A Coat, A Coat… My Kingdom for a Coat

I think even a crazy bastard like Richard III would agree that pretty coats are undoubtedly one of the biggest perks of cold weather. Ok, Richard III really has nothing to do with coats, but its my favorite bard play. But coats… ah coats. They give us a world of opportunity in the winter – the chance to wear not one outfit per day, but two!

A coat, my friends, is so much more than merely a necessary layer of warmth on a frigid February morning. I shudder at the thought of owning just one coat; I am crestfallen when I see a woman in a beautiful suit who has thrown a catch-all parka or anorak over an ensemble that is screaming out for a knee-length camel colored Kenneth Cole raincoat; I die a little inside when I attend a winter wedding and watch scores of women top their carefully selected evening gowns with their regular ol‘ wear-to-work jacket.

Coats are extensions of an outfit. In the winter, often the first impression that people have of us is outdoors (ok I made that up, but whatever, coats are awesome go buy 8 of them) Therefore, a coat or jacket should echo and compliment the feeling of the outfit beneath. Would I wear my cream colored wool knee length swing coat over sweats and sneakers? No, because these items do not have a symbiotic fashion relationship. Also, I prefer not to look like white trash.

You need a coat for all occasions – a coat for all seasons – one coat, two coats, ten coats for everyone!

Again, I have to blame and thank my shopoholic mother for this illness as well. Maria, I’d wager, has a windbreaker in at least 5 different colors, at least ten distinct winter coats, and a special “swing” coat for cold weather special occasions. On many a Thanksgiving Eve, I have been called in to offer my opinion on the question that often plagues my mother before any given holiday: Which of these ten scarves looks best with this coat?

And, thus, here I am. Age 32. I own 9 winter coats, having just added a lovely wool Anne Klein number to my collection last week, a bushel of scarves and a peck of gloves and mittens. Am I obsessive and crazy? Possibly, but I think this has nothing to do with my perspective on outerwear.

For me, outerwear is like a special costume, and it often makes me feel like a character in a movie. Two years ago, I was perusing a magazine, and I came upon the Jessica Simpson coat, below. I knew it was my destiny – I must own this coat! It would make me feel simultaneously like Madeline and Twiggy circa 1967. I searched and searched – stores, online, I prayed to Jesus to send me this coat via my friends at UPS, but alas, the coat was not to be found. I have to say, it ruined the winter of 2008-2009, and although I found a semi-suitable substitute in the Victoria’s Secret catalogue, I’ve never quite gotten over my unrequited longing for the red plaid Jessica Simpson coat. It brings a tear to my eye.

In my online travails, I have come across this plaid jacket, from VS.com. Although it doesn’t fill the void in my heart for the Jessica Simpson coat, it might help me to drown my sorrows.

I love the look of a fur collar, but I won’t wear a poor rabbit around my neck. This coat, from Old Navy, features faux fur and is very affordable.

This bright blue coat, from Old Navy, would be adorable over a dress and black tights.

Ah Loft, you never let me down. This coat – “the officers coat” – has really interesting hardware details. It would look adorable with jeans and camel boots.

Maybe you don’t want to own a million coats. Although I cannot understand that, if you can only purchase ONE coat, make it a classic shape, like this Jcrew coat below, and choose Camel. Its neutral, and it can be worn with both black-based AND brown-based outfits. Ew to you if you wear a black coat with brown pants. Camel.

You do NOT have to spend a ton of cash to build your outerwear collection. This coat, from Target, is only $35 (yes!! $35!!) and comes in Camel, Black and Cream. You should probably buy all three.

I’m not one for ski-jackets. I think its because I was scarred as a child because my mother would force me to wear my cousin’s hand-me-downs. I especially remember one awful orange ski jacket. Thinking about putting such a thing on my body almost sends me into convulsions, but this jacket, from LLbean, is quite feminine. And, again, the fur is faux.

Does winter make you sad? Well, shush and put on this yellow coat, from Delias. PS – its available in 7 colors including bright pink and bright green.

On one of those November mornings when its chilly, but by noon it will probably be in the 60’s, I choose to wear a sweater coat, like this one from Anthropologie. Its called “Alice in Autumn” – how cute is that?

I love Anne Klein coats, like this one below – and if you go to Marshalls you’ll find tons of them for half of what you’d pay in Bloomingdales or Macys!

Who among us hadn’t struggled with outerwear when wearing a gown in the winter time? Its probably one of the biggest problems facing our world today, and I’m pretty shocked that I didn’t hear it addressed during the elections. Well, if I were running for office, I would give you two options for evening outerwear. The first is the maxi-coat, here from Chadwicks.

