Book Review: The Coat Route – On the Trail of a $50,000 Coat

The Coat Route

Over the past couple of weeks, I have had the pleasure of reading a very interesting book by author Meg Lukens Noonan titled “The Coat Route.” If you are remotely interested in fashion or design I highly recommend that you read this fascinating story. For those of you who don’t consider yourself to be interested in fashion, the fact is, we all wear clothes…everyday. The story captures the art of clothes making and will make us think a little deeper into the process that takes place to create the items we purchase when we shop.

The author, Meg, is on a mission to discover the techniques and materials used by tailor John Culter to create a coat for business man Keith Lambert. I am sure your thinking, “Ok, So a guy had a coat made…what’s the big deal?” The big deal is that the coat is $50,000. You read that correctly: a comma and three zeros.

Why would someone pay that much for a coat, you ask? Well, Meg helps us to figure that out from beginning to end. She begins the book by introducing us to how her interest in the story was sparked. One day while she was browsing the web, she came across the website of bespoke tailor John Culter. Before I go any further, let me explain what bespoke tailoring is. Bespoke tailoring is having an item of clothing made specifically for you to your specifications. Meaning, the pattern for the garment is measured to fit you exactly and it’s made in the fabric, color, lining, buttons, and zippers YOU want. As Meg was browsing John Culter’s website, she couldn’t help but notice that he was emphasizing a coat he had recently made for a client. After doing some further digging, she discovered that the coat cost the client $50,000.

$50,000 Coat by John Culter Credit:

$50,000 Coat by John Culter

From the surface, the coat itself doesn’t seem like something one would pay $50,000 for. Even more of a reason for Meg to figure out just want made the coat so special. Her journey takes us from the mountains of Peru to visit the natural habitat of the Vicuña, the animal from which the fabric for the coat is made, to Italy to visit the factory where the silk for the lining was made. We learn in detail about the buttons and gold trimmings and how they all come together to create this tailoring masterpiece.

As I turned though the pages of the book, I found myself more and more interested in the outcome of the coat. A large part of me wishes a film crew were on the journey with Meg to turn the book into a documentary. All in all, the book made me appreciate designers and tailors for art the contribute to society.


Purchase the book from Amazon Here. I promise you will enjoy it!




Leave a Reply