As crisp cool temperatures turn to blustery and cold . . .
A well-edited outerwear capsule can combat wintry elements and elevate style. Braving the cold becomes an act of comfort and beauty, when the outerwear capsule embraces rich fabrics, timeless silhouettes, fine tailoring, and thoughtful details.
The cost to assemble an outwear capsule can take a substantial chunk of the wardrobe budget. I like to think of my winter outerwear purchases as an investment in the wardrobe and a form of amortization. An outerwear purchase invested in quality, craftsmanship, and tailoring can actually decrease the initial cost of the garments. It will wear longer and continue to look more refined with the passage of the seasons.
Trends in coats can certainly vary from season-to-season. In my experience, it is often the simplest or the classics that are the chicest coats. While I may regularly sweep and update the seasonal wardrobe, my outerwear capsule requires less maintenance and updates. After many years of assembling an outerwear capsule for around-town polish or off-duty activities, I’m enamored with the outwear pieces below for many of the reasons I cited above, as well as, these qualities: refined basic lines, maximum versatility, superb comfort, and befitting proportions -- beautiful as well as practical!
My Cold-Weather Outerwear Pieces
Camel-Hair Polo Coat:
In the late 1800’s, polo players wore long robe-like coats made from camel hair to keep warm during resting periods of polo matches. Because of the coat’s warmth, comfort, and practicality, the polo was soon adopted by the 20‘s collegiate set. Initially constructed from the underbelly of the Bactrian camel, camel-hair was expensive and delicate. Later the camel hair was mixed with lambswool to minimize production costs. Today lesser versions of the camel coat are a mix of wool and cashmere. An authentic camel-hair coat is a forever buy piece.
I adore my camel coat. The camel coat is a quintessential staple for the outerwear capsule. It mixes casually sporty with my denim and off-duty pieces. Yet performs splendidly for around-town polish when worn with office and more polished pieces. Because camel is a neutral, it complements most colors of my cold-weather color palette.
A well-tailored coat is the most versatile item in my outerwear capsule. Although, I desire the coats in my outerwear capsule to style up or down and be nimble for a variety of life occasions, my black tailored coat is the most versatile and adaptable for varied activities. Years ago, and I do mean years ago, I purchased a black wool and cashmere blend coat from J. Crew. Because of it’s refined basic lines and quality construction, my black coat is just as stylish as the day I bought it. The fabrication gives a luxurious softness, beautiful drape, and wears well. It is knee-length -- long enough to pair well with most of skirts, dresses, and trousers. Styling the coat is as simple as mixing scarves, gloves, and hats.
Shearling is one of the most practical coats for the coldest months of the year. It is my everyday go-to piece for uncomfortable winter forecasts. I love to layer it with off-duty pieces such as jeans, leggings, and flannel shirts. It is equally chic mixed with classic tailored separates. A shearling coat is a substantial purchase, but a forever buy that you will wear and adore. I was very fortunate to find my shearling coat at the end-of-the-season sale from a reputable brand.
Why buy a shearling coat? Shearling is an excellent investment for those who live in very cold climates. Shearling has luxurious softness and superior suppleness, as well as, it keeps the wearer warm and comfortable in extreme cold temperatures. Shearling garments are also very strong and durable. Most shearling is water-resistant. At the end of the cold-weather season, professional dry-clean and store your shearling coat in a dry place, preferably in a cloth garment bag.
When bundling up becomes more of a necessity than a fashion statement, a puffer coat is just the ticket. The best are quilted in a water-resistant outer shell with down filling. Look for a style that will keep you warm but not too puffy. Otherwise, we risk looking and feeling like an over-sized marshmallow. If a puffer coat is just too fluffy, layer a quilted vest over or under your basic winter coat. Stay warm and cozy when the mercury plummets to single digits with a no-nonsense puffer coat.
The pea coat has nautical origins. The heavy wool coat was worn by sailors and fisherman for warmth and comfort. Legionary fashion designer, Coco Chanel, who enjoyed yachting, introduced the utilitarian, nautical coat as a chic outerwear option for the modern woman. Years later, iconic fashion designer, Yves Saint Laurent was inspired to reintroduce the pea coat as an everyday classic.
My pea coat is an original Navy issue. Like the fashion designers before me, I was inspired to raid my husband’s closet and incorporate his naval issue pea coat as an everyday outwear basic. Although, I wear this coat more as an off-duty piece, depending on which garments I choose to wear, my look can become sporty or polished, contemporary or traditional, feminine or masculine.
An evening coat is probably one of the last items to add when investing in the outerwear capsule. It is a nice inclusion, especially for holidays and special occasions. Let this cover-up be about making a style statement or dramatic entrance. Consider luxurious fabrics such as jacquard, velvet, silk, or fur. The beauty of embroidery and embellishment are the perfect trimmings for the makings of an utterly delightful evening coat or cape.
I don’t have an evening coat or cape in the truest sense of outerwear. But, I do have a velvet jacket that I wear during the holiday season and for wintry special occasions. The velvet jacket was a gift from my mother-in-law several years ago. It is the perfect substitute for an evening coat or cape. I encourage you to consider including an evening coat/cape or at minimum an evening jacket into your outerwear capsule. You’ll probably not wear an evening coat as frequently as other outerwear items, but you’ll never stress about a cover-up for a formal engagement or special occasion. And the bonus -- you’ll look and feel beautiful!
I respect that there are individuals that think animal parts should never be used in consumer products. However, down, shearling, wool, and fur are recognized as some of the best natural insulators. Select your outerwear garments from brands that ethically source down, fur, shearling, and wool.
Please note: I do not receive any form of compensation from the brands mentioned or represented in this article.
Header image courtesy of pexels.com