Posted December 12, 2014 by Cooper Point Journal in Fashion

The Art of Winter Dress

By Sara Fabian

Whether we like it or not, winter has settled in. So, what coats are you ready to wrap yourself into this winter? Although winter is a great time to experience the breathtaking landscapes from the cascades, to the sound, to the enchanting forest walks, or exhilarating snow sports, it can also be hazardous for people who are unprepared for the elements.

Having the proper clothing for cold, windy conditions and being aware of winter hazards are both important parts of being well-prepared. Yes, it gets cold in Olympia, but that’s no reason to stay indoors—just find, explore, and experiment with the coat or jacket that makes you feel both comfortable and confident.

One of the best  things about dressing for the chilled, dark weather are the clothes and styles we can play around with, and one of the most important staple for winter is the coat. This winter season, the coat styles and looks are all about one thing: no rules! From fur to leather, from bright reds to darks or neutrals, from simple to eccentric, from oversized to slim cut, long to short, clean or patterned – anything goes! You are in control of your own warmth, comfort, and style.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So with ‘no rules’ in mind, I’d say when you go shopping for a coat this winter—via in your closet or at your local boutique/thrift shop—here are a few coat styles and tips to keep in mind.

1. Casual, formal, practical, or funky, the thing that matters most in choosing a winter coat is whether or not you are warm enough. Insulation and room for layering is a must to keep you shielded from the frosty air.

2.  A coat can be worn by itself, but adding your personal flare with a pair of statement boots, thick wool scarf, gloves, or maybe a hat or beanie, can make a simple outfit pop in these bleak winter days.

3. A Statement Coat: if you’re feeling quite adventurous or want to add some groove to your wardrobe, go for over-the-top pieces, for coats with leather insertions or funky textures. Keep one thing classic and one edgy, so if you choose a knee-length belted coat go wild on textures, colors or prints. It can have leather sleeves, shiny textures, animal prints, anything that adds a little pizazz to your ensemble.

4. Printed and Faux Fur Coat: From Studio 54 to the ‘90s and now, animal printed and faux fur coats are a classic statement of glam, spunk and spirit.  And yes, I do confess I love them very much. My favorite look: all black outfit, simple and safe in Olympia/PNW with a faux fur or leopard print coat over.

5. The Oversized Sweater/Coat: large shoulders, knee length, usually in neutrals. This androgynous look can both be useful for layering and incredibly comforting for those days where you want to cocoon yourself in warmth.

6. A Weather-Ready Parka: when the elements are too much for that overcoat you acquired, switch into high gear with an all-weather, down-filled parka. The parka is a type of coat with a hood, often lined with fur or faux fur. The faux fur protects your face from freezing temperatures and wind.

7. Peacoats: A coat like this features many buttons on the front, usually double breasted, and are constructed out of heavy fabric, usually wool. Originally, peacoats only came in navy blue since they were a part of the sailor’s uniform. Today, you can find peacoats in any color you you could want.

8. Duffle/Toggle Coat: The main distinction between toggle coats and duffel coats is that duffel styles are traditionally made of heavy fabrics intended to withstand chilling winds and moisture, and they are equipped with large hoods. Duffle coats were originally mass-produced for military purposes. On the other hand, any coat that fastens by virtue of a rigid piece of material that passes through a loop of leather, fabric, or elastic qualifies as a toggle coat. The cozy hood and copious amounts of pockets make this coat a practical purchase for staying snug as a bug in almost any winter debacle.

Olympia’s street slickers have been wrapping up in an inspiring array of coats, and wearing them in original ways: A classic jean jacket accompanied by funky leggings and stomping combat boots, the simple parka paired with fun knit scarves and beanies, and ‘60s-inspired faux fur coats with crop tops and jeans. Each of these photos remind us all that whatever coat we choose this winter, it’s not what’s trendy or “supposed to,” it’s about our personal satisfaction of warmth and style.