We often receive letters and testimonial emails saying lovely things about Crowninshield. Here is a sampling of some of the letters we've received over the last year. Check back often to read the latest and greatest Crowninshield story, Or send us your own thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s a cloudy fall day out in a field surrounded by horses and white corrals. A few “horsey” booths are set up for those attending the annual classic hunt event. I am strolling along, and bam….here is this booth with this terrific blue Azurean Evening Coat hanging there—the blue trim and side buttons screaming at me ….”come and try me on for I am beautiful”. No horse paraphernalia. Just beautiful coats and jacket. With pockets, with belts, with a fit that says “yes, I am woman with real hips, waist, and bust”. And I did. I tried it and met Tess. And I haven’t stopped since.
Silk jackets in the evening for board dinners and events. Silk or cashmere jackets at big life science investor conferences surrounded by mainly men, and the first words out of the mouths of the few senior financial women colleagues shouted from across the room, “where did you get that jacket?!” Elegance, ease of travel (little to no wrinkles), silk that can take a rain shower running to catch cabs. Cashmere that is truly warm and lightweight and moves from “just in my best coat” to “coats and suits to wear every day”.
We became friends and talked about the needs of working senior woman: pockets on both sides, colors that work with the seasons, design with an edge that turns heads yet traditional and professional. The touch of fabric that excites and says, “oh my…”.
I have learned when I truly love something or am drawn to it, I touch it. These coats and suits are about the multi-faceted senses: texture and touch; color and sight; emotional power and fit; intelligence and design.
Here was this young entrepreneur who created herself. She put herself on a path of learning and knowledge and sought out the best guides….the wisdom of experience… She brought new jobs to an old profession. Except these clothes are not just to wear but to been seen in. These clothes are to make history with, to evoke change, to engage in business, to create a space for oneself.
Owning these Crowninshield clothes brings empowerment to me as the wearer, and to Tess and Gary as the gifted designers. Now that is a real success story.
I first had the pleasure of trying on a Crowninshield creation at the One of a Kind Show in Chicago in 2013. Since that time, I have positively lusted after the teal Azurean coat. If I admitted the number of times I watched the online videos of how many different ways there are to wear the jacket, it would just be embarrassing so let’s pretend it is less than 10.
As part of my “future style” plans, I kept the flyer on my desk and would bring it out every once in a while to see what other fabulous creations had made their way onto CrownCoats.com.
Somehow my husband found the flyer amid the clutter on my desk and surprised me with a beautiful jacket for our third anniversary. Needless to say, I was thrilled! The teal Azurean is just as gorgeous as I remembered and the material unparalleled quality.
Being slightly between sizes, the coat needed minor tailoring to fit perfectly. Gary answered all emails promptly and Tess called to ask very detailed questions about my lifestyle and wardrobe choices, to ensure any alterations were practical and chic. She looked at the photos I sent and came up with a perfect plan to make this a truly one of a kind jacket. I could not have asked for better customer service and have no doubt that this jacket will be just as unique and stylish for the next 20+ years. I cannot wait for the next opportunity to peruse their styles in person and find another stunning piece.
Is it love or an addiction?
I started my Crowninshield collection with the Teal Driving Jacket and immediately decided
to purchase the Blue Patch Pocket Blazer since I loved the look, fit, and quality of the
jackets! The initial purchase was in May 2014. By June 2015 I am the proud owner of eight
Crowinshields, six in the closet and two more to be delivered shortly! You decide – is it love
or an addiction!
In addition to my first two jackets, I have the Race-Car Coat, the Pebble Blazer, the
Midnight Outlaw, and the Indigo Switchback. The Night Owl and Indigo Keystone are on order
and I am looking forward to their delivery. They were purchased at the Reston Fine Arts
Show where Crowninshield won First Prize for Fiber Arts.
Compliments flow from friends and strangers every time I wear one of my jackets. They are
amazed at the fabrics, the fit, and the overall design of the jackets. One of my friends tried
to convince me to “share” my jacket with her; however, I knew if I let her borrow it I would
not get it back!
The Driving Jacket traveled through Alaska—keeping me warm on the airplane, shoved in a suitcase, used as a pillow—and with a quick shaking of the jacket and hanging it up overnight, it was ready to wear without looking worse for wear. All the jackets fit like they were custom made for me. I can dress them up or wear them with jeans – all of them are versatile and fashionable.
With the development of new designs, I know that I will continue to add more Crowninshields
to my collection! Keep up the great work Tess and Gary!
My Teresa Crowninshield coat reminds me of my grandmother - in a good way! She was the most effortlessly elegant and glamorous woman I've ever known. My grandma, Louise, was a "clothes horse", and had a closet stuffed with garments that aspired to magazine pages well beyond the fashions of our small Pennsylvania town. Whereas she used to take trips to boutiques in DC, my clothes mostly came from a boring department store. I thought maybe the glory days of attainable, well-made women's fashion were lost with her hat boxes—but then the most stunning coat caught my eye at an artisan fair last fall; I was introduced to the Crowninshield brand and smitten.
Since her passing, Louise has increasingly become my style icon. I know she'd love my new Race-Car Coat in Pearl, the Azurean Evening Coat and all the others I have my eye on. My Crowninshield coat would have fit perfectly with her collection; I channel Louise whenever I wear it. Grandma would be proud!
