The man coat is a subtle way to wear an oversized coat because although shapeless and straight through the back and torso, it’s structured on the shoulder and hip. Other fashion forward and trendy coat styles are a lot more oversized. Dropped shoulder seams, waist surrendering cocoon silhouettes, round shoulders, roomy sleeves, low stances and generally huge lapels. Some styles are collarless, and lengths vary from mid-thigh to below the knee. Most styles taper at the hems for structure, but some styles are wide from the armholes down.
I am a cautious yay on the oversized coat trend. I love some of the styles, but others seem a little too oversized to be attractive, like the Zara example below (bottom, left). The styles that look fab to my eye are sufficiently structured. They are less oversized because there is less fabric, the silhouettes taper at the hips, and to some extent the sleeves taper too. I especially like the versions with the more tapered sleeves. For those reasons, I like the Vintage Asos, Kai Aakmann, Kaelen and Reality Studio best of the selection below.
It’s hard for an oversized fit not to be mistaken for poor fit, and therein lies the challenge. An oversized coat has to look intentional, fashion forward, drape in just the right way, and be worn with a structured support act. You also have to feel great in the shape of the coat, and not like it completely overwhelms your frame.
Here are runway outfits with oversized coats from Fall 2013 collections that work well:
- Celine’s soft blush boiled wool coat worn over equally soft separates.
- Issey Miyake’s magical double-breasted mango coat worn open with a slim column of colour.
- Carven’s hectically oversized light blue coat. Its shorter length gives it structure, as does the leg skin on the model, streamlined turtleneck and tonal outfit. Very clever.
- Cedric Charlier’s shocking pink coat with super straight lines and tapered hem. Gorgeous architectural drape.
- Paul Smith’s opera coat over slouchy separates. The structure is created by wearing the coat open. And the sleeves look scrunched because the model’s hands are in her pockets. Not very practical in real life, but these details are effective on the runway.
I don’t think you need to be tall to wear an oversized coat. I have petite clients in cocoon and other oversized coat styles that have just enough structure to pull off the silhouette with panache. They also wear them shorter than knee-length. A broad shoulder line does help “carry the coat”, but is not essential.
The oversized coat is ideal to wear over chunky knitwear and extra layers, like a jacket and huge scarf. It provides ample room on the arms and shoulders, which for some is the only way to feel comfortable in a coat. It’s also a great idea for those who want to draw attention away from their midriff. So while you may feel chunky in an oversized coat, it has its practical advantages.
Over to you. What’s your take on the oversized coat? Would you wear one, or do you prefer a tailored fit.