Styling a winter staple

Published On: December 14, 2018 09:57 AM NPT By: The Week Bureau

If there’s one clothing staple that you must have in your wardrobe this season then that’s definitely a coat. It can up your style quotient with minimal effort. Coats are essential part of your wardrobe because they keep you warm, come in all shapes and sizes and are very fashionable and versatile. But with the number of silhouettes and styles they can be found in these days, it can be hard to figure out what kind of coat you want to go with for a certain kind of look. Designer and fashion instructor Kabita Pokharel, from Toonaz Institute of Fashion, guides us through the different styles of coats and also gives some useful tips regarding the right ways to style them.

Trench coats
A trench coat is, hands down, the most popular form of coats for all occasions. If you don’t know what a trench coat is, you can distinguish it by it military-esq profile that is usually loosely fitted around the body of the wearer and has a wide belt around the middle. First seen on British soldiers, actively fighting in the First World War, it has since then been adapted as a fashionable outerwear and has never been considered an outdated piece of clothing. 

According to Pokharel, a trench coat is very easy to style. Because its built is so elaborate, it’s usually the centerpiece for any look that you are going for. It can act as an outerwear if you wear it with the buttons (and belt) undone and over your actual outfit – which can be anything from jeans and a t-shirt to long winter dresses and stockings. Or you can also use your trench coat as the base of your outfit by creating your whole look around it. For this, you must wear a long trench coat (long here means anything past your calves or just above your ankles) so that it hides everything that you wear underneath it. Pair it with your favorite ankle boots and a handbag and you have got the chic look down. If you want to style a shorter trench coat in a similar way, then just wear a pair of neutral colored stockings underneath it and make sure whatever you are wearing on your upper body – inside the trench coat – is visible.

Duster coats
In terms of how they look, duster coats are quite similar to trench coats. They are long, loosely fitted, and can turn any drab outfit into a show stopping one. But unlike trench coats, they are very thin and flimsy and will not provide any warmth unless paired with something thicker. They were originally worn by cowboys and mainstream fashion houses picked up this trend in the early 1920s when traveling long distance in open cars was trendy.

Duster coats are very versatile and because the designers don’t have to think about keeping the wearer warm while creating it, they take all sorts of liberty to distort and add onto its original form. The first thing to do if you want to style a duster coat with your outfit this winter is to make sure you have a warm outfit underneath it. Pokharel suggests keeping the base of your outfit neutral and basic because you don’t want anything else distracting anyone from the highlight of your look – the duster coat.  But for anyone who is up for a slightly quirky look, she suggests wearing these basics in bright colors. “But make sure everything you wear is of the same color because nothing looks more horrible than bright green pants paired with something like an orange sweater,” adds Pokharel. Sheer duster coats worn over sweater dresses in contrasting colors will work as a stylish outfit for a more formal occasion.

Cape coat
If you feel like dressing up this winter, a cape coat is your go-to clothing item. It’s very chic, a bit formal and makes the wearer feel stylish and proper. If its name isn’t a dead giveaway, a cape coat is a fashionable outerwear – especially for the winter season – that fits into your shoulder like a cape and then flows down your body loosely engulfing it. Historically, capes were a common clothing item Europeans got dressed in during the medieval period and have been in and out of fast fashion trends for a long time.

Wearing your cape coat with a collared top or dress makes you look very prim, proper and formal. For a fancy event or a party, pick a cape in silver color or one that is adorned with jewels and looks a little flashy and over the top. Pair it with dark colored tight bottoms and a chic bag and you are good to go. Although wearing a cape means you will always look dressed up, Pokharel reveals that you can still style it in a way that will make your look more casual. For this, she suggests wearing a pair of loose joggers or blue jeans with athletic white stripes on the sides and a pair of sneakers.

Pokharel’s take on trendy coats
Pokharel mentions that while skimming through the F/W 2018-19 trends, ones that jump out to her the most is the play on patterns and prints. She mentions that we are going to see a lot of coats that are checkered, with animal prints, and made out of plaid and tweed this season. So she advises pairing these loud coats with something in a complementary shade but without a defining pattern. She further adds that any shade of red goes well with all kinds of animal prints.

Since this season is also big on layering, Pokharel suggests you do the same with coats. “Wear a shorter, lighter, and tighter coat underneath a longer, more loosely fitted coat,” says Pokharel adding, “Just make sure both of these coats are not very colorful or loud because that might make you look a bit messy.”

Cocoon coats are also popping up this season but most people shy away from trying it on because it looks a little too over the top. Pokharel’s take on styling a cocoon coat is to simplify the rest of your outfit. She suggests wearing a pair of fitted jeans and a sleek turtleneck underneath it in a dark shade. “This balances out the overbearing nature of the cocoon coat,” she concludes. 

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