Best Fall & Winter Coat Trends for Real Women Over 40
by Christina Gregoire
I have just gone through several magazines and websites looking for coats and jackets that would not make grown-up women look silly. Here are the trends I like (and don’t like so much) for real women who aren’t 5’11” and 110 pounds. You know what I mean; this is an article for regular suburban, well-traveled, interesting women who don’t like spending $5,000 for one coat.
Here are the coat trends that will work for you in fall and winter 2012, 2013, and way beyond. A good coat is expensive, and it will be the first thing (or only thing) most people will notice about your outfit, so make it count.
I have always loved belted coats. They make string beans look shapely and they make curvy women look sexy. As with all coats, the fit is super important. Check to make sure the belt hits your waist (if you still have one) or the narrowest part of your torso. If you love the coat and the color, but it doesn't fit quite right, take it to a tailor to see what she can do, however don't take the tags off until you get an expert opinion.
I used to think that military-styled clothes were a bit too much on older women, well I still feel that way when gals our age try to wear camo anything, but now that I'm into Steampunk fashion, I understand where the brass-buttoned, piping-detailed look comes from. (Think Sgt. Pepper's without the day-glo colors.) And, if you think that military details will look too masculine on you, try to find something cute with a peplum.
Double-breasted coats come in all different shapes and styles. If you like this look, you should try on different types of double-breasted coats until you find something that looks right for your height and body shape. Sometimes the buttons are the main focus of the coat and sometimes the buttons are more subtle, so keep that in mind.
If you're short, you should keep your double-breasted coat short; try for something like a peacoat or the yellow coat in the photo. If you're a plus size, you want to make sure that the shape of the coat doesn't make you look wide and boxy, so a longer coat will probably do the trick. If you're short and wide, you will not be able to wear a double-breasted coat unless it fits you perfectly and the coat doesn't draw attention to your big hips or your big chest.
I have a difficult time with shearling coats. They are very "in" right now, but to me they are bulky, so keep that in mind. However, shearling coats are one of the warmest coats you can buy, so if you live in NYC or Alberta, shearling is a good option if you are tall enough (or if the coat is small and lightweight enough) that it won't overwhelm you.
If you are interested in real shearling, plan on spending mucho dinero. For example, the shawl-collared coat (in the link) by Pure DKNY is $2,400. In my opinion, every inexpensive shearling (or leather) coat I have tried on seemed stiff and uncomfortable... actually, faux-shearling can also be stiff and uncomfortable... so shop around until you find something you'll actually wear. Maybe you can find a used shearling coat that is already broken in. But, if you're the kind of chick that looks good in shearling, this is the year to get it.
Whether you wear real fur or fake fur, I like the new, fun colors I've seen online. (Personally, I would not wear some furs because they look like former pets, but I would wear a mink coat because minks are like little rats.) However, I can't afford a mink coat and they are too hot for Seattle. If you want real fur, but you don't have the cash for the whole enchilada, fur collars are also on trend for 2012/2013.
The other option is faux fur. When looking to buy faux fur (in a normal color or a crazy color), please get a good quality fake, because if you are over 40 or 50, a cheap fake fur is beneath your dignity unless you need it for snowmobiling or hiking in the back country.
I like "menswear" for women. Unfortunately, the look is all wrong for me, but don't let that stop you. If you're the type of gal who can pull this off, you might just want to do your shopping in the men's section of a high-end neighborhood thrift store. Menswear coats usually look best with skinny pants or leggings, as long as the coat is long enough to cover your hoo-ha and your booty.
I don't know what it is, but big coats are starting to grow on me. If you are tall, you can probably pull off this look. Again, I recommend trying your local vintage store to see what you can find. Unfortunately, I am not tall enough for this trend. If you see me in a big coat, it is probably a regular coat in a plus size, but we'll pretend I'm being trendy.
The printed coat in the link is a bit wild for most chicks, however you can find things that are a little more subtle, like lace, floral, or animal prints. While I do like the trend, it might take a while for the really good knockoffs to filter down into my price range. (Cute printed jackets are a little easier to find.)
It's 70's deja vu all over again. Remember when we wore midi and maxi coats over minis. That was so much fun. The trick to maxi coats is to make sure they are made of lightweight wool so they don't weigh you down... of course, good lightweight wool is usually more expensive. One cheaper alternative is to find a maxi sweatercoat or a midi sweatercoat.
10. Jewel Tone Coats
You know I love jewel tones: ruby reds, emerald greens, sapphire blues, cobalt blues, amethyst purples, tourmaline greens, and topaz yellows. If you're lucky you can snag a cool jewel-toned coat and wear it over your basic black on blah days.
11. Dark Red Coats
If you aren't ready to go with bright crimson, another trendy idea is to go with dark red. Try a red wine color like Merlot, Burgundy, Bordeaux, or claret. Well, I usually call these colors "some shade of maroon," but you know what I mean.
Coat Trends I Don't Like:
I won't go so far as to say that older women can never wear these styles, but I can say that these styles are harder to wear:
- * Fuzzy Spikey Fur Coats: These will make you look fat.
- * Blanket Coats: Coats that look good on tall, skinny models are almost always a disappointment in the dressing room... on the other hand, this Michael Kors coat is kind of cute...
- * Asymmetrical Coats: The problem with an asymmetrical coat is that some day you may want to wear it open.
- * Capes and Ponchos: I have "issues" with most capes. They look great on other women, but they make me look like a hobbit. One exception may be belted capes, but I have yet to try that style.
As always, you are old enough to know what looks good on your body, so you don't have to take my opinion as your own. Some tall, willowy women over 40 may look bad in everything I recommend (doubtful), and some short, peasant-boned women over 40 may look great in boxy peacoats. Just remember that the two most important things are fit and color... oh, and fabric. Great fabric gives good drape.
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