Giving Warmth and Style

by Kelley Malott

Living in a cold weather climate sometimes gives us extra inspiration when it comes time for the gift giving season. Giving your loved ones a warm scarf or wrap can keep them warm physically, and remind them that you’re thinking of them, even if you may not be able to see them during a potentially socially-distanced holiday season. Finding a new coat will be on many to-do lists in November, and I have some tips on finding the perfect wool trench coat.

November is a great time to start hunting for fashionable cold weather pieces. There will be lots of chic, thick sweaters available in this season’s neutrals of tans, browns, and beiges. Cozy pieces for you, or easily gifted pieces, are wraps, scarves, gloves, and hats. Look for color blocked neutrals on thick, cozy ponchos and wraps. These are perfect for layering. You can’t go wrong throwing these over black or suede pants, as pictured here with a piece by Ann Taylor.

Throwing a long, open front cardigan with jeans and a tee shirt is a perfect casual day look. Adding a statement necklace will take it to the next level. In this season are large, chunky pieces that give 1980s vibes with large acetate or acrylic pieces. Thick, braided chain necklaces are back in style and are going to be available almost anywhere you can buy clothes. If you prefer a softer look, watch for jewelry featuring natural semi-precious stones in a variety of pastel shades and chain lengths.

My favorite winter coat will always be a wool trench coat. The timeless silhouette really looks good on everyone. Be on the lookout for 1970s inspired silhouettes, with thick double-breasted and oversized lapels, like this option from Modcloth. The length of the coat is key for making this item fit right. Most commonly available is a mid-length (about knee length) that most women feel comfortable in. A well-fitting coat should allow you to raise and lower your arms and cross your arms in front of you without making you worry that you’ll split the seams.

The trench can make shorter women (5’4” or less) feel swamped in fabric, but finding a trench that hits above the knee or mid-thigh will be the most versatile option, especially if you prefer wearing flats and sneakers. The double-breasted cut can add a lot of bulk, so if you prefer a slimmer look, try a single-breasted or less dramatic lapel. Make sure to check out the Petites departments at retailers to find coats designed for shorter women, like this Anne Klein option from Macy’s.

Tall women (5’9” or more) can easily pull off the dramatic full-length trench, which can fall from below the knee to ankle length, like this option from ASOS Tall. Embracing your height is key. Whether with flats or heels, the trench coat is really to the benefit of tall women if you can find the right length, which can be difficult. Unlike Petites, not many clothing retailers carry Tall departments for women. Old Navy, ASOS, J.Crew, and Gap offer a decent selection of outerwear for tall women, though much of it is only available online.