New Show Coat Woes

Equestrian apparel grand prix
I swear this Grand Prix coat is hunter green

For the last 2 show seasons I have been jonesing for a hunter green show coat. They are just SO PRETTY. But alas, how does one justify the cost of a new coat when you have 2 perfectly good ones? Well let me tell you… gift cards! I was very lucky and thankful to recieve Dover gift cards for Christmas from loving in-laws. Since I couldn’t really think of much that I “needed”, I decided to splurge on a “want” instead.

A little back story first- I currently have 3 show coats and a shadbelly. One of the coats is plain black and is from my eventer days and doesn’t quite fit right and isn’t the nicest quality- so I don’t wear it. The other 2 are both Grand Prix coats in navy. One is plain navy and the other is pinstripe. Both have recieved alterations to help fit me better. The plain navy one is a bit worse for the wear, but it still manages. The inner silk lining in one of the arm pits was badly ripped when I got it, but nothing a tailor couldn’t fix. The pinstripe one was new 2 years ago, and on crazy close-out because wool coats and pinstripe aren’t exactly all the rage right now,  but I actually really like it. I had the sleeves let out as much as they could go (which isn’t much).

My main problem with finding show coats is fit. Being 5’11 and 140 lbs, I don’t exactly fit the coat mold. The ‘longs’ are never long enough, especially in the smaller sizes. I spent almost $200 altering my Grand Prix shadbelly, at a place that specializes in suit and suit type alterations, and it still doesn’t fit quite right- so please don’t just say I can buy a coat and get it altered.

People who tell me to buy a size big and “get it altered” you get this look

Having something tailored is never as easy as it sounds,  especially with the more high tech fabric they use these days with show clothing. I have had every coat I’ve ever owned altered to some extent and still haven’t achieved what I consider a perfect fit, but at some point you have to draw the line. Not everyone can fork over $1000 for a custom jacket. It’s just unrealistic, so I keep searching for the best fit possible in an off the rack coat with minimal alterations.

Gift cards and credit card in hand,  I headed to my local Dover store. Since I usually buy used, or second  hand, I felt certain that with a ‘high’ budget and buying new that I would be able to get the look and fit I wanted. Unclear why I was so delusional (LOL). The store carries like zero size selection, and not a single long coat. Not. A. One. Like, really? What is the point of having a brick and mortar store if you can’t try things on? Anyway- moving on. I tried on the ‘Quinn’ Grand Prix coat in a 10 and it was SMALL. Ok noted, I may wear a 10 in the wool Grand Prix coats, but not the techlites. The 12 fit nice (other then being crazy short). I talked to the sales associate and she said they only carried one Grand Prix style in Long- the Grand Prix Techlite Classic Sport. So… that’s what I ordered!

A week later the store called and said it would arrive sometime  in the beginning of March. I literally asked her if she was joking. It was January 13th. She said she was not and did I want to cancel the order. Ummm… no?! I patiently waited, and they finally called this weekend to say it had arrived. Like a kid on Christmas morning, I showed up the the store. I put it on, sales associate said it looked good, and moved on. I didn’t really get a chance to check it out in the mirror or get a feel for it, but I wasn’t worried because I knew I could do that at home. I shopped around some more, then paid for the other stuff and headed home. I got home and put on a show shirt and the jacket. I looked in the mirror. I was not really impressed. My Dear Husband said it looked good but… what does he know?!

It wasn’t as fitted in the arms as I was hoping for, and a bit loose in the torso. Short in the sleeves (obvi). I could probably have it taken in a bit, and maybe have the sleeves let out like.. a centimeter. But my stubborn side says I should have to pay to alter a brand new coat that I paid full price for. My logical side says, “but what other option do we have? It is this coat, or no coat”. My thrifty side says, “you are not in love with this coat, and your other coat is perfectly fine. You should return it”. My inner whiney side says, “but I want a new coat! And I like green! Green will look pretty on Rio. If I don’t keep this coat it will be a long time before I have money for another new coat. ::pouts::”. I brought it to the barn and showed Trainer. She said it looked good but maybe wasn’t perfect, but unless I upgraded to one of the uber expensive coats, it was porbably the best I would get for the price point ($400 ish). So logical. So… I have like pretty much decided to keep it. I think. I REALLY want people’s opinions though- so I took fifty million pics. Please comment what you would do in this situation! Any feedback is highly appreciated.

For comparison I have pics of my “old” coat. It was brand new 2 years ago. A Grand Prix 10T with a navy pinstripe, normal wool fabric, but not too heavy. On the right is my new one in hunter green, 12T techlite fabric. It was like IMPOSSIBLE to get it to photograph green for some reason, but trust- it is green.


Front view:


“old” coat (navy pinstripe)
new coat


Back view:

old coat
new coat


Side view:


old coat
new coat


Various angles of new coat:

new coat
new coat
new coat



Equestrian apparel grand prix
inner mesh lining

So… thoughts? Keep? Return? If I return, suggestions on what to get? Since I used giftcards mainly it needs to be from Dover, unless it’s like $250 or under.

You may also like


  1. I think it fits better than your old one. As someone who also has to alter everything, I’d go pay a fortune to a really good tailor and have them fit the body and arms better. That is, assuming you love the fabric. I have a navy windowpane that I had altered, and it was expensive but I still love it to this day. If you don’t absolutely love the coat, return it and find something you love more to alter. But the only way you’ll get a great fit is alterations.

  2. Thanks Jill! I really appreciate your feedback. I might just do that. The fabric will be WAY cooler for Texas horse showing, and I really do want a green coat! I might just have to suck it up, research an amazing tailor, and work with it a bit.

  3. I have the HARDEST time getting a jacket to fit. I’m 5’7, with huge shoulders and built arms but literally no waist. Nothing above 500+ ever fits me if I go searching for something. But I have fallen in love with the Kerrits softshell show jacket! It has a ton of stretch. Best part it’s WATERPROOF and WASHABLE. Saving a ton of money if I would have to have it dry cleaned. I use a black one for events but they come in a few fun colors (I’m pretty sure there’s a green 😉 They only retail for like 120$ and I don’t have a single complaint!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *