything you place in them.
The first time I wore this coat, I was impressed with how it fit my frame. In coats, a size large will often feel tight across my shoulders, but this topper gave me plenty of room while conforming to my body type. Made of lambskin, you can’t help but notice the soft feel of the outer shell. With a coat this size, you might expect it to be heavy, but thanks to the Thinsulate® layer, the jacket remains light while you stay warm. The buttons on the coat are large and non-contrasting, meaning you’ll be able to manipulate them even when wearing gloves.
The overall look of the jacket is very professional, and will match well with your suit or business casual attire. Paired with a nice scarf and gloves, you’ll have no worries about staying warm and looking good at the same time.
I really do like the Contemporary Lamb Topper Coat, even having experienced the aforementioned snow attacking the open “V” design of the jacket. I really should have had a scarf on that day in the first place. The quality of the jacket is quite good, with nice stitching, materials, and overall construction. This jacket isn’t one you’re going to wear while you’re out chopping wood, but will lend itself admirably to your business formal/casual wardrobe.
With Wilsons Leather, you’re never going to pay the full MSRP. At the time of this review, the jacket lists on their site for $569.99, marked down from $850.00. With the site-wide 60% off sale going on, that brings the price down to $342.00. Some savvy shoppers who have access to a Wilsons Leather outlet may be able to wrangle an even better deal. For a coat of this size and quality, that is right in the ballpark of what you should be expecting to pay.
With proper care, this jacket will last you for the years to come. Always hang it up, dry clean only when needed, and don’t let it get wet. It’s the basics of leather care, but these caveats will serve you well when caring for your expensive leather garments.