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How to Choose a Fashionable Woman's Coat

Finding a Smart Girl's Coat can be Hard Work!

I love clothes shopping more than most girls but I find buying a fashionable coat is the closest clothes shopping ever gets to being hard work.

Lets face it, if you live in a cold climate then you and your coat will spend a lot of time together during the winter months.

Assuming you’ve chosen well you won’t want to alternate it with that that scruffy old anorak with the furry hood.

First thing you need to think about is avoiding anything novel or quirky (unless you are rolling in cash, that is). Find something that is classy, classic and will be wearable not only throughout the winter but for a few more winters to come.

Remember too that a coat needs to keep out the cold (grandma suck eggs comes to mind I know). In other words a warm coat! A classic winter coat should be just like a good man. Not just there for a one night stand but something you can snuggle up in and grow old with (yes, I know I’m an old romantic at heart!).

What Was I Thinking Of?

Choosing the coat is not just about love at first sight and a wild passionate fling. Think carefully about what you want the coat for.

Don’t wake up the next morning and say to yourself, “What was I thinking of?” when you spy that huge purple and green cape on your bedside chair.

Think what clothes you might wear under your coat. What length, style and colour will your skirts be?

Double Brested Military Coat with Bold Buttons

Double Brested Military Coat with Bold Buttons

Short Military Style Coat

Short Military Style Coat

Throw away your Favorite Pleated Mini?

If you plan to wear that old favourite, mid thigh, pleated mini (perhaps you should have thrown it away after college) then the length of your coat is irrelevant but if you favour maxi skirts then you need to think carefully about the coat length.

Yes I know that skirt has fond memories but you are no longer 16 (or even 23!) and desperate to be noticed by the boys – It really is time to grow up and bin that tarty little number!

What about Coat Length?

Back to coat length. If you like skirts then you need a coat that is either no more than 5cm shorter than your skirt or much shorter so that it becomes a three-quarter coat. Shape is also important. An A-line is good for pear-shaped women, belted for curvy women and dressing-gown coats work for bigger girls.

Finally, the fun bit starts with colour. Some say chose whatever shade makes you look amazing, regardless of what’s in vogue this season. Personally I’d ere on the side of caution and go for a classic shade such as camel, black, grey or navy. Then it will match most of your wardrobe.

What about trousers? Will you wear leggings or tights? Consider shoes (heels or flats) and boots (ankle length or over the knee)? Again think about colour and style too and how they will look with the chosen coat.

You see your coat and you are more like an arranged marriage than a brief, torrid affair. Winter coats are all about ‘Love in a Cold Climate’, not sex on the beach!

Next, think about whether your new object of desire and fulfillment (no not a man, we're back to the coat) should be belted, textured, have military undertones, animal prints, shades of camel, berry colours or a duffel style.

Note: this article is the copyright of Gina Coole and if it appears on any website other than then it has been stolen.

Lets check out a few fahionable coat trends:

Longer Military Style Coat

Longer Military Style Coat

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One: The Military Coat

The military look still has loads of mileage but it has evolved from the 2010 look that was more 19th century Georgian or Victorian.

The new look is more functional and utilitarian and inspired by the military uniforms of the 20th century.

There is a trend away from the army surplus feel towards something more stylish and tailored. A key element in these coats is a double breasted style with symmetrical military buttons.

From regal red with brass buttons to woollen khaki green, you can go as bold as you wish with colour and embellishment. You can also find stylish coats in shades such as black, beige, navy blue, yellow or grey.

Minimalists will love the clean lines that military-style coats offer. They are also ideal for streamlining the figure. Tip: Curvy girls should stick to single-breasted coats.

For a dressed down feel, wear your military coat open over a skinny jean or leggings, teamed with a chunky-heeled boot or flats. It'll be glamorous but without looking like you've tried too hard. For a smarter option, dress it up with a killer heel or an over-the-knee boot.

Short Camel Cape

Short Camel Cape

Two: The Cape

Capes are all about fantasy, superheroes and dressing up. Little girls like them but big girls love them even more!

Capes have been seen all over the catwalks this year; even normal coats were slung around models' shoulders minus sleeves. It's the ideal silhouette if you want to break away from traditional shapes.

You'll find plenty of great capes with a military theme but just as many that are pure 'civilian' with classic style that should stay in fashion for more than one season.

Fortunately, this year's capes are highly practical; with relatively short length and often have vents for the arms.

A warning. Don't try a traditional Jane Austin styled full length cape in a modern city.

