Bundle Up

By Diane Schlindwein

July 17, 2009 4 min read


Snuggle up in the right coat for a chic cold-weather look

Diane Schlindwein

Creators News Service

When the weather outside turns frightful, you can still turn heads by donning some fantastic outerwear. A great-looking coat, which you can wear for years, is a good investment -- especially in a recession. Take a look at what's out there and you might even look forward to winter.

Cynthia Dunham, vice president of outerwear for Burlington Coat Factory, said a classic black coat never goes out of style. "Black is always number one," she said. In addition, "purple, fuchsia, gray and plaids are always good choices."

Jana O'Leary, a spokesperson for Target, agreed that color is making a comeback. "Plaid outerwear is a key look for fall," she said.

With coats, there is something for everyone. O'Leary pointed to the Converse One Star Moto fleece jacket, which is great for a rocker-chic look, while a cotton twill hooded peacoat remains a classic, no matter which color you choose.

Dunham noted that both faux fur and faux leather are once again in style this season, along with coats that have faux fur trim.

Leather jackets are a versatile way to dress up jeans or dress down skirts or trousers, and now everyone can have it. "Leather jackets remain a must-have this season and now women have an affordable option with a leather jacket from the exclusive Anna Sui for Target collection," O'Leary said.

Another hot look in cool-weather gear is the women's retro coat. Some designers are going for that 1940s feel, complete with round shoulders and cinched waists. Think classic Ingrid Bergman.

There's a reason trench coats have been so popular for so long -- they are a very flattering look for women. Of course, men like them, too.

Whether you are woman or a man, you'll probably want to wear your trench coat for a few years. It makes sense to pick a darker color that will show fewer stains and hold its "new" look longer.

"Although black and gray are staples for men, we are seeing more patterns this year," Dunham said. "Men's coats have more details -- epaulets, military influence, and bib insets."

"Men's jackets are modernized this season with military-style flap pockets," O'Leary added.

Moms and dads who are buying coats for children should remember that kids grow quickly. They also feel more comfortable in a coat that allows some wiggle room. Dunham said bubble coats and system jackets will continue to be popular with the younger set.

Finally, remember that gloves and accessories can make or break a winter look. Remember first lady Michelle Obama's much noticed green leather J. Crew gloves that were such a hit at this year's presidential inauguration? As the first lady showed us, color is good, especially when accessorizing.

"For fall, scarves channel rocker inspirations with a variety of chic options ... including fringed, burnout jersey and plaid pattern styles," O'Leary said. "Lightweight scarves pull together looks this season, adding the perfect touch of urban edge."

"Really, anything goes," Dunham said, commenting about matching scarves and gloves to coats.

Chances are once the snow starts falling and winter wears on, you may have lost an accessory somewhere. So if you find that perfect pair of gloves or a scarf you love, you might want to buy two, just in case.

No matter what you choose -- one coat or two -- Dunham said it's most important to pick something you feel comfortable wearing. "I'd say that with women, a 36-inch coat is always most popular. The second-most popular is the peacoat," Dunham said. "For men, I'd say mid-thigh or peacoat. Additional coats would depend on lifestyle."

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