By Traci McBride
Q: Working downtown and having to walk a few blocks after parking, I need a winter coat to keep me warm but looks good too. What tips should I keep in mind when shopping for a new coat for my professional wardrobe?
A: Outerwear is very important investment when living in climates such as northeast Ohio. Preparation is key for this season. We need different coats for each level of dress.
As an example, the coat you wear to play in the snow with the kids and shovel the drive would not be the same coat you wear over your professional wardrobe. Right?
When I do a Closet Detox with a client, I have them model each coat and tell me when and where they wear it. I look for fit, flattery, purpose, and color.
Yes, a coat needs to fit you properly. I can’t tell you how many times someone will say, “I know you are going to tell me this coat is too big, but it’s warm.” To me, this is an opportunity to donate the coat and find a warm yet flattering fit in a coat in a your power color. If you just can’t let go of the coat, then invest in having it tailored to fit. Although expensive if the coat was your mother’s and if its vintage details make you happy then have it taken in and reset the shoulders so it looks like your coat.
TIPS for being Stylishly Warm and Cozy:
• Materials Matter: a wool coat is more versatile and chic than one of a synthetic material, but there are some pluses to man made materials, like machine washing
• Make a Statement with the Details: unique color, trim, belt or welting, buttons or cut, but avoid making more than one statement
• Flattery will get you everywhere: Celebrate your now body and avoid oversized baggy fit. Accent your waist
• Don’t buy for any one reason – Purchase for numerous reasons; for instance, warmth, style, price. Instead make the coats work for the real estate space in your closet by investing the time it takes to get all of those areas covered. If sitting at a bus stop – be mindful of finding a coat that covers your bottom, consider if you need a hood or a high collar to break the wind details that matter for the situation you need.
Traci McBride is a certified stylist for men and women and the owner of TeeMcBee Image Consulting http://teemcbee.com. Readers with image-related questions can send them to Traci@TeeMcBee.com with “CBC Q” in the subject line.