Coat Check: When Cold Weather Comes Calling

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By Roxy L. Rowton

When bundling up becomes more of a necessity than a fashion statement, it’s time to stock your wardrobe with coats that not only brave the cold, but are thoughtfully designed and beautifully shaped for around-town polish.

Like so many articles of clothing, coats were outer garments originally designed for utility, protection and warmth—to provide a defense from inclement weather like wind, rain, snow and sleet. These indispensable cold-weather garments kept us warm and dry.

With so many styles, fabrics, colors and price points from which to choose, how do you make the best choice, and which features go into a great coat capsule year after year? Look for the finest and warmest fabrics, versatile tones and hues, thoughtful and defined details, and beautiful and refined cuts, as well as exceptional tailoring. While coat trends may vary considerably with each season, the chicest coats are often the simplest.

Begin assembling your cold-weather coat capsule in fabrications of luxurious, supple materials, such as double-faced wool, cashmere, alpaca, camel hair and shearling. A functional, cold-weather capsule revolves around a few essential coats in neutrals and basic colors. Select everyday and classic city staples in hard-working neutrals: black, grey, navy or camel. Then add a coat in a fun color, pattern or print. A fun-colored coat can certainly brighten the dull, blah days of winter. The ultimate details are practical, thoughtful and beautiful—generous patch or side-slanted pockets, storm flaps, pleated backs, convertible collars, back vents, zip-in linings, detachable hoods, and button or zip bibs.

Winter coats can have a substantial price tag. Consider the investment in a coat as a form of amortization. Make the investment principally in quality, fit and details. The enduring character of beautiful cloths, thoughtful details and elegant tailoring will stand out from less expensive versions and appear more and more refined with the passage of the seasons. The actual cost of the price per wear decreases season after season of wear.

Curate a capsule of city coat staples designed to provide protection and superior comfort from winter’s worst, as well as make a fashionable statement.

For tips on fitting a winter coat, visit

Wardrobe and style consultant Roxy L. Rowton ( spends much of her workweek in the closet or the fitting room helping women look and feel their very best. She has two-plus decades in the fashion, apparel and beauty industries.


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