I have two suggestions that I have personal experience with. Both are probably a bit shorter than you prefer but for concealment that helps. Used Sigs are a great value and the P226 is a bit longer than the P229 if that's an issue. I'll admit neither of these are cheap though. A full sized 1911 would be about 7 1/2 inches long and the Springfield 1911's are more affordable than Colt. Good quality too.
SIG P229 40 / 357 SIG
Colt Defender .45 ACP
Also consider the Glock lineup and the Springfield XD series.
This is what I actually carry. A Ruger SP101 .357 magnum. The reason being it always works, no safety to slow me down, and it is as simple as a gun can get. If you're new to guns then I back WWB's suggestion to consider revolvers.
I also say revolver. I like the SP-101, but its a bit heavy. Ruger likes to err on the side of strength versus compactness. I like the J frame Smiths. Particularly the Centennial models with internal hammers. They are chambered in .38 Special and .357 Magnum, you can carry them unnoticed in most circumstances and fire from within a coat pocket if need be. When you carry a gun, you have to be able to get to it or you may as well not have it. Pick something you can carry concealed, but still get to. Look at some of the small models from Kahr if you want an auto. http://www.kahr.com/PA-1_40sw.html The PM and MK models are small, compact autos.
You have to actually carry for a while to get used to what you can and cant' carry and how best to carry it. Just make sure you can get to it when you need it. If you can't get to it, you may as well not have it.
As a competitive Bullseye shooter, I am very familiar and comfortable with the 1911-A1 framed pistol in my hand, yet for some reason I don't feel comfortable carrying cocked and locked with a round chambered in the typical single action 1911-A1.
Enter the Para-Ordnance LDA CCO Model single stack .45ACP which is now my carry gun:
It has that 1911-A1 feel, is relatively compact with it's 3.5" barrel, has the bobbed hammer and beavertail, no other clothing snags, and the light double action (LDA) trigger is unbelievable until you've tried it. It is the lightest double action trigger I've ever experienced. In any potential stressful defense situation I want as little unfamiliarity with a handgun as I can get and the Para Carry CCO provides me with that.
Here are the specs if you wish to seriously consider it ... PARA CARRY CCO.
With the exception of the summer months, it conceals quite easily due to its more compact size. In the summer, I mostly use a high-riding Fobus holster, under a somewhat loose-fitting, front-buttoned, short-sleeve shirt with the tail out over the belt.