Some people *live* for summer clothes. I was always someone who lived for winter clothes because I wanted to be covered up to hide all the parts I didn’t like about myself. Big chunky sweaters, black shapeless coats, insulated farm boots… I get it and it’s easy to give up when it’s below zero for three weeks. But here’s the thing. You don’t have to look like you just got off the set of the Cohen brother’s film Fargo. It’s 2010 and are options are getting better every year!
I have seen so many women (and children) in gorgeous puffy coats. Finally! They make them with shiny sheen, flattering cuts, pretty faux fur trim around the hood…and most places offer them in increasingly fashionable colors. I found a great gold coat a couple of years ago and it’s one of my favorite things. It’s knee-length with a great a-line cut that suggests there is a waist inside, and it’s made well so I hope it lasts forever (or until I find the next one I can’t live without). I can pair it with any color because, as TLC WNTW’s Stacy and Clinton always remind us, metallics are neutral. If you’re looking for an alternative to black but don’t want to go crazy, there is an abundance of chocolate brown options, which seems to look great on just about everyone.
In terms of non-puffy coat options, it seems like there are more wool coats than ever. I used to have a raisin colored coat that I hesitated to buy because it wasn’t black. I quickly learned to love the coat and saw the color as neutral because I could pair so many colors and textures – a velvety turquoise scarf or a pink wool one, leopard print gloves, a bright green hat, etc. Yesterday I saw a young woman wearing a lovely emerald green coat and I used to work with a woman who had a beautiful vintage tomato red coat. I would happily pair either of these coats with scarves/hats/gloves that are shades of ivory, turquoise or pink for a big bang.
And now, a few words of advice.
1) Invest in a wool coat with a good lining. The coat materials will last but the linings will shred with enough wear. If the lining feels cheap/thin, keep trying on coats. It seems like I’ve had better luck with department store coats vs. specialty store coats, but hopefully manufacturers/labels will improve the quality because a good wool coat should last for a number of years.
2) When it comes to accessories, make sure to have fun! They are a great way to express who you are, dress a coat up or down and fend off the winter blues. I love trying on hats and scarves – they’re so much easier than jeans :) And again, so many options. If you have a black coat, spice it up with colorful scarves, hats and gloves. If you have a boldly colored coat, go bolder by pairing it with a bright color. And if you get bored with the same scarf/hat combo, multiply the options by adding another scarf and hat that can be mixed and matched.
3) If you can afford to, it’s nice to have a couple of every day coats that you can switch out. You may want one for warm and one for cold, or one for work and one for everything else. Then, when you can, add a nicer one for dressier occasions.
4) Last but not least, don’t give up. If you don’t find what you’re looking for this season (which is pretty picked over right now), there’s always next year. Be prepared to try on a bunch until you find THE ONE. And while you’re not giving up, don’t settle for one that isn’t the right color, doesn’t exactly fit or flatter. Be patient so you can feel like a million bucks when you wear THE ONE!