At This Moment: The Perfect Winter Coat

By on October 27th, 2011 0 Comments

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I don’t know where you’re from, but in California where I live, it’s still 80 degrees. So while I keep putting off my summer clothes storage, I can’t help but dream about my fall wardrobe—er, make that my winter wardrobe. I mean, it’s almost November!

And what is the most important component of a fall/winter wardrobe, you ask? Yes, you need a great pair of boots, a few fuzzy scarves and a new showstopper handbag, but it’s your winter coat that creates the biggest and most immediate impact. It’s the item you wear everyday, what friends and coworkers see you in first—your signature piece; and yet, it amazes me how little thought people put into purchasing a winter coat. The same nondescript black coat does diligent duty for years on end. It probably doesn’t fit; it surely no longer looks current or even slightly interesting.

I agree that practical is important, but how about pretty? Thankfully, this season is not about the blah, mid-thigh black coat with big shiny black buttons. (Wow, just writing that bored me.) There are countless fun options for all styles and budgets.

The first thing to consider when buying a new winter coat is a.) the climate you live in and b.) your overall personal style. Don’t pick up a floor length puffer if you live in sunny San Diego. A cropped lightweight wool jacket or sweater coat might do the trick. If you live in your casual sportswear, don’t even think about purchasing a cape. Stick to sporty anoraks or puffers. Below are a few outerwear options to consider investing in this season.

The Classic Peacoat


The prepster’s dream, this classic coat now comes in a plethora of colors that have left navy and black in their rainbow-hued dust. I have about four double-breasted peacoats in my closet (because I am a wannabe inhabitant of Maine and the L.L. Bean catalog). My favorites are from J. Crew and in shades of raspberry, canary yellow, and periwinkle. Perfect with bright pants and a striped tee.

The Dramatic Cape


The newest “it” look in coats this season, the cape is a must-have if you favor dramatic silhouettes or your heart flip-flops at the word “boho.” Eschew black in favor of a traditional camel color or an autumnal green to keep it fresh. If you’re a minimalist, streamline the rest of your outfit—skinny pants, a slim turtleneck, and sleek handbag. If your style is more eclectic, layer a printed dress and cardigan with wooly tights and tasseled booties.

The Sporty Anorak

Joseph Altuzarra parka. Credit:

The description “sporty” belies the versatility of this outerwear star. A little grungy nineties, a little military chic, and the height of androgynous cool, the anorak (or parka) adds edge to most outfits. American designer Joseph Altuzarra showed it best for fall, by pairing his army green anoraks with floaty, feminine dresses in bold shades of red and burgundy. Luxe up your anorak further with a fur-lined hood or a satiny-finish, or keep your outfit casual with jeans and sneakers.

Other hot outerwear options include cocoon coats and cropped furs—though it’s hard to imagine it’ll ever get cold enough to wear them! Hey, I’m still waiting to pull out my flimsy cashmere cardigans. But maybe that’s not such a bad thing…

Saimah Ashraf is a contributing writer at She blogs about fashion and style at Street Number Eight.