So what do I like about Crowninshield clothes? Well, there's the obvious: beautifully designed, beautifully executed, and well-fitting. But you could say that about lots of designers. So what makes their clothes so special? I think it's because they're actually a little subversive. When I go into court to represent a client and I'm wearing one of her pieces, I know I look put together, respectful and well-dressed. But I also know that the lining of the black cashmere motorcycle jacket is a crimson red and that the black pencil skirt is created from an extraordinary piece of vintage fabric that Tess or Gary picked up in China almost 20 years ago. The perfectly proper gray jacket looks like no other because of the shaping, as well as the white insets on the sleeves and body. (And it looks as good with jeans as it does with the matching gray skirt.) It's that hidden or not so obvious touch of originality that's the zinger and makes me feel special every time I wear one of her pieces. And when I have on two pieces (skirt and jacket) at the same time, stay out of my way in the courtroom; I'm a force to be reckoned with.
When we first went to the craft show in Baltimore, we walked by the Teresa Crowninshield booth, my wife remarking that the coats looked beautiful in their silk and wool luster. I begged her to try a coat on. (My grandfather was a custom clothier, and I've always distrusted store clothing.) My wife did try them on. Unlike most coats she had worn (and several were from better department and clothing stores) the coat we selected molded to her body.
It was not a perfect fit, however, and Tess expertly pinned the waist and chest to make the fit perfect. Two weeks later the coat arrived by mail. My wife took the package, ran up to our bedroom and tried it on in front of our full-length mirror. Great material and a great fit equal satisfaction.
Since that time, we've bought several other pieces from Teresa Crowninshield with the same results. It's fitting that Teresa Crowninshield displays at crafts shows. Their clothing harks back to my grandfather's times, when every piece of clothing was a work of art—something beautiful to transport the wearer from the commonplace to a world of beauty.
Like the last sentence of a chapter that makes you want to read the next chapter to which it links thematically so neatly, the silk lining of a Crowninshield jacket sleeve turned up against its outer shell (Thai silk, Chinese silk, superfine Italian wool, angora, cashmere, bamboo) leads you to a new chapter, the sleeve against which the lining lies and reads beautifully. The great read goes on from there. And as the woman wearing the jacket you are part of that story.
I had no intention of buying a coat when I went to the American Girl fashion show to see Aisling model. After the fashion show we went into another area which was the trade show. I literally spotted the black coat with the turquoise trim and was in love with it. Being 5ft tall can be a hardship looking for clothing that doesn't swallow you up. I met Teresa and the minute she placed the coat on my shoulders I was smitten. I love love love this coat and have literally worn it out. I really need a new one.
Below is a story related to one of my Crowninshield jackets. I had the black one on, with the long tail and beautiful blue accent that I bought this winter. The story is a little offbeat but I must tell you, I was so proud to be wearing your design, I know it made a difference. For what it/s worth, a gentleman working the event commented how beautiful my jacket was and then, when he worked another event 5 weeks later, he spotted me in another Crowninshield jacket and remarked how beautiful that one was also. My Crowninshield story is an email I sent to a colleague who has a similar connection to her grandfather as do I. Here you go:
My grandfather passed away about 14 years ago and I thought his story making days were over. I found out Saturday night I was wrong. I thought of you when this conversation was finished. I am certain you have either had this happen, or will at some point, given the nature of your relationship with your grandfather.
Saturday night I went to a live auction/fundraiser at my old high school. I went to the Institute of Notre Dame (IND), an all-girls, Catholic school which opened just prior to the civil war. There are many successful graduates but the two best known are Senator Barbara Mikulski and speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi. Ms. Pelosi was Nancy D’Alessandro growing up and her father was the mayor of Baltimore.
The event was at the school which is in a God awful section of town. For nighttime events security is pretty heavy given the neighborhood and Saturday was no exception. The cocktail hour was in the old gym, the one I played basketball in, and the live auction was in the beautiful, new athletic complex. The two spaces are connected by a short, narrow hallway. Silent auction items were located in both places.
I like to “shop” before I start bidding on silent auction items so I can prioritize the spending. I had perused the items in the old gym and was making my way to the new section when the whole place went under lock down. Needless to say, I went and got another drink while the commotion settled. I found out that the big “to do” was because Nancy Pelosi was coming to the event and they had to get her in safely. Despite her prominence, she still attends IND events when she’s in the area….pretty impressive.
Eventually access to the new gym was allowed and as you can imagine, Ms. Pelosi was surrounded by people wanting to say hello and have their picture taken with her. I was astounded by how tiny she was, the epitome of small but mighty. I found myself in her company and introduced myself as all IND grads do, name and class, Cathy Just, IND ’81. She gave me a polite, smile then knotted her eyebrows together and asked for my name again. When I repeated it I added, “I believe my grandfather used to drive you to school.” Her expression instantly changed, it softened and I could see her literally running images through her head. “Mr. Frank,” she said, “Your grandfather was Mr. Frank?” She spoke of how good he was to her and her siblings, how much time he had spent with them, and how wonderful and helpful he had been to her father. She also asked about my grandmother and remarked what a lovely woman she was, kind, thoughtful and full of grace.
It is a side of my grandfather I don’t know much about, just some stories from my family. It was interesting to hear them from the other side and she spoke so fondly of him and that time. Her brother, known to me as “young Tommy” (also mayor), joined the conversation and he shared some stories about my father. Dad apparently joined them at the beach each summer. It was a bit like being in the company of American royalty.
When we parted ways I was touched by how much my grandfather had meant to this woman and her family. 40 some years down the road, this incredibly busy, prominent woman still had a soft spot for “Mr. Frank”, my grandfather, Frank Just. Then I considered the bigger picture, here was the speaker of the house, one of the most powerful women in this country, standing toe to toe with the granddaughter of the man who drove her to school. Both IND grads, both reasonably successful, and both living the way he so often professed, “You thank me by giving back to others when you can.” It was a very Lion King, circle of life moment.
Teresa, thanks for considering this for the contest. I thought, if nothing else, you needed to hear the story. I look forward to seeing at the next show.