Midi dresses are as on-trend as ever, and personally I hope it stays that way. That means hem lengths cover the knee or the calf, but not the ankle. Now that temperatures have dropped, you’ll need toppers over your midi dresses. Short toppers — hip bone or shorter — usually create slam dunk proportions over dresses, but coats are more insulating. 

Years ago the golden guideline was that a long coat was best when sported at the same length or longer than the dress. That guideline isn’t bad, but feel free to throw it out the window. The examples here will show how well it can work if your coat is shorter than your midi dress. If you are going to combine a coat that’s shorter than the midi, try to keep it knee length as opposed to thigh length. To my eye, the proportions generally look more balanced that way.

These examples show midi dresses that are A-line or flared, which are usually trickier to pair with a topper. Once you straighten the skirt by wearing a sheath or pencil, it’s easier to layer any length of coat over the top.

1. Classic Midi and Coat Proportions

This is the coat and dress combination we are used to seeing as conventionally flattering because the hem of the dress does not peek out from under the coat. The eye rests and the hems do not compete. If a coat with tie belt looks great worn untied and unfastened, it’s fab to wear that way too. It’s a good patten mix because plaids work with any pattern when the colour palettes are the same. The white boots pick up the white in the patterns making it look extra crisp.

Eloquii Plaid Coat

2. Evolved On-Trend Midi and Coat Proportions

Here the hem of the dress peeks out from under the coat. It’s a very straight man coat (or gentle cocoon coat,) which you would think wouldn’t work, but looks great. A fitted coat works well too. Importantly, the coat is more knee-length than thigh-length which helps create hemline harmony. The coat and boots match the colours in the dress, which pulls the look together and harmonizes the visual. Keeping the coat unbuttoned creates a vertical line down the centre front of the body which elongates the outfit. That said, if you’e cold, button your coat.

Eloquii Car Coat

3. Tailored On-Trend Midi and Coat Proportions

This look combines classic tailoring with on-trend mismatched hem lengths where the hem of the midi is longer than the hem of the coat. The fitted silhouette of the coat with tie at the waist draws the eye upward, and makes the combination work despite the high contrast between the hems of the coat and dress. The pumps that perfectly match the dress help pull the look together too.

RYAN LO Rose Jacquard Trench Coat

4. Avant-Garde Midi and Coat Proportions

And last, these proportions are fashion-forward and an acquired taste because the midi is delving into maxi territory, the coat is long but shorter than the dress, and the silhouettes are unstructured. Add to that the fringe trend of wearing ankle socks with flat oxfords as the support act, and it’s a bit hectic for one outfit. You either like it or you don’t, and it’s all good. I think it’s a great look, and a few of my avant-garde clients have been rocking it for several seasons. The key is to make the palette work well, like the blues and whites do here. There is a lot of intentional matching to create visual harmony too. The patterns of the dress and socks are complementary, and there is a lot of dark blue. The white shoes bookend the platinum blonde hair of the model. I bet this outfit is great in motion. Add jewellery, eyewear, headgear, and watch as desired.

YOSHI KONDO Commuter Wool Coat