February 5 2016

Riding the Coattails of Winter: An Outerwear Guide by Lee Tulchin

Screenshot 2016-02-05 18.36.51February is upon us, and with it comes more than just the Valentine’s Day Blues. It also brings Spring fever in malls across the world. But before stores can say hello to colorful prints and short hemlines, they have to say goodbye to winter. And the best way to do that is through my favorite four letter word… sale.

Though sweaters and scarves may be on the (mark) down and out, the current weather situation (I’m looking at you El Niño) still calls for layers. Luckily, with so many great deals there’s no better time to buy than right now. And what’s on my list you ask? 2016’s outerwear obsession of course, COATS.

Trenches, Vests, Capes, Oh My! With so many different options to choose from, it all gets a little confusing. But don’t worry I’ll spell it out for you.


Trenches have been linked to peddlers and flashers for far too long, but with the coat revival we’re thinking more private eye in the 40’s (and with Fedoras back in, you can really commit to your investigations). A trench is great because it means business. With a big lapel and the ability to withstand a storm, this raincoat is perfect for El Niño. Remember, when it comes to a trench a belt is best. It’s easy to lose your shape in such an unstructured jacket. But with a belt you have options: leave it open and relaxed, or tie it closed and keep it professional. For a woman constantly on the move, trying to balance work and leisure can be difficult but a trench is the perfect fit to get you through your long day.

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Back in the day, I was a vest advocate but not in a “I liked vests before they were cool”/hipster kind of way but more in a “I liked tuxedo vests because Pete Wentz wore tuxedo vests and FOB is lyfe” kind of way. So, so “2000 and late”. But now it looks like sleeveless IS cool. However, don’t think wannabe punk like 7th grade Lee, think core-warmer and most importantly OUTERwear. Longer is better when it comes to sleeveless coats. It gives the illusion of oversized and masculine while still remaining flattering to your body. Also, it’s perfect for transitioning from winter to spring. You can keep it casual if you go for neutrals in a wool or a tri-blend OR kick it up a notch with a fun color and/or fabric like suede (see below).

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While it’s easy to find yourself in a clothing rut, buying the same things over and over (neutral lovers unite), I suggest you use February to make like a tree and branch out (Mercury’s out of retrograde, after all). Keep your eyes peeled for suede, plaid, and leopard print, which are all on their way to be 2016’s big trends. A suede trench or a plaid/leopard waistcoat can be the perfect piece to step out of your style routine.

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Why button up when you can be free? After all, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Capes and unbuttoned coats are perfect to add structure to an outfit but still let what’s underneath speak for itself.
So make like Tom and Donna from Parks and Rec and “Treat. Yo. Self” this month while the sales are blowing in with those El Niño showers. And if you’re single on the 14th just remember nothing will keep you warmer at night than a womb of newly purchased wool.

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Read More By Lee:

The Rise of Rain Booties

Want More Fashion?

Interview Tips – What To Wear by Julia Seelig

A Californian’s Guide to Campus Fashion by Rachel Becker

Cute Winter Accessories by Meredith Sherbin

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