If you can’t see the use in buying a full length coat to wear only a handful of times (even though you’ll get years of use out of a classic shape like the coat above!) then may I suggest a cape? Yes, a cape. This cape, from Theory, can easily be dressed up or down. Plus when you wear it you’ll probably feel like batman.

I have to say that I love Anthropologie. There is no other clothing site at which I can type “peacock” into the search engine and receive a page of results. I was asked by a lovely Pennsylvanian lass, for what occasion and to what venue would one wear the Prancing Peacock wrap, below? Well, first let me tell you that I would pair the Prancing Peacock wrap with a long sleeve cream colored turtleneck, dark wash skinny jeans and either ballet flats or knee high boots. That being said, I can imagine wearing this outfit to something as cosmopolitan as a gallery opening, but why limit yourself? Why not wear this holiday shopping? We all know that once you walk into a mall in December the temperature raises about 87 degrees. Who wants to carry a coat around? Not I. This wrap is warm enough to keep the chill out as you walk from your car to the mall, but is not so terribly bulky so that you’d be sweating your ass off after 5 minutes in Lord and Taylor. How about the movies? We all know its arctic in a movie theater, and wearing your coat might feel stiff and uncomfortable. This wrap would act like a blanket, keeping you warm and comfortable for 2+ hours. It IS a pricey item, so why not use it as your holiday special clothing item thing? You could pair it with dress pants instead, and it could easily be taken to an office party, Christmas dinner at the in laws, or even a New Years Eve extravaganza. Dress it up, dress it down. It can really go anywhere you want it to go.

This scarf, also from anthropologie, has a little bit of sheen, but the “around the neck” area is still superwarm. It’s the perfect scarf for a winter wedding or a holiday party.

I enjoy this scarf, from Anthropologie, because it reminds me of Native American culture, which I spent years studying in grad school and yet do nothing with in my present life. But I do enjoy a good Louise Erdrich novel, and when I read one next I’ll be wearing this “Untold Stories” scarf as I do so.

This butterfly scarf, from “Spun by Subtle Luxury” would be perfect for March, when its still chilly but you can see Spring on the horizon.

I love this yellow plaid scarf from Loft because it makes me feel like a female lumberjack.

Why would one need pockets on a scarf? I have no idea, but this Gap scarf looks warm and soft, and that’s all I care about. I probably would NOT put loose change in it, though. Just a warning.

Oh Burberry, I long for ye, and yet I cannot afford ye.

I’m a huge hat person. I think its because I did theatre for so many years. I like to put funny odd things on my head. When I was little, JcPenney used to have a big hat section, and I would spend what seemed like hours trying them on and forcing my mom to look at me. I especially loved the hats that had the little attached veil. This hat, from Kohls (yup!) reminds me of those afternoons in JcPenney.

This hat, from Aqua, would be great for a holiday date in the City. I’d wear it with my red coat and black mittens and I would look so adorable, that people would probably just stop to take my photo. I wouldn’t be surprised if I discovered myself on the back page of Glamour as “do” after wearing that outfit. Well, great, now I have to order this hat.

Call me gay, but I love a beret. I stopped wearing them, though, because people used to tell me I looked like Monica Lewinsky when I wore it. Now that’s she’s old news, I might resurrect the look. This studded beret is from Juicy Couture.

Boring ski hat? Nay. This is much cuter, from Park Hurst.

I own these mittens, from Isotoner, in two colors. They are the warmest best most awesome super good mittens ever! I enjoy a mitten sometimes because they don’t pull on my rings. You should buy these. They’re only $13-ish and you can find them at Kohls.

Dressy gloves? I say sign me up. These are from Anthropologie.

If I wore these gloves, from Ralph Lauren, I would feel like a really stylish drum major.

Baby, its cold outside – and you need a coat! Or 12.

**** Style Alert ****

I have just come to learn that Chadwicks, formerly only a retailer of mom-like clothes, has revamped and they have a whole section of designer favorites, including August Silk and CK. I just visited the site, and they have many dresses and coats that I would love to own. They still have some pretty lame stuff on there too, so you have to peruse the site. Some items worth taking a glance at:

3 thoughts on “A Coat, A Coat… My Kingdom for a Coat

  1. KK

    great post! I love all of those gloves and I second the mittens (since I now own a pair–wink wink!) they are delightful!

    The Prancing Peacock wrap is fabulous. It's probably like $120 though!



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