You'll find handing over the plastic or mounting a subway train doesn't work well with your arms trapped inside your cape. This is why Jane Austin's heroines didn't own mobiles or travel on the tube.

Tip: Those gaping arm holes might let in the winter chill, so team with long-sleeved layers or elbow length gloves.

For more on Capes read the following: Fashionable Women's Capes for 2012

Oasis Leopard Faux Fur Coat

Oasis Leopard Faux Fur Coat

Three: Faux Fur Coat

There is something iconic about a fur coat. Anyone who watches old movies can't help but be drawn to this luxurious look.

OK so I know we don't want coats made from dead animals any more but fake fur offers a viable animal-friendly substitute.

On an icy winter days, when snow is in the air, there is nothing like snuggling up in a shaggy faux fur. From white to animal prints, furs were plentiful on the Chanel, Roberto Cavalli and Fendi catwalks this year.

No longer reserved for only evening wear, if texture is your thing and you want a glamorous alternative, look out for opulent fur numbers.

Tip: Keep the rest of your look 'flat' with body-hugging separates to balance the fuzzy silhouette of the coat.

Fabulous Burberry Aviator Jacket - But Not Cheap!

Fabulous Burberry Aviator Jacket - But Not Cheap!

Four: The Aviator Coat

Blame Burberry for this season's style obsession with the Aviator Look. This is characterised by a leather jacket, usually shearling or sheepskin, with a very high collar that is cosy and snug on cold winter days.

But you can still achieve the overall look with a biker or bomber jacket. You can then add an aviator scarf and a suitable hat or cap.

Finally add some boots, over the knee boots look great, and leather gloves.

The look can be presented in lots of different ways from androgynous shirt, thin tie and trousers to a more feminine look with handbag, floaty scarf, long or short skirt and colourful opaque tights.

TOP TIP: If you can afford it, avoid imitation fabrics and invest in a classic sheepskin style you'll love for years to come.

For more on the Aviator look, check out: Take Off With The Woman Aviator Jacket and Fashion Look.

Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) in London Fog Trench Coat

Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) in London Fog Trench Coat

Victoria Beckham in Short Trench with Shortened Sleeves

Victoria Beckham in Short Trench with Shortened Sleeves

Five: The Trench Coat

A personal favorite of mine, the trench coat originated as a military uniform worn by British and French soldiers during World War I on battlefields of France.

It was developed as an alternative to the heavy serge greatcoats being worn at the time.

The original coat had a characteristic double breast, D-ring, Napoleon collar, shoulder straps and a belt and was more suited to the extreme damp, muddy conditions in the trenches than the original greatcoat.

Interestingly, the Invention of the trench coat has been claimed by both Burberry and Aquascutum.

Thomas Burberry, the inventor of the gabardine waterproof fabric used in the original, submitted a design for an army officer's raincoat to the United Kingdom War Office in 1901.

We've been wearing them ever since. You can see how the style developed by trench coats worn by Ingrid Bergman in "Casablanca" and Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's".

Trench coats continue to look great, regardless of seasonal trends such as changes in length or silhouette.

This winter the Ladies Trench has been given a modern makeover. It is shorter, foxier and more casual, typically cut above the knee and is made of lighter fabrics than the original.

As well as more traditional classic shades of black, grey, beige, navy or camel you can also make more of a statement by wearing brighter shades of red, coral, green, yellow or even a leopard print.

The sleeves are often worn rolled up, ruched or gathered. Some designs have sleeves already cropped.

For more on trench coats check out: Chosing a Fashionable Trench Coat.

Summing Up

As you can see there are lots of coat styles to choose from this year. So whether you go for a conservative classic, for example, a long Trench Coat in navy. Or choose something short, wild and funky in faux fur, you'll find plenty on offer in the stores this Autumn/Fall.

If you can't be bothered to visit the High Street or a Mall then the good news is there are more clothes stores online that ever this year. So over to you. Go ahead and choose the coat of your dreams from the comfort of your sofa!

Winter Coats


Vaishali Agrawal from Gurgaon on June 10, 2016:

Wow, Nice collection.

Gina Coole (author) from London on April 13, 2011:

mysisters - thanks for the visit and glad you enjoyed - Victoria's Secret do stylish coats and they are good value (in the Sales!)

mysisters on April 11, 2011:

Great Hub. Great tips on how to choose a winter coat. I love the coats that you have pictured in your article. I have purchased a lot of my coats at Victoria's Secret when they have their sales.

Gina Coole (author) from London on December 07, 2010:

Thanks for stopping by, Runway - glad to found the tips useful!

Runway from New York on December 06, 2010:

Thanks for the great tips!

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