Just because we live in America’s Heartland doesn’t mean Midwest fashionistas can’t take our cues from high fashion. In the internet age, access to the trends evidenced in seasonal runway shows – New York, Milan, Paris – are just a click away, and while we probably aren’t going to pick up a BCBG Max Azria original anytime soon (along with 99 percent of the rest of the country) we can and should take a peek at what’s hot and adapt it to our somewhat more practical and conservative St. Louis area lifestyle.
No time to do the research? Not to worry – that’s my guilty pleasure, and I’m only too happy to do the footwork and pass along a little style cheat sheet to you now and then. Today, in honor of the increasingly chilly fall weather, five fall (to winter) coat trends to keep you cozy AND fashionable. And remember – indulging in a trend doesn’t have to be costly. Look no further than your local Target or shopping mall (the Galleria, St. Louis Mills or St. Clair Square should do) and you’ll find versions suitable for any budget.
The Cloak. A few years ago capes/cloaks started showing up hot and heavy on the runway for fall, and at the time I thought it had all the makings of a fad – BUT, this silhouette has crept into designer collections ever since and has kind of grown on me. If you crave drama, this trend is for you – but to keep it timeless enough to wear next year, pick one that is neutral or has a timeless pattern (like a small herringbone) and is free of trendy quickly-dated details (like feathers, studs, etc.).
Red Hot. Featured on the runway by everyone from Marchesa to Victoria Beckham, crimson is a key color for fall, so why not pump up a neutral wardrobe with one show-stopping red coat? Since red is such a statement, pick a piece that is classic in fabric and cut if you want it to last – skip the red satin cape, and look for a more understated peacoat, for example.
Luxe. Regardless of how you feel about fur, the real thing is just too darn expensive anyway, so indulge in the trend with faux, which is much better than it used to be. Now, in New York you might be able to do the luxe fur thing full-length and all-out, but in St. Louis? We’re gonna just stick with the trim – a nice classic wool coat with understated faux fur trim will give you that luxe glam without making you look like you just landed on Washington Avenue from the fashion equivalent of Mars.
Camel. Sound boring? Well, it could be if this were your great-grandma’s box shaped and to the floor camel coat, but for fall 2011 this chic neutral is seen on everything from military style jackets, the peacoat, a cinch-waisted trench-style and more. Picking a camel coat with shape is key to making it modern, and since “camel” comes in a multitude of shades – I’m partial to a deeper more dramatic olivey camel for this season, but keep your skin tone in mind when looking and pick a shade that is flattering on you.
Varsity. Not every coat for fall has to be dressy or business appropriate – some of us just need something casual and fun to keep us warm as the mercury drops. Varsity styling is HUGE this season, but being that this is a trend that will likely be here-and-gone (by fall 2012, anyway) do not spend too much. And unless you’re under 18, skip the big varsity letters, hot pink and quirky details – go for straight classic, understated vintage varsity (see: your mom – or your grandmom’s – high school yearbook). One caveat: back in the day, varsity jackets had more bulk – the 2011 version is roomy enough for comfort, but still must fit you, not your theoretical football team captain boyfriend.