The Perfect Fall Coat

When August approaches, I get this defeatist attitude and make comments like, “It’s already winter.” I start to notice how night sets in minutes earlier with each passing week. And if that wasn’t bad enough, I begin to feel the lovely first signs of seasonal affective disorder. On the bright side, fall is my favourite fashion season, and one way I can combat the terminal winter condition is to piece together the perfect winter wardrobe.

View Adrian’s picks for the best fall coats.

But such a wardrobe poses challenges: It’s a season of layers. And let’s not forget the multitude of social and familial events one needs to contend with. So where should a person start? Simple–with the winter coat.

Yes, ladies, this one important garment (which can consume almost a third of the average person’s seasonal budget) usually foreshadows your style direction for the entire season. For me, that’s a stressful commitment. Take last year’s coat. The scene begins with me walking down Toronto’s Bloor Street in mid-August with no idea that I was about to drop a small fortune. I took the last sip of some overpriced concoction from Starbucks while gazing into the window of an extremely pricey boutique–and laid my eyes on what became last winter’s longest love affair: a stunning Yohji Yamamoto floor-length, double-breasted, black wool coat. I walked into the boutique with a torn T-shirt, ripped shorts and old sandals, only to apologetically request a test drive of this fine piece of craftsmanship. It fit like a glove, and I instantly pulled out my already damaged credit card and said those two lovely words that always get us in trouble: “Charge it.”

If you’re hoping to find the perfect winter coat, waiting for the climate to change is not the way to begin the search. Winter coats hit the stores as early as the end of July, and by the end of August the pickings for a fine multi-purpose winter coat become dismal. Wait even longer and you’d better be someone who can wear vibrant colours paired with obscure geometric shapes. For those of us who live in a part of the world where winter reigns, buying a winter coat becomes a serious mission. It needs to be warm, practical, fashionable and of the season. It must be able to transition from business to weekend wear, and most importantly, it has to work with the clothing you already have. For most women, this is a time when price doesn’t even make the top five concerns for purchase. And when you think of how much wear you get out of it, paying regular price and getting the one you really want is just smart shopping.

I believe that the savvy shopper begins to look for her coat at the end of July. She strolls around her favourite shops on weekends to see the first arrivals of those precious garments. By the first week of August, she has narrowed her search to her top three. The first is usually a show-stopper, but way too fashion forward; the second is something her mother would suggest as a “good winter coat”; and the third is normally the happy medium that she knows she will have a long-lasting relationship with. After a couple lunch breaks of courting, the savvy shopper makes her way to the boutique one Friday after work in mid-August to commit to her look for the entire fall season.

Rules of Engagement:

  1. Every winter coat should have two years of wear in it, regardless of how many or how often you will buy one.
  2. Remember to try your coat on over a sweater or blazer. We normally try on winter coats when still in summer clothes, and no one wants an ill-fitting garment that they spent a mortgage payment or two on.
  3. The right colour is essential. This season, black and grey are definitely the colours du jour, but consider camel if you are tired of dressing dark–it acts like a neutral colour that goes with everything in one’s wardrobe.
  4. Stay basic in cut and colour and have all your fun with texture and textiles. Italy has invested big bucks to create some unusual and interesting textiles that designers this season such as Miuccia Prada, Valentino, Stefano Pilati at YSL and Frida Giannini at Gucci had major love affairs with. Since the human form rarely changes, it’s about time we look to textiles for something different.

As for me, I’ve already bought my winter coat du jour. Now, paying for it is going to be the challenge du jour.

View Adrian’s picks for the best fall coats.

The post The Perfect Fall Coat appeared first on FASHION Magazine.

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