Coats on Top

The first snow flew here in Utah earlier this week, and I think it is safe to say winter has arrived. There are very few things I like about winter. Hot chocolate and staying inside watching TV online are some of them. Also, finding money in the pockets of winter clothes I haven't worn in months is always a bonus. (I found $6 this week. Score!) And, I am not ashamed to confess a deep and abiding love of winter coats. I actually get pretty excited to break my wool and down outerwear out of storage. So, whether you love winter or not, here are some tips to help you pick a coat that will keep you happy all the cold season long.

Before You Buy

Before you even start looking for a new winter coat, there are a few questions you should answer.

How much money do you want to spend? A winter coat is worth investing a little cash, since you'll probably be wearing it for many seasons to come, but coats come in a variety of prices, so set a budget and only look at coats within that range.

What level of warmth will be necessary? Do you walk a lot in the winter? Drive? Take public transportation? Determining how much time you spend outside in the winter months will help you decide how warm your coat needs to be.

What function will the coat fulfill? Are you looking for a casual coat or a career coat? A coat you can ski in or a coat you can wear on a date? (Unless you are going on a ski date. I don't do such things, so I have no advice for you there.)

Will this be your only coat or will you be able to have more than one? If your budget, and your closet, can accommodate more than one winter coat, you can go for one traditional selection and one more funky and fun. If you're just getting one winter coat, versatility is best. Ideally, every wardrobe should have an outwear coat and a knee-length coat.

Have a Looksie

You'll want to start in stores that have a decent coat selection. Department stores and other large clothing retailers should have a wide variety of styles and colors. Look for coats that are high-quality fabrics, with lining that is thick but not bulky. Other extras to look for include inner pockets, fleece hand pockets and hoods for extra warmth.

The length of your new winter coat will be determined largely by its end use, but choosing a coat length that is flattering to your body type is also crucial. If you're tall, you can generally handle any silhouette. Just make sure knee-length coats are not too short, and hit just at the top of the knee. If you have wide hips, tailored, straight lines are the most flattering. Stay away from wide-belted silhouettes and full skirts. Three-quarter length jackets are better than short jackets, which tend to cut your body right in half. (If it's a magic show, cutting your body in half is pretty cool. If it's fashion, not that cool.) The same advice holds if you're short. Also, be sure that longer coats hit right at your knee. Coats that are too long can overwhelm smaller frames. If you have a large bust you want to minimize, share the wealth! Also, stay away from puffy, short jackets that accentuate the upper torso, and baby doll and empire styles that add volume from the bust down.

Also, this might seem like a no-brainer, but be sure to actually try on the coat before you buy it. It should not feel bulky, and you should be able to zip it up or button it easily. If you're going with a more fitted style, be sure there is still plenty of room for layers underneath.

Trends on Top

For those of you looking for a slighly edgier winter look, here are some hot trends warming up this season. (Get it? Hot trends? Warming up? I know, the wit is overwhelming.) Anyway. Back to hot trends.

Colors that Pop: Everyone needs a neutral and versatile winter coat, but bright colors are in this season in a big way. Look for rich shades of red and purple with berry variations, including raspberry, blueberry and shades of pink and maroon. Solid colors still allow for some versatility and bold accessorizing.

Biker Chic: This might not be a very good option for our vegan friends (sorry, Natalie Portman), but leather jackets are everywhere this season. Pair a biker jacket with feminine, floral prints for a little contrast, or throw it over a turtleneck sweater and add some leather boots for an all-day weekend outfit.
Details, Details, Details: Dramatic detailing around the sleeves and collar spices up even a simple style or color. One of the most frequently used fabrics for detailing is fur (or faux fur for our animal loving friends), for oversized fur cuffs and collars. High, face-framing architectural colllars will also keep you warm and stylish. Other details to watch for include big buttons, large yokes or lapels, cowl necks and other statement collars, belts and piping.

Military Might: The military jacket trend started several seasons ago, but it still going strong. The clean and polished look of these coats means they can be worn anywhere from the office to a night out on the town. Keep your eyes peeled for well-cut coats in dark, rich fabrics with brass buttons, braiding and other interesting detailing. Salute!

Who else is excited to bundle up?
Tell us about the winter coat feature that keeps you happy all winter long.


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