Coats come in a wide range of different cuts and silhouettes and there are many different things to consider if you want to make the purchase a good investment. You’re after a strong shoulder line, a skimming silhouette and the correct sleeve and hem length in order for coats to look their best. Here are some simple rules to apply:

  • Layer properly. You need to comfortably wear two layers underneath a dressy coat (a camisole or shirt, and a fine piece of knitwear). If this is not the case, go up a size or try another style. Casual parkas are usually a little roomier and allow for thicker knits and more layers.
  • Ensure that you can move freely. You’ll need to drive, reach out and lift in your coat. This is achievable when a coat is too big, but you’ll have lost your shoulder line and skimming fit. Make sure that your coat is tailored and comfortable at the same time.
  • Choose the length that works best for your height. Petites look best in coats that are on the knee or shorter, while taller girls can pull off most lengths. I’ve found coats that finish at the knee best because they work perfectly with dresses, skirts and pants.
  • Sleeves should clear the top part of your gloves. Long sleeves are too short if they finish on your wrist. Bracelet length sleeves finish just above the wrist while three-quarter sleeved coats should finish halfway between your wrist and elbow.

Whether it’s quilted, furry, woolen or sporty, a coat needs to drape well and create a flattering, unbroken vertical line. Finding a coat that fits well is challenging and there are unfortunately no shortcuts. You’ll need to try many to begin with, get to a shortlist of candidates and then make a careful final decision.

George Simonton Flyaway Pleated ToppericonJuicy Couture Plaid Wool Coat with Ruffle DetailiconDKNY Long Asymmetrical Wool Blend Coaticon

Fab fitting coats from Nordstrom.