It’s winter time, and as I walk around outside I’m noticing that coats can make a huge difference to how you look. As they’re often quite expensive, the sales are a good time to try and pick up a new coat that will last you a few years, and not break the bank, but will make your look complete. So many people wear the same old coat that they’ve had for years over their clothing, thinking that it doesn’t really matter what the coat looks like because they’ll take it off once they get inside so no one will notice how old and out-dated it is, or that it doesn’t go with what they’re wearing underneath, but think about it – when you see someone in a great coat, that first impression stays with you, and it’s a positive one right from the get-go.
So how do you choose a coat, and how many should you own?
Really, you should have a few – one for work, one for casual, and a trans-seasonal coat, and if you go out a lot at night – something that works well with eveningwear. Beyond that, it’s up to you and the climate you live in.
For work, black, brown, camel, navy or red are great – and will last you a few years. Ideally your winter coat should be made of a wool/cashmere mix for warmth and comfort. As the coat has to fit over your other clothes, you don’t want it to make you look bigger than you are – so ensure that the cut is flattering and doesn’t include too many extra pockets and doesn’t strain at the seams. Look for vertical seams to slim and flatter.
A casual weekend coat or jacket is a must, it could be leather, or a fabric or quilted bomber style – just remember if it’s a puffa jacket – that this will add kilograms to your frame.
Evening coats need to be a little bit glam – rather than your day to day wool style – a little beading, or a sheen in the fabric – even some fur (faux of course) can add evening style to your outfit.
A trans-seasonal coat and jacket are great for all – and especially useful for those who live in warmer climates. Consider a trench coat – which these days come in any number of styles and fabrics, and denim jackets – which also come in a variety of colours and styles – just remember – never wear a blue denim jacket with blue denim jeans – the denim ‘suit’ is an instant style killer, but your blue denim jacket can be worn with all manner of other skirts and trousers for a great look.
How to find the style that suits you?
- If you have a big bust, steer well clear of double breasted styles, and those with high closures – go for coats that button below the bust, the coat collar creating a V-neckline which is very flattering.
- If you have big hips, go for coats with a defined waist, or an A-line or empire-line shape that will skim your curves without clinging to them. Also look for coats with epaulettes and shoulder detail to draw the eye upwards and create a wider shoulder line.
- If you’re very slim and/or boyish – double-breasted is great, as are belted coats which create a waistline, you can also wear quilted styles and thicker more textured fabrics work well. Horizontal stripes also work well (see illustration).
- If you’ve got a long torso – a belted trench coat is also a great style for you, shorter jackets also work well on you.
- If you have short legs – a short coat is better.
- If you have a short body – a long lean coat is what you’re after.
Wearing a coat that works with the rest of your clothes really is the finishing touch and will make you a woman of style.
© Imogen Lamport 2010
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