Exploring Winter Coats

By: Veronica Bessey

It’s that season again and Winter coats are here to stay for a bit.  As a fluffy girl I already have a little extra padding to keep me warm, so coats can be either a hinderance or act as light covering to add the last bit of pizazz to an outfit. 

Depending on where you live, coats are chosen either on warmth or as a completer piece to an outfit.  I live in Dallas where the winters are mild and we really only have a good month of cold weather any given year, usually February.  It is during the month of October when the smell of pumpkin spice lattes are in the air that I start longing to live in colder weather areas only in order to wear the fabulous coats in my closet that sit neglected all year.  I can just hear the quiet voices of my coats calling me to take them for a walk outdoors.  

All my winter coats live in my special coat closet.  I rarely go there but I imagine them in hibernation until the cold days of winter arrive.  This year with all that is happening, I have been clearing out all my closets and taking stock of my wardrobe. We’ll get into what that looks like in a later blog post.  I digress, but wouldn’t it be great to have a wardrobe like the one described in CS Lewis’s book The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe?!

Today, I  approached my coat closet with the full expectation that I would find Mr. Tummus on the other side standing next to the lamp post.  Nope, not today. Just a closet full of awesome coats that I have collected throughout my clothes journey.

picture of winter coats

Let me introduce you to my winter coats.

I collect vintage dresses and coats. I have a fabulous black long opera coat with pink lining.  Oh the memories of fancy diners and even fancier wiggle dresses and high heels!  Then there is a wonderful heavy wool coat with gold lining and very fancy gold and black buttons from the 1950’s.  My next one is a yellow plaid long swing coat made of 100% cashmere with a Lane Bryant logo on the inside made in the 1950’s.  My last gem is a camel color car coat made of 100% cashmere and has fur on the collar and on the cuffs.  That gem is from Burgdorf Goodman in New York circa 1950’s.  These special jewels start get taken out for a spin when the weather hits the 50’s.  

In my slightly more casual winter coat collection, I have a leopard car coat I got from Eloquii a few seasons ago, a leopard puffer jacket and a navy blue light weight cape that I look forward to wearing this season. …and also a purple corduroy car jacket as well as a magenta polka dot car coat that are more light weight that I look forward to wearing for the first time. These are my most valuable players in my coat closet- easier to style and definitely more versatile.

Please, don’t get me wrong, I have other friends in the wardrobe, but I’m a collector. You don’t have to have one winter coat for each day of the week. Just pick one or two in a neutral color and classic cut and you’ll look perfectly polished.

picture of vintage Bergdorf Goodman label.
picture of vintage Lane Bryant label

So, now let’s talk fit.

I am fluffy and have fluffy arms with a size 16 body but with my arms I always size up to a 20 to 24 depending on the fit.  I have broad shouldered, so I avoid shoulder pads to keep from adding volume there. 

Sizing up to accommodate my arms helps when if I want to layer I wont feel constricted.  Who else hates that feeling of too tight arms?  I am 5’10 and have a long torso so crop anything is not my first choice.  Crop tops or jackets always make me feel like the item shrunk and I am trying to make it fit somehow.  Not a good look for this girl! However, they work perfectly for Elle because of her shorter waist and fuller bum.

(Side note…The only time a crop anything works for me is if it paired with an empire waist dress to create balance.  Did I mention that along with a long torso I have fabulous and delicious jelly rolls?  Three to be exact that the crop just emphasizes.  So I will leave that trend to my wonderful ladies with short waists and smoother torsos and there’s no shame in that!)  

Back to coats!  I love them and encourage you to bring them out more often and think of other ways to use them.  Instead of a sweater you can put on a jacket or layer a shirt, sweater and a blazer with a big fabulous car coat or teddy coat.  Vests are also an option to be able to just throw on for added warmth while running errands. 

I like my vest true to size and snug.  It creates a nice silhouette to balance out my arms.  I like looking online at stores like ASOS curve because they use plus size models and have videos of the model moving in the outfit.  It is a great way to see how a garment fits as you move. 

A good rule of thumb is symmetry.  If you are adding a lot of width to your outfit-like with winter coats or vests- add some height and length to create a more balanced look with longer hemlines or vertical stripes.

Here is to this winter season being your most comfy cozy stylish winter yet and taking those old favorite out for a spin to create new memories of feeling fabulous!  

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