Miss Scarlet asked:
I need a new winter coat. A warm one that is also fashionable, but I'm over the pea-coat look and that's all I see out there! I have two of those and I want something DIFFERENT. Any thoughts?
Dearest Miss Scarlet:
I hear ya. A peacoat can be fun, especially if it's in a non-navy hue, but there really are options out there. This winter, designers are putting little details on outerwear (not just coats - you'll see what I mean in a minute), and changing up silouhettes just enough to be perfectly presentable not just this year, but down the road a piece.
First, you could go for the layered thing (if, of course, unlike me you're not feeling bloated and can manage to pick that just-right selection of pieces that doesn't make you feel like a little kid getting ready to go out in the snow). Personally, I'm a fan of the finished "puffy vest." By finished I mean, of course, that it's not just a big poofball of quilted down. That's all fine & good for horse country (paired with duck boots & Levis, natch), but for most women, we need a little shape. Try the detachable hoodie version at Target. Note the tapered waist. Perfect for a crisp winter morning, especially if you have a wool sweater & scarf (and great gloves)! Then, when the sun comes out, you can peel a layer or two, and still feel protected from the winter wind. But this doesn't get you to work, probably. Just not professional enough.
Now, when you say "winter coat," I get flashbacks of my grandmother taking me school shopping and making sure I have a coat that covers my fanny. Yup, for years, all of my coats had to hit below my rear end (which might explain why I have winter coat complexes). But it is, quite frankly, practical. A cute little wool blazer, or the vest above, just ain't gonna cut it if it's freezing, and especially if it's wet & rainy like it usually is Washington Winters. So here are a couple of recommendations for covering your bum...
My favorite, though admittedly a huge budget reach, is this lovely Searle "poet coat." It's wearable, feminine, and the belt gives it some shape that winter coats don't otherwise have. Ok, so I'm an incurable romantic...
Next up, try the juniors section. Less likely to have the boring ol' peacoat in 1000 colors, you can find the "in" shapes and colors. My own winter coat is off-white, so I'm partial to this one (which also comes in black). It's oh, so very grown-up, but isn't a grown-up price. (oh, crap, Blogger's misbehavin', and doesn't want to post pics - will you pardon it, and just follow the links?!)
Then there's a babydoll. Yup, a babydoll coat. BP at Nordstrom has this one in a lovely plum (they call it spice) tone. It's forgiving and dainty all at the same time. It'll do well either in the classroom, boardroom, or on the way to an evening out.
And lastly, my nod to the runway, I'm in love with capes. This one is suitably bum-covering (though I personally love the shorter ones - they remind me of a time gone by). I think the shape of a cape is fun and elegant, and can go uptown or downtown, depending on what you do with it. It'll cover up an evening gown ('cause we're all in gowns all the time, but hey!), and still look as perfect topping a pair of straight-cut (or cigarette, if you just have to go there) cords or jeans. Just promise me you won't go full-prep like the J. Crew model. It's just way too much, even for JC.
Let us know what you end up with, Miss Scarlet!