Jacket Trends

By Sharon Naylor

July 8, 2011 5 min read

Covering up never has been so stylish! This season, jackets stole the show on the fashion runways, and here are the hottest trends for your outerwear panache, straight from some of the top fashion experts.

*Styles of Jackets

Fall's trendy waist-length, or cropped, jacket is three-quarter-sleeve in khaki or denim, worn over layers of color-coordinated T-shirts or a casual button-down shirt and complemented with jeans or a flowing floral skirt.

As the temperatures dip, the silhouette for classic, long jackets is ladylike, with a slight flare out from the waist, such as in belted trench coats shown by everyone from Marc Jacobs to Armani. The femininity of the cinched waist and the flare over the hips, with a bit of swing to the coat as you walk, brings in the understated elegance of the season's biggest trends in fashion as a whole.

Jen? Luciani, a regular style contributor for the "Today" show, says: "The belted peacoat is one of my top five fall/winter must-haves. The peacoat is a fall classic, but with cinched silhouettes taking over the runway, buying a belted version seems fresh for this year."

The biker jacket trend is wildly popular -- in black, brown or bright tones -- adding some edge to your look. Choose leather in either unadorned style or one with lots of silver buckles and straps for a detailed coat over a simpler, less adorned dress or outfit.

"Cape jackets can also be very warm and, at the same time, look adorable. Tons of tweed patterns, checks and wools made their way in this season, and paired with a dark pair of jeans, these jackets are fun and very flattering," says celebrity wardrobe stylist Jeni Elizabeth, who has worked with Gwyneth Paltrow, Paris Hilton and other stars.

*Accents and Color

Luciani says: "Whether it be faux or real, you've got to have fur in some form. Those fur vests from last fall and winter are still going strong. This season, try a shorter capelet style for fun." The entire jacket may be faux fur, or it may have a fur-accented collar for trendy style.

Pum Lefebure, co-founder and creative director of Design Army, says: "For the fall, a bold color will make you stand out." In addition to classic blacks, browns, camels and winter whites, choose more vibrant hues, such as bright orange, blood red and hot pink. Muted jewel tones -- such as dark blue, hunter green and deep purple -- also lead the fall-winter jacket trends.

Patterns are hot for this season, as well. Bold graphic patterns are in, such as color blocks and animal prints, as well as the always-chic Burberry checked patterns in purple and black, red and tan, or brown with oranges, yellows and beiges.

*Take It Outside

For outerwear intended to protect against the cold rather than simply serve as fashion statements, fabrics such as tartan, tweed and sheepskin are in demand, especially in green, gray and brown. Puffy parkas also come in neutrals and brights for fall and winter warmth.

*Choosing the Silhouette for You

Fit is your biggest priority, according to Constance Dunn, style specialist and author of "Practical Glamour." "A key part of selecting the best cold-weather jacket has to do with understanding which proportions and length will suit you best," she says. Here are her three top guidelines on strategically selecting the best coat for your figure:

--"Consider your physical size, and select from items that scale nicely with your overall frame. A puffy down coat won't flatter if you're on the petite or short side.

--"To visually extend your legs, don't wear long or oversize jackets. A well-tailored jacket that ends at the top of the hips, paired with a pair of slacks or skirt in the same or a complementary color, is a smart fall solution that lends a long line to the shorter woman. Petite women shouldn't go longer in length than the crotch.

--"To cover a large derri?re, skip the long coats that shroud your entire figure. Instead, choose a chic duster jacket in a flattering color that ends at the middle of your thighs. The shape of such a jacket is important, so make sure it is a soft A-line shape -- neither super-fitted up top nor noticeably flared from the waist down. Avoid cropped, structured jackets that end at the waist or above, such as a matador or motorcycle cut."

Try on jackets at a store to see how this season's styles and silhouettes work with your figure. Many department stores have stylists who will select jacket options from the racks for you and help accessorize them with the perfect boots, heels, jewelry and handbags.

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