by Jacqueline Zenn
Your coat is all-important if you live in a cold climate. It is the first, last, and sometimes the only thing people see you in. Also, you wear it virtually every day – so you need it to be durable and warm, but still utterly fabulous. The perfect coat will increase the depth and interest to all your outfits, and it may even add a touch of glamour. Lucky for you, this season is all about coats, and there is a perfect coat out there for everyone.
These waist cinching feminine coats were all over the runways, and now they are all over the stores. Done in wool, cashmere, or tweed, and sometimes trimmed with fur, belted coats are reminiscent of old Hollywood style. Furthermore, they are really figure flattering, a rare quality in winter coats. If you have a narrow waist already, these coats will only accentuate it, and they can even slim down a thicker midsection. You can find coats like this at just about every price point. A camel number by Burberry would lend a bit of elegance to everything from a suit to jeans. On the other end of the spectrum, Banana Republic did a great hot pink one. Trenches in every color of the rainbow are yet another way to cash in on this trend.
Snap to attention with a floor length sweeping brass-buttoned overcoat. Or keep it simple with a short, fitted jacket. Not just a typical trench (although are those are classics), these combine the crisp edge of military with a feminine shape. Balenciaga, Michael Kors, and Ralph Lauren have some absolutely amazing styles, and there are also some cute versions at H&M â€” most under $100, so you can get more than one.
Fur is a classic for winter, especially in Chicago. It is also really warm, and now everyone can wear fur without guilt because there are so many excellent faux fur options. A little bit of fur trim can totally change the style of a coat â€” from kind of boring to really luxurious or girly, depending on the piece. Fur is great in solids and in animal prints â€” try a bit of leopard trim on your basic camel wool, or go for a huge fur collar like this Andrew Marc piece.
Tweed can be ladylike or funky. Black and white houndstooth is classic, while brightly colored pinks and greens can add a whimsical touch to your workweek wardrobe. Tailored looks work best for tweed â€” but these coats can be worn over anything, and they will even dress up your more casual looks. Burberry, always a favorite for amazing coats, did a trench in tweed, and Old Navy and Banana Republic also did cute versions for a little less.
Nothing is quite as beautiful and lavish as an embroidered coat. There were plenty of Russian inspired pieces on the fall catwalks, and coats like these would liven up any dull winter day. St. John has a fur-collared shearling embellished jacket out, and Nine West has a longer suede one with beautiful embroidery.
These coats tend to get a bad rap. Not always the most stylish choices, they are practical and definitely the warmest thing to wear in Chicago’s frigid winters. Recently, however, they’ve gotten a makeover and become as sleek and cool as their wool and leather counterparts. This longer white one is by the Gap, and Neiman Marcus also has a great short jacket from their house brand.
Since you will be wearing your coat so often, it makes sense to invest in a great one. Look for a coat that is a flattering fit and color, one that works with your overall style, of course, one that is warm enough. Remember, your coat is generally the first thing everyone sees you wearing from October to early April, and you never get a second chance to make a first impression.