Bigger is better when it comes to keeping the chill off this fall and winter. Who doesn't remember the not so thrilling chills of last winter? Now designers are turning up the volume on outerwear, giving us lots of functional, fashionable options. Here are some ways to escape the polar vortex this fall in style:
--The oversize coat. Cocoon. Trapeze. Boxy. These are the shapes of coats for fall and winter. These roomy coats make layering over sweaters and jackets easy. Just remember to keep it narrow on the bottom with slim skirts or skinny pants. No one wants to get lost in a fashion trend.
--Mixed media coats. Forget what you have on underneath these coats. They will do all the style work for you. Designers combine colors, textures and prints, as well as leathers, shearling and faux fur to come up with incredible coats that stand on their own. You can just leave those boring old coats at home. You'll want to show these off and wear them all day and night.
--Cascading capes. Little Red Riding Hood has grown up. Now she would be thrilled to swirl around in luxurious embroidered velvet, edgy leather or soft cashmere. From short, cropped versions to long, swingy styles, the cape is riding high once again.
--Blanket wraps. Throw it on and go, baby! Ward off the winter chills this year by cuddling up to the ultimate in softness and trendsetting fashion: a blanket coat. Think folkloric prints, whimsical patchworks and Southwestern patterns -- the perfect way to wrap up jeans and boots for fall weekends.
--Bomber jackets. The leather moto jacket is still a fashion favorite, but the newest bomber styles this fall have more of an athletic vibe reminiscent of varsity jackets all dressed up. Designers update the athletic bomber with a mix of textures and trims, zippers and hardware.
--Lumber jackets. In graphic buffalo plaids or tartans, this coat is a throwback to a more casual look that sets the "high-low" tone for a fashion statement when done in luxe shearling or luxurious plaid wools. The country casual pattern gets dressed up for fall and hacks its way onto the big city streets.
--Chubby faux furs. Puffy parkas may still be around, but there are other big girls making the coat scene in town this fall. The "chubby" is back: a delightfully short fuzzy coat that was a hit on the runways in exaggerated silhouettes. The newest chubbies are always luxurious in all their shaggy fluff, but the trendiest versions are turning up in a rainbow of colors, from the palest of pink to the brightest of blue.
--Menswear coats. This one is a classic that never seems to go out of style. Classic and tailored, this coat can be knee-length or longer and is one of the best "goes with everything" coats you can buy -- a great investment for your wardrobe. Try one in camel for even more fashion longevity, or have a little more fun with a leopard print coat.
--Sleeveless coats: One of my favorite cover-ups for fall, the longer vest-like coats are great for transitional fall days when the weather can be warm during the day and cooler at night. This piece also provides a great base for layering over sweaters, shirts and tees. It's one of the most versatile outerwear pieces you can buy this season.
Sharon Mosley's weekly column, "In Fashion," can be found at creators.com.