Monday, November 12, 2007

Bring in the Professional: Dress Coat Edition

My sister, Lori, is a wardrobe consultant living in Boston. As a favor to me, she contributes quarterly, fashion-focused posts to my blog. Here is a special edition on the often over-looked wardrobe staple; the dress coat.

I have a coat confession. My coat closet is filled to capacity with all types of coats: ski jackets, leather jackets, trench coats (short and long), vests and denim jackets. I live in New England so it is appropriate that I have several different types of coats. The one item that stands out as an eyesore in my closet is my dress coat. Circa 1996, black, double-breasted, ankle-length with shoulder pads that make me look like I play for the Patriots. Purchased during my baby era and now two sizes too big, sound familiar? Sadly it’s not even that warm. The winter wind roars right up the hem and out the collar. If you can relate to any of this, it’s time to buy a new dress coat.

Whether you need to replace your old one or add this essential staple to your wardrobe, here are some quick tips to help you next time you are shopping for a new dress coat:

Knee length coats look great on women of all heights. If you are on the petite side, do not wear a coat hem past your knees.

Belted coats are classic and sophisticated and ideal for a range of body types. The belt accentuates or creates a waist.

Double-breasted dress coats are warm and look great with a menswear pant or white blouse. Note: this is not the best style for curvy/busty types.

Princess cut is popular and has a very feminine feel. It fits close to the body and flairs out at the bottom. This style is great for pear shapes or women with bigger busts.

Color is up to you, but if you plan to wear it often and a long time stick to a classic neutral like black, charcoal, navy, winter white, camel, or even red.

Fabric is key for warmth and durability. Wool is a classic favorite, but if you are sensitive to wool look for cashmere blends, camel hair, and polyester blends. Denim and Gortex are not appropriate fabrics for a dress coat.

Your coat is the first impression you will make. Make it your best possible impression by updating your look with a figure flattering dress coat. When wearing your Sunday best, don’t be confused for a linebacker. Leave your jean jacket or puffer coat behind. Reach for a knee length wool blend coat to top off your dressy ensemble.


  1. I soooo needed this post. I'm coat-buying challenged.

  2. Great post! Great coat! My dress coat is knee length, tie at the waist, black leather. It seems to nice, I nearly never wear it.

  3. HaHa! I have that same dress coat! (the one that is too big) But I have others as well. I love coats/jackets!!!

  4. i like lisa amd addicted to coats and jackets. i love them.
    with that said..i need a new coat. i have a cute light pink pea coat but i'm not really into pink anymore. i'm currently on the hunt for brown, khaki or white.

  5. YAY!!! I ♥ Lori's tips. Perfect timing too.

    Just today I spend good quality time at the mall. I keep thinking I'd like a new coat this year so I carefully studied coats that women were wearing. I now know exactly what I want.

  6. Denim and goretex don't count!! Love it!!!
    I was just telling my daughters today I was due for a new coat. I haven't bought one in about 7 years. Mine needs to go to DI.
    You know what it comes down to, though, is money. There are always things that come before clothing big ticket items, even though I know they'll last a long time. Thanks for the little pep talk!

  7. Yaaaaayyyy, red!!! I'm so glad she said "red."

  8. Coats?? It's 84 degrees here :) I'm going to dig through your archives and look for the summer fashion post again!

  9. It is 83 degrees here and my A/C kicked on. But I'm not complaining. I'm sure I'll get to wear a coat soon!

  10. I'm with Millie and Melissa!

    Thank you for the great tips! :)

  11. After reading this realized how coat deprived I am. I need a new coat.

  12. As always, I love when you provide us with these fashion tips. (Believe me, I need them) Time for a new coat!!!


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