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Posts Tagged ‘coats’

Most shapeless, boring, oversized coat imaginable. Ordered online because it looked warm; too lazy/cold to return it. For eight years.

Most shapeless, boring, oversized coat imaginable. Ordered online because it looked warm; too lazy/cold to return it. For eight years.

Coats.  It might be a West Coat thing.  We tend to use coats as gear, just to keep us warm.  Instead of choosing a beautiful coat to enhance our look, we throw Whatever on over our “real” clothes, just to stay dry before we start the day for “real.”   When you wear a coat like that, you are wrapped.  You might even think of yourself as invisible. You are sending yourself the message that you don’t count for the moment.  You are not Dressed.

Good shape, fit and detail: Anne Klein II

Good shape, fit and detail: Anne Klein II

From the time we walk out the front door, each moment is an opportunity to be at our best in the world.  Of course certain moments “don’t count,” like if you are escaping from a house fire. But I’d say, it’s better to expect moments to count — really, make them count — instead of discounting each moment.  Including moments when you have to wear a coat.

Because, you never know when a Moment might hit.  Like a chilly August afternoon in 2006:  I was hurrying through downtown Seattle on my way back from lunch when suddenly, the first squad for the Real Madrid football club* came striding down the block.  Surrounded by fans taking pictures.  I am not kidding.  They were in town for an exhibition game and they had apparently decided to sight-see right past my office.  A herd of internationally beautiful and athletic men right there in front of me.  I gaped, blushed, grinned . . . and found myself wondering, “what might they see when they look . . . .at me?

David, wait! I have a cute dress on under this frumpy black rain jacket

David, wait! I have a cute dress on under this frumpy black rain jacket

I was having a perfectly cute Seattle Girl moment, wearing a nice little summer dress.  But it was cold, so I was totally covered by a dumpy, ill-fitting raincoat.   Like all of us, I can look kinda-awesome or I can look invisibly schlumpy.  And if David Effing Beckham comes walking down the street, which do you want to be? Do you want to be disguised in a bad windbreaker just because a workweek lunch alone “doesn’t count?” You will not get a second chance to be an extra in a Beckham movie.  Also, my sandals probably sucked.

Discount your coat and you discount real moments of real life.  Coats are not just wrapping. They don’t make you invisible. Coats count. SO:

target

Purple Satin Trench, $39.99, Target

 1. Coats must fit. We tend to wear coats big so we can snuggle down inside them and wear lots of layers under them.  Allow for a sweater underneath and have some arm movement.  But be sure your coat isn’t too big in the shoulders and sides, and don’t wear it bigger than necessary.  Rule of thumb: If you wore your coat when you were more than 6 months pregnant, it is TOO BIG for you when you are not pregnant.

2. A wardrobe needs more than one coat.  Your toughest play-in-the-rain coat, which will keep you dry for a winter beach hike in a storm, has a hood and fits over a heavy sweater.  This is not also your go-get-coffee-looking-cute coat, which should be more fitted and stylish.  Around here it’s good to have a “nicer rain” coat, a “storm” coat,  maybe a “very warm / no hood for cold dry days” coat, and a good “lightweight” (spring/fall and yes, summer) coat or two.  Even if you’re not a total clothes ho like some of us, it is really, really good to have a variety.  If you try to make the same coat work every time and place, it won’t work perfectly for anything. You will always be compromising.

3. Coats take the MOST time and money of any wardrobe item (Except maybe boots). Remember the $3 Rule .  A good coat lasts for years and will be worn a lot.  It needs to hold up to wear and weather. If it is wool or gortex, it’s going to cost money.  If it’s well-stitched and watertight, it’s going to cost more money.  Cute little jackets and raincoats can be cheap, but consider investing in your main coats.  Also invest the time to try coats on.  Figure out what looks best. Don’t guess. Don’t settle.  Don’t order from the catalog, give up, and wear it for years because you’re too discouraged to return it and keep looking (see photo, above).

Sherpa-lined Frost Free Jacket, $82 at Old Navy Women's Plus

Sherpa-lined Frost Free Jacket, $82 at Old Navy Women's Plus

4. Make shape and structure work for you.  If you’re going to cover yourself in a big huge garment, it needs to enhance your shape.  For a long coat, notice how it drapes or swings.  Watch where it hits your legs (and consider hemming if it’s length is out of proportion).  If you need more waist, wear a coat with a belt; If you need to balance out your shoulders and chest, wear a coat with cute pleats on the bottom.  If you are round in the middle, wear a coat with good shapely seams and interesting details around the face.  And when it comes to bulky, warm coats — we all need them sometimes — get a beautiful color or texture.  Use the bulk to balance your body (don’t add where you don’t need it).

Three from Boden.

Three from Boden.

Reid Jacket by Dolce Vita, wool lined with silk, $286

Reid Jacket by Dolce Vita, wool lined with silk, $286

 

 

*Yes, I totally had to look that all up — the team name, and the correct use of “First squad.” I did not think this at the time.

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Violet marled-wool cowl neck, funky

Violet marled-wool cowl neck, funky

Don’t miss this week’s new features, Ask Aki and Wednesday Personality Test  , below!

Also let us know if you would like to join us for Macy’s Shop for a Cause Supports AHOPE  on October 17!

Personality Test Results

If you chose:

 Coat #1 . . . You are preppy, classy and fun!  You are fastidious and disdain pretense, an extrovert who loves to make friends and have a good time.  A classic trench is always in style.  Wear one that fits perfectly in the shoulders and isn’t too long.  To keep your look from being cliché, personalize it with original accessories and great color.  Or wear the collar up.

Coat #2 . . . You are practical and like to be warm.  You know your own mind and do what you like, but you make a great friend.  And don’t let your laid-back vibe fool us: You still care how you look! You want a coat with a hood because it keeps your hairstyle dry.  Remember that your coat becomes your shape – even when casual, be sure it’s not too baggy or wrinkled, and look for great colors.  Or at least not black.

Coat #3 . . . You like toggle buttons because they remind you of Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News.  Like Proulx, you thinking that speaking in  subject-less sentences gives you a sophisticated sense of detached urgency. Really, it’s an awful affect and everyone is getting annoyed. It’s time to stop being such a poser, discover your genuine self, and move forward with a sense of subject – and style.

Coat #4 . . . You like classics with an edge and you’re not allergic to wool.  You are self-possessed and original.  You want to take a style and make it your own.  Everyone loves you, but you secretly want to leave sneak out of parties early to cuddle up under a quilt and watch Without a Trace with an open can of Betty Crocker Frosting and a spoon.  Challenge yourself: Are you at risk for conforming — to nonconformity?

Coat #5 . . . You are impossibly small and sassy, with enough confidence and talent to convince us you ALWAYS look good.  Are you distracting us with your awesomeness so that we don’t even notice how ridiculous you are? I don’t care.  Go for it!

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