Outfit Inspiration

Let’s Talk About Coats, Baby

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The Best Coat for Chicago Winter

In a perfect world, eating copious amounts of pizza would lead to six-pack abs and buns of steel, the CTA would smell more like roses and bleach than urine and hopelessness, and the number of coats in our closet would surpass the sum of underwear found in our bureaus. It’s the closet of coats fantasy that taunts me the most, being it is possible – if resources are limitless and for me they are certainly not.

I once shared with you the childhood experience that triggered my obsessive love of fashionable coats:

“An indelibly painful memory I have from an otherwise very pleasant childhood is that of my mother routinely zipping my lower lip up into my coat, mummifying my face within some blanket-of-a-scarf, and rolling my human burrito body toward the school bus each morning.

Oh, and how unfortunately ugly were those coats! Always two sizes too big so as to allow for a heavy wool sweater underneath, bright ugly colors, gross toggle buttons. At eight years old I looked like America Ferrera in Ugly Betty, episode 1.” – From “5 Fall Essentials”.

The Best Coat for Chicago Winter

The Best Coat for Chicago Winter

This deeply ingrained knot on the wood plank of my persona later influenced a choice to invest in more outerwear than underwear, more coats than one person could ever wear through even a dozen Chicago winters. Basically, I blame/attribute everything about myself to childhood. Thanks, mom. Now I own too many coats.

Back to coats.

A great coat is the most essential item in the pursuit of successful Chicago living. The weather in this city never fails to surprise us with its audacious cruelty, year after face numbing year. While there are many reasons to love our winter weather, the ever-present potential for paralyzing frostbite is not one of them.

Boutiques and department stores are now making room for spring’s new duds. It’s, therefore, a great time to score deals on last season’s outerwear offerings. While I love a great deal, this article isn’t about sales and bargains. It’s about beautiful coats and why we all need more of them than we realize. For sure, more than we currently own.

Chicago Street Art

The Best Coat for Chicago Winter

Image: Death to Stock Photos

5 Reasons Why We Need a New Coat Today

  1. The opportunity to stunt in a new coat is the only thing saving us from another Netflix binge. (Have you seen Jericho?)
  2. If there’s anything the Blue Line flashers have taught us, a long tailored coat is an outfit in and of itself.
  3. Too many of our old coats are still in the cleaners.
  4. Coats never go out of style – until they do, of course, but whatever.
  5. Because wearing two coats at one time is still what we’re doing.

Not quite yet is my coat collection where I want it, I’ll confess. I’m about 5 furs, 2 puffers, 3 parkas, and 1 raincoat away from the dream. Aside from the rising cost of coat investments, I now face the problem of inspiration. Where can one find a suitable cover-up muse?

4 Examples of Coatspiration

Look no further than nature for mind-blowing, fashion-bending genius. These beasts know the meaning of chic and they’re giving us fashion served cold.

Look #1: So fluffy I ‘m Gonna Die. 

The Best Coat for Chicago Winter

This look is deceptive. The point: Wear something fluffy – so fluffy you could die. Silhouette altering, Big Bird reminiscent, almost comically fluffy. Is it warm? Rarely. But it’s definitely fluffy. My translation includes an overcoat by Free People and a dress by Line & Dot, purchased from Chicago’s Sir & Madame.

Look #2: There’s a new Layer in Town

The Best Coat for Chicago Winter

Source: The MCB Project

Look #2 is executed beautifully by Chicago designer Maya-Camille Broussard. Cover your coat in a piece equally winter appropriate: a heavy wool sweater, an over-sized scarf, or even another coat. Maya’s interpretation includes a coat from J. Crew and a sweater by Levi.

Look #3: A Pattern of Development

The Best Coat for Chicago Winter

Source: Tres Awesome

Chicago photographer Trés Awesome captured look #3 on Randolph Street, textures and fur. A coat with enough detail on its own to demand an almost monochrome look underneath.

Look#4: Spotty Body

The Best Coat for Chicago Winter

Source: Curvatude

Chicago blogger Curvatude carries the spots of look #4 well. Animal prints can sometimes be a polarizing fashion topic. Here they look casually chic paired with neutrals.

Kari Herrera is the creator of Chicagoings.com, Chicago’s indie city guide and blog. She often writes about the city’s points-of-interest as experienced by a local. She is a Social Media Marketing Manager and freelance writer. When she’s not working, Kari donates much of her time to the education of French-speaking immigrants in Chicago.

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