Anyone want to look 10 pounds thinner this winter?? It’s one thing to actually lose ten pounds, but another thing entirely to just dress thinner. One of the biggest, pound-adding culprits is our winter coats. Many of us wear a winter coat from October to April and it’s often the only thing people see us in. Some of the worst offenders are puffer coats, coats with lots of detailing (in all the wrong places), pattered coats and boxy coats. Other fattening coats include ones that end at the waist (highlighting your hips and bottom), those that are too long (past the knee) and any coat that pulls or is too tight across your body. Staying warm is all about layering, not about buying a huge, ginormous coat.
After reading Charla Krups’ book, How To Never Look Fat Again, I’ve taken a bit of what she advises to help you look ten pounds thinner. So, what is the right kind of coat? Your objective is to fit the smallest parts of your body and your largest parts at the same time. The coat should give you a womanly shape by nipping-in at your most flattering areas and skimming over your problem areas. No coat should go past your knees. I’m going to break it out into body types, since we each have our own special areas of concern:
Flattering to Apple-shapes (wider in the middle)
- Tailored Menswear-inspired: elongates with narrow lapels and open neck
- Lady-like coat: princess seams slim through rib cage and flare over middle
- Empire waist: fits the smallest part of your torso
- Swing coat: fits up top, then opens up with space over middle
- In general, create a middle by fitting the smallest part of your torso.
Flattering to Pear-shapes (wider at hips and thighs)
- Lady-like coat: skims over hips without bulk
- Retro coat: Usually cut A-line or straight with fancy collars or buttons. All the attention is up top.
- Pea coat: Balances out the bottom half by bringing some bulk up top. Make sure it hits at your hips and not higher.
- In general, look for coats that hit at mid-hip or lower. Skip bulky hip pockets, long puffer coats or plaid.
Flattering to Busty women
- Sculpted coats: with dramatic contours like cocoon or dolman shapes are good. Not great for busty petites though, because it will overwhelm you.
- Cape coats: skims over large chests, arms and backs.
- In general, look for coats that skim over your bustline. No pulling or big buttons that call attention to this area.
Flattering to Plus-size women
- Cape coats: skims over a larger top half. Play up legs with darker neutral pants/skirt and same tone boots. Some have belts in front only for waist detail, leaving the back smooth and unfettered.
- Swing coats: fitted at shoulders and then cuts a triangular shape over the middle. Great for hiding that middle area.
- In general, look for coats in dark neutrals with collar drama
The trick with coats, as with any dressing, is to highlight the positives and downplay the negatives. Don’t choose a coat with epaulets, if you have wide shoulders. Similarly if you have wide hips, don’t pick a coat with puffy pockets that add bulk to that area. Do choose coats in deep tones other than black, such as browns, plums, navy, grays, deep greens and reds. Know that lighter-colored coats add visual weight.
Charla Krupp also advises that we all need four coats to get us through the winter with panache:
- a tailored black coat for the office
- a solid-colored coat with jeans
- a glamorous cocktail coat
- a faux fur coat for evening wear
Hope this helps you feel like a million bucks as you prepare for winter this year. If you’ve got any all-wrong coats in your closet, take them to a coat drive in your area. It just might be the perfect coat for someone else.
Refinery 29‘s piece on Awesome Fall